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The difference between Raid Controller and HBA card


Lenovo Fiber HBA Network For Servers Single-port HBA 01CV750


HBA card

A host bus adapter (HBA) is a circuit board or integrated circuit adapter that connects a host system , such as a server, to a storage or network device.

The HBA also provides input/output (I/O) processing to reduce the load on the host’s microprocessor when storing and retrieving data , helping to improve the host’s overall performance.

An HBA also provides input/output (I/O) processing to reduce the load on the host’s microprocessor when storing and retrieving data, helping to improve the host’s overall performance.

The HBA and its associated disk subsystems are sometimes referred to as a disk channel, while the HBA itself is often called an HBA card.

An HBA is typically characterized by the interconnect technology it supports, as well as its speed, port count and system interface.

Most HBA cards plug in to the Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe) slots of the host computer, although they might come in other form factors, such as mezzanine cards for blade servers.

Although the term HBA can apply to a variety of interconnects, it is most commonly used with storage protocols, such as Fiber Channel (FC) , Small Computer System Interface, Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) and Serial Attached SCSI (SAS).


LSI MegaRAID 9271-8I 1GB SAS and SATA RAID Controller LSI00330


RAID Controller

The RAID card is only a card that provides RAID functions, and is generally inserted into the server.

There are two types of RAID Controller cards.

The card that manages the internal disk of the server and the card that manages the external disk cabinet.

Internally, the server own disks are all connected to this card, and then the card is inserted into the host motherboard interface.

We can create a RAID Controller volume by pressing the shortcut key to enter the configuration interface of the card when booting , so that the operating system can recognize a virtual disk with RAID Controller function.

For the external, it is inserted after the PCIE interface of the motherboard, and then expand the interface to the motherboard to connect to the external disk cabinet.

From this point of view, this external link card is also equivalent to an HBA card, but it has RAID functions.

Manage the disk cabinet outside the server by entering the configuration interface of this card.

But this card is also inserted in the server.



Raid Controller and HBA card

Raid Controller and HBA card are similar but not same.

A controller could be onboard as :

  • A discrete device on motherboard .
  • An additional feature inside chipset (like Intel’s RST) .
  • A card, could be a controller (for internal connectivity) or HBA (for external connectivity) .
  • HBAs are sometimes connected with motherboard using proprietary connectors, in space-constrained blade servers for example .
  • But in those cases, HBA will have internal connectivity, as blades almost never talk to external storage .
  • More recently, NVMe storage has given new life to the term HBA  .
  • In the NVMe scenario, the intermediate device (between storage device and PCIe bus) is most aptly described as an HBA ; as it mediates traffic between a host bus (PCIe) and the endpoints (NVMe storage media) .