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Old 10-28-2004, 09:06 AM   #1
alim
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Hardware RAID recommendation and questions


Am currently planning to build a 4-disk RAID server for SOHO use. Not sure which RAID level to go for at the moment, probably 0+1 or 5.

Anyway first the recommendation then the question... I'm looking at the Adaptec 2410SA and the LSI MegaRAID 150-4 SATA solutions. Requirements are:
* Hot swapping and rebuilding on drive failure.
* Array size expansion when replacing drives with larger drives.
* (Possible, though unlikely) 'Hot' RAID level changing.

Anyone have experience of these controllers on Linux and reasons to recommend one over the other?

Now the questions...
* With either of these controllers, should it fail, can an identical controller or an equivalent from the same manufacturer be used to continue running the array without hitch?
*Similarly, if I decide to rebuild a machine with a different motherboard etc (it will be a part-time desktop machine) can the array be shifted over and just restarted after the requisite setup is completed?

Many thanks in advance
Alim.
 
Old 10-28-2004, 12:24 PM   #2
Finlay
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biggest thing to know is if the RAID controller is really a hardware RAID controller. Meaning you should be able to install it and when you boot up you only see the RAID drive.
 
Old 10-29-2004, 04:13 AM   #3
alim
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Yeah all those in the lineup are hardware-only.

Since the original post I'm actually now just looking for recommendations on a range of controller manufacturers:

Promise,
LSI,
3ware,
Adaptec.
 
Old 10-29-2004, 09:59 AM   #4
Finlay
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Those brands are fine, you just need to check out what type of support, if any they have for your distro of Linux.

Personally i would go with Adaptec.
 
Old 10-29-2004, 10:37 AM   #5
alim
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When/if I go through with this, will post my findings.

Thanks.
 
Old 12-09-2004, 11:30 PM   #6
niverson
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I'm thinking about trying the LSI megaRAID SATA 150-4 on dual athlon system with Fedora Core 3. I want to format the the raid container with XFS. Do you have any tips or suggestions from your RAID adventure?

Thanks,
Nate
 
Old 12-10-2004, 05:29 AM   #7
hezaplaya
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I have a pretty decent amount of hardware/software RAID in linux, so here's my 2 cents.

Unless you absolutely NEED hotswappability please, please, please use linux software raid. The linux kernel itself has soso support for most hardware raid, and unless you want to spend some serious money on the raid controller or you are putting the raid controller in a PCI-X slot because you NEED some serious speed. Also most of the raid card manufacturers don't develop really great drivers except for in their top end cards which brings me back to spending a lot of $$$. I have had nothing but great experience with linux software raid. It is very easy, very fast and uses very little cpu power. It is also an extremely cheap solution when compared with hardware raid. You can spend $1000 on a pretty good raid card to get good support and good performance/features. Or you can spend $30 on a pci controller which will support 4 drives, and if you compile the driver for the card as a modules you can do quasi hot swap by unmounting the drive(s) unprobing the module, removing the drive or add a new drive and then re probing the module. (this is assuming you are using SATA or SCSI, this cant be dont with ata) Anyways that's my experience, if you need top performance or constant hotswapping then you can go with hardware, but software is easier cheaper and more flexible (and the array can be moved to another linux machine if need be) I can answer questions if you have any (sorry if im bad at explainging)
 
Old 12-10-2004, 08:52 AM   #8
niverson
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I'm using the dual althon system as a PVR(mythTV). It may sound like overkill, but I will be migrating it to be a HDTV PVR. No, I don't need hot swap capability. The issue I have seen with software RAID is that it only supports ext3. I have tried mythtv with software RAID 0 ext3 and I get frame drops(jittery video and sound). When I use XFS, I have no frame drops. I currently have a Promise TX4 and two 160MB SATA drives --- which I haven't been able to RAID and format to XFS. With hardware RAID I can create a container in the BIOS with the RAID level I choose and Linux should see it as just another hard drive that can be formatted with any filesystem. So my criteria is either RAID 5(redundancy and stripping) or RAID0(striping) with a XFS filesystem. If software RAID supported XFS I would use it in a second. Yes, I know I need another hard drive for RAID 5.

The dual athlon motherboard doesn't have PCI-X, but it does have 2 66MHz 32-bit PCI slots. I'm using one slot for GigE( I have a GigE switch with jumbo frame support) and the other for the RAID card.

Thanks for your response,
Nate

Last edited by niverson; 12-10-2004 at 08:57 AM.
 
Old 12-12-2004, 03:25 PM   #9
epperson
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FC3 and megaraid

Do be careful if you're planning to do FC3. There's a bug (https://bugzilla.redhat.com/bugzilla....cgi?id=138590) that effectively prevents use of FC3 with LSI Megaraid cards. Just a caveat--I found out the hard way by running a FC1-->FC3 upgrade and having it complete without errors--and totally unbootable.
 
Old 12-12-2004, 07:05 PM   #10
niverson
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Crap, I was planning on moving to FC3 after installing the LSI card. The system is currently FC2.

Thanks for the heads up,
Nate
 
Old 12-12-2004, 11:02 PM   #11
Electro
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If you use software RAID you should have no problems using any filesystem that the kernel was compiled for. Though you have to make primary partitions on each drive that you want to use for software RAID to work. Linux software RAID does not matter what filesystem it supports. It just handles data to write or read from the hard drives. You have to format /dev/md0 before mounting it. Look through the man pages for mkfs.xfs options.

Promise controllers are not hardware RAID. Its still software RAID.

Picking what RAID level depends on how valuable your data is in this case your videos and sound. If you do not care about the shows or movies that you recorded, you can use RAID 0. If you care about them and you have atleast a dual processor system and you are using software RAID, use RAID 5. It is possible to use RAID 0 with parity information (journal) on another drive.

Putting the journal on another drive will increase write performance for any journaled filesystem.
 
Old 12-12-2004, 11:28 PM   #12
niverson
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The stuff I'm recording is not that critical. It would be fantastic to setup software striping with XFS on the Promise card. I will google for a howto and report back what my success or failure.

Thanks,
Nate
 
Old 12-13-2004, 08:52 PM   #13
niverson
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Sweet, I used http://unthought.net/Software-RAID.H....HOWTO-11.html as a reference to setup the software RAID-0 with xfs. The initial attempt yeilded jerky video. I changed the chunk size from 4 to 32 and the video playback over nfs smoothed out.

Thanks Guys,
Nate

Last edited by niverson; 12-13-2004 at 08:53 PM.
 
Old 12-14-2004, 12:59 PM   #14
nycace36
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Any info from those here on difference between RAID 0+1 and RAID 5 ?

Am interested in upgrading controller to a Highpoint-Tech RocketRAID133

From its site (http://www.highpoint-tech.com) :
Quote:
For RAID 1 and 0+1, the RocketRAID 133 provides disk mirroring, hot-spare options for automatic array-rebuilds, hot-swap support for swapping failed disks on the fly (works with Hot-Swap capable mobile racks such as Rocket Mate), and disk failure notification (audible alarms, visual warning messages).
OTOH, according to the PCGuide RAID levels description for RAID w/ Parity, maybe a pure software RAID md# solution using a m-brd's built-in controller is really better?

From URL http://www.pcguide.com/ref/hdd/perf/...vels/tech.htm:
Quote:
Parity.
The technique (or techniques) used to provide redundancy in a RAID array is a primary differentiator between levels. Redundancy is provided in most RAID levels through the use of mirroring or parity (which is implemented with striping):

* Mirroring: Single RAID level 1, and multiple RAID levels 0+1 and 1+0 ("RAID 10"), employ mirroring for redundancy. One variant of RAID 1 includes mirroring of the hard disk controller as well as the disk, called duplexing.
* Striping with Parity: Single RAID levels 2 through 7, and multiple RAID levels 0+3 (aka "53"), 3+0, 0+5 and 5+0, use parity with striping for data redundancy.
* Neither Mirroring nor Parity: RAID level 0 is striping without parity; it provides no redundancy
* Both Mirroring and Striping with Parity: Multiple RAID levels 1+5 and 5+1 have the "best of both worlds", both forms of redundancy protection.
TYIA for any clarification on this; am a little unclear myself!!

Last edited by nycace36; 12-14-2004 at 01:05 PM.
 
Old 12-20-2004, 01:48 PM   #15
niverson
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Crap, the software RAID seems to be causing problems with mythtv's backend. Mythtv will record a show or two then hang. I have been seeing this for the past week. I saw some DMA error, but I can't find it any of the /var/log files.

I changed the software RAID with XFS back to individual sata drives formatted to XFS last night. I haven't see the hang issue and it has recorded about 20 shows since the change over.
Nate
 
  


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