Posted by: tranquilpc | January 22, 2010

Safe Home Server – part 3


The Safe Server Module

Imaging, backups, Add Ins, remote files ….. What is the simplest, lowest cost, real time solution to the Safe Server requirement ?

After much searching, testing, brain storming – the answer was right in front of us. 

T2_R1_ABack in the Summer of 2009, Tranquil designed an ultra reliable system for a large (global) company.  The systems had to be reliable – each one controlled a robotic system making a very expensive product – and there were 100’s of machines to be deployed.  If a robotic system went down, the line down time was extremely expensive (talking here of 5 or 6 digits of Euro’s per hour) !

The system had numerous components selected to enhance reliability, but the HDD redundancy was taken care of by a custom simple hardware RAID 1 controlled device, it provided hardware mirroring of the 2x 2.5” HDDs in real time.  Better still there was no user intervention (GUI) required – if a HDD failed, just pop in a new one for continuous operation, the 2nd HDD just re-built itself.


Now could this device, protect a Home Servers Primary HDD ?

SSM_1For the last 6 months Tranquil have a number SQA-5H Home Servers fitted with the SSM on load / cycle test to prove it ‘just works’.  All results are very encouraging (zero faults)

As the unique device can be plugged into a SQA-5H Home Servers HDD1 bay, it seems the solution ticks all the right boxes.

  • Simple – it just replaces a SQA-5H HDD module
  • Low cost – it does have a cost overhead, but it’s far cheaper than the alternatives
  • Real Time – it’s a real time hardware based RAID1 mirror device (no issues with WHS DE)

There are some limitations to be aware of :

  • The maximum capacity of the Safe Server Module is 500GB
  • The HDD LED activity above the bay is replaced by HDD activity indicators on the module (visible behind the grill of the HDD front)


Rebuild process / times

In the event that a HDD in the Safe Server Module fails, or you want to carry out a scheduled exchange, the process is simple.

  • Identify the HDD you want to exchange (HDD0 or HDD1)
  • Depower the Server
  • Remove the Safe Server Module from the SQA-5H (just like removing a regular 3.5” HDD)
  • Snap out the HDD module
  • Eject / replace the old HDD
  • Replace the unit into the SQA-5H server
  • Power on

The Safe Server Module immediately starts to rebuild, whilst the SQA-5H re-boots in the normal fashion.  If you look carefully at the Safe Server Module (behind the grill), you will see a blinking green/red LED – this is the rebuild / verification process.  Once the LEDs all go green, the process is complete.

Times vary, but a 500GB HDD Module will take between 4.5 and 5.0 hours for a complete rebuild / verification.  The SQA-5H is fully operational during the re-build / verification process.


Disk Performance

Does the Safe Server Module design hinder performance ?  We have tested a standard T7-WHS-D Home Server unit (Samsung 2.5” HDDs) against the SQA-5H fitted with the Safe Server Module – see the results below :

HDD benchmark (2.5” Samsung HDD in Standard Home Server setup) – below :

SafeServerHDD perform in T7 WHS (samsung hdd) 

HDD benchmark (2.5” Samsung HDD in SQA-5H Safe Server Module setup) – below :

SafeServerHDD perform in Safe Server WHS (samsung hdd) 

The results indicate overall similar performance (except for buffered read, where the Safe Server Module was slower)



Next – how to monitor the Safe Server Module, and how it keeps in touch with you



  1. […] Part 3 – The Safe Server Module […]

  2. […] is the world’s first OEM Home Server fitted with the innovative Safe Server Module (read all about the module here). Ensuring that all your data, as well as the operating system is protected. It’s a fine mix of […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: