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Old 08-07-2003, 04:31 PM   #1
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Bronx, NY
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 371

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ATA RAID Review and Thanks

I had asked for some opinions from this group about ATA RAID cards that would work with Linux. After having gone through two separate cards that did not work to my Satisfaction, someone pointed me to a company called 3ware.

Thank you. As promised, I shall share my experiences...

US$ 58 - SIIG Ultra ATA/133 RAID - Model CN2496
Based on here-say, and without checking here first, I purchased this card. I installed the card, and started a Linux install ... nothing. So, I went searching for 3rd Party Drivers. This is where it gets funny. This model of SIIG has had three revisions. Only the first revision had Linux support and Functionality. I still have this card. It sucks, and I want to offload it cheap. Anybody with a Windows NT system who wants a RAID card to play around with?

US$ 98 - Promise FastTrak - Model TX2000
I purchased this card based on early feedback from this forum. The day before it arrived I got a decent explanation of the difference between a RAID Card and a RAID Controller card. The Promise will certainly work on Linux - but it offers Software Assisted RAID. This is no better (or only marginally better) than using the Software RAID capabilities built into the 2.4 Kernels. This was, however, the cheapest Linux compatible RAID card that I found. Which I returned without opening.

US$ 119 - 3ware Escalade ATA RAID Controller - Model 7000-2.
Based on the information gathered, I decided on this card. Considering it's only US$ 21 more than the Promise card while offering true Hardware RAID support - this is an EXCELLENT deal.

I inserted the card - with two 40GB Seagate drives - and set up the RAID 1 (mirror) directly in the card's built in BIOS Array Manager (no OS on the machine) before installing Linux.

Set the RedHat 7.3 CD-ROM in the drive, and it detected the 3ware card immediately. NOTE this computer (by design) has no other hard drives. Only the ATA-RAID and a Compaq CD-ROM drive is loaded on the built-in IDE bus. Linux picked up the 3ware RAID as a single SCSI Hard Drive ( /dev/sda ) with no direct awareness of the mirroring that is going on in the card.

3ware includes a program that can interact with the RAID card for RAID statistics, drive rebuilding, etc.

If there is a dis-advantage to this card it is the same with any BIOS extension card. It does slow down the initial system POST time. However, this is more than made up for by the extra CPU cycles I have available to my database.

Using a 2.4 Kernel and a RedHat 7.3 distribution the 3ware card was detected and accepted immediately upon install.
Old 08-07-2003, 10:06 PM   #2
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Jette, Brussels Hoofstedelijk Gewest
Distribution: Debian sid, RedHat 9, Suse 8.2
Posts: 446

Rep: Reputation: 31
Some relevant news now that you have you 3ware RAID controller.

In the latest debian package for smartmontools, this piece of
information --


smartmontools (5.1.16-1) unstable; urgency=low

experimental support for disks behind 3ware raid controller

-- Guido Guenther <> Wed, 6 Aug 2003 22:38:11 +0200

So since you are using RedHat and RedHat does not include smartmontools package, rush over to


and get the source, compile, install, and keep a watchful eye
on your disks on your shiny new 3ware RAID controller.
Old 08-08-2003, 12:33 PM   #3
Registered: Apr 2002
Location: Bronx, NY
Distribution: Ubuntu
Posts: 371

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 34
Thank you for that update. I might point out that the 3ware controller comes with it's own fully functional monitoring package, so I don't think I need to try to wrap yet another package around this.

I might check out that package once it reaches "stable" status itself for the 3ware functionality.


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