[UCI-Linux] hardware vs software SATA RAID

Harry Mangalam hjm at tacgi.com
Thu Mar 24 11:37:37 PST 2005

Has anyone had enough experience with setting up RAID on linux to be 
able to address the (dis)advantages with HW vs SW raid using SATA 

My understanding is that most SATA RAID controllers are 'fakeraid' - 
simple SATA controllers with SW drivers (for windows) to emulate the 
RAID.  Linux has its own 'md' driver level to be able to do this, so 
buying a fakeraid controller is of limited use.  On the other hand, 
some Promise controllers have RAID accelerators that may soon be 
supported (and Promise is actually promoting them as Linux-friendly, 
using open source drivers - the SX-8 anyway).

Real HW RAID controllers such as the 3ware escalade series are quite 
expensive (>$400/8 disk controller) but do provide a RAID array that 
looks like a single device to the OS (?).  The other downside is that 
'upgrading' requires a firmware upgrade (requiring a Windows-boot 
disk or similar?).

Our server has a built-in Silicon Image SATA controller to support 4 
drives which works fine, but we'll happily buy a 3ware card if it 
increases reliability or decreases admin complexity.

Anyone booting off Linux RAID devices?
If you use the the Linux SW RAID utils, how do you get notified of a 
disk failure other than checking the logs?

Cheers, Harry
Harry J Mangalam - 949 856 2847 (vox; email for fax) - hjm at tacgi.com 
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