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I've surfed many forums and learned about as much as I can on my own. Now, I'm looking for professional help...
I've been happily running FC2 x86_64 for many months on my ASUS SK8V/Fx-53 system using a Seagate 160GB SATA drive.
Recently, I tried setting up a RAID-0 array (using two seagate 160 GB SATA drives). All of my attempts using the BIOS to configure the array failed (the BIOS would say it was configured for RAID-0, FC2 installed without a hitch, and then GRUB would hang on the initial reboot). This happens for both the Promise and VIA controllers. I went on to learn about hardware RAID, software RAID and firmware RAID and realized that the SATA drivers for Linux may be causing my problem.
I finally gave up and implemented full software RAID using the VIA controller, which seems to be working well (i.e., put the BIOS back to separate SATA discs and configured RAID in Disk Druid).
I've been back to the via web site multiple times. They claim to have a Linux driver that supports RAID for FC1. However, I'm having trouble getting this driver to compile under FC2.
I would really like to configure the RAID-0 in BIOS since that would make it easier to configure a dual-boot Windows-Linux machine.
Before I spend any more time on this - can anyone tell me the following:
1. Do FC2 drivers exist for the VT8237 SATA controller (or the Promise PCD20378 controller) that allow Linux to use the BIOS-based RAID functions?
2. If they exist, do they provide any significant difference in performance and reliability.
3. Is a hardware RAID controller (i.e., a 3Ware 9500S-4LP, Broadcom BC4452D, etc...) worth the expense and configuration hassle?
1. I don't know, but even if they exist, GRUB won't be able to use them. In order to boot, you will need a normal, non-RAID disk. With linux software RAID, you can leave a single partition for this purpose. Normal RAID, however, doesn't allow this.
2. The VIA/Promise RAID drivers are really just another form of software RAID. Linux software RAID has pretty decent performance--I doubt the vendor solution would be any better.
3. I don't think so. I think linux software RAID is the best solution. You can still share files from windows to linux and vice versa with a fat32 partition. Why do you say that RAID in BIOS will make things easier to configure?
As for my thought that the BIOS RAID being easier to configure, I was hoping to have RAID for both Windows and Linux using different partitions on the same discs without having to change BIOS settings. If Windows wants to use the BIOS/driver-based RAID and Linux uses a software-based RAID then the BIOS settings must change in order to boot each OS.
The software RAID for Linux works fine and I am pleased with the performance boost. However, before stopping here, if GRUB has a problem with RAID, then maybe I need to experiment with some other boot loaders first...
I'm pretty sure GRUB and LILO only boot from linux software RAID. In order for them to read normal RAID, they would need the proprietary drivers, and I don't think either bootloader has an interface for proprietary RAID drivers.