[UCI-Linux] hardware vs software SATA RAID

Thu Mar 24 16:18:23 PST 2005

Hi Harry.

I've just written up a sort of top level RAID page in my notes:


It covers:

1) My experiences with software RAID on linux, including md,
   LVM2, NBD, ENBD, and more.
2) My experiences with software RAID on solaris
3) Distributed filesystems: GFS and Lustre
4) A comparison between "software RAID" and "hardware RAID"
5) A summary of my experience with the ESMF storage farm,
   with a "Maxtor SATA+3Ware RAID"-centric perspective


PS: I'll be calling you in response to your other note momentarily...

On Thu, 2005-03-24 at 11:37 -0800, Harry Mangalam wrote:
> 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 
> disks?
> 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?
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