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Looking for Controller Suggestions to run a large SATA Raid
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kpsyran
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Joined: 09 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:05 pm    Post subject: Looking for Controller Suggestions to run a large SATA Raid Reply with quote

I'm working on a side project (We all know how those can go) for a friend's company (even worse), and I'm starting to work out some specs for the Webserver we're building for him.

The documents we will be saving on the server are fairly large adobe pdf's that have to be available for 5 years. They have been saving them on CD's at the moment, but want to take the data online. Based on the number of CDs created in the last 2 years, and multiplying it out to 5 years, then doubling that number to give them room to grow, I get a number of around 750GB of storage space at a minimum.

What I'm thinking of is going with an external hotswap SATA drive enclosure with 4x 400GB Hard drives in a Raid 5 Array. I would actually set it up as 3 + hotswap, and probably go with an enclosure that could add up to 2 more hard drives if more space is needed.

In the case of the project, Reliability & Space are the primary concerns, speed is not; the server will not be hammered too hard for requests.

I would prefer a hardware solution, and one that could be monitored if possible. I'm looking for a middle of the road controller, not cheap, but preferably not requiring an arm or leg to pay for either. At this time, nothing has been purchased server wise, so a solution that comes from a major manufacturer as part of a server is just as good as something I build from the ground up.

I'd prefer people have previous experience with a card if they recommend it, other then just the specs. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance.
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pactoo
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you really want a hardware solution, there is most likely no alternative to the 3ware escalade series.
Personally I have installed a soft-raid5 with 4x250GB drives on an ordinary promise 4ch sata controller and have heard no complaints so far. mdadm does the monitoring and replacing a broken disc worked flawlessly. However, I have not tested the hotspare functionality provided by mdadm, as no hotspare was requested.

If you use an el cheapo controller, you 1) also have a de facto softare raid, just realised by the driver and 2) the disadvatage, that its successor may not be able to read the array any more. Thats why I'd alway prefer a softraid solution. However, 3ware is a pretty professional company and you most likely won't have any compatibility issues when replacing/upgrading the controller.
You are still dependend on the company releasing drivers and/or infos, however 3ware has been very coorperative so far with linux and their controllers are amongst the best supported.
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desolation
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Joined: 21 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2005 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You do NOT want a 3ware
They're slow & expensive, and absolutely not worth the money
the day they will actually produce a new card instead of cards based on ye old ATA cards from the stoneage with sata convertors, then i'd might suggest 3WARE again. but now they are slow and overpriced, in every possible way

If I were you i'd go for an LSI, as they have decent kernel support for every MegaRAID card.
Areca also has good cards with nice driver support, and they also scale very well
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kpsyran
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any other suggestions? Pricing out the server this weekend.
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BlueBus
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2005 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would also go for a softraid solution, since speed is not your goal.

The main advantage IMHO is that you are not caught in the proprietary device net, that is, if you want to change your RAID system you can flawlessly do it with mdadm. If you go for a hardware solution you don't know when the manufacturer decides to take the drive out of the market. When this happens you are with the rope at your neck because you will never be able to access your data again if your controller brake.

With mdadm you always have the controler (software) available with no sweat.

I personally run mdadm myself in a old computer (P3, 400MHZ) and I get 0.00 load so it is not even consuming CPU.

Replacing a broken disk work flawlessly, the main problem was identifying the disk. Luckly my SATA controller as numered channels. Once I found out which disk was drumming I replaced it and mdadm automatically mirrored the existing disk into it.

mdadm also has a spare disk functionality in which a disk is awaiting for an error to take a broken disk place. This occurs automatically.

I strongly recomend you this solution.

A nice how to can be found here
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e-tigger
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 09, 2005 4:51 am    Post subject: Alternative to 3ware w/ speed Reply with quote

Tekram SIR-1120

Pros:
    VERY FAST not just for hdparm results but for basic timed dd tests (I know pathetic tests)
    True hardware/speed testing was done by ?tweakers.net? and the TekRam card excelled in every test
    Source code GPL driver for the kernel
    Native SATA w/NCQ support
    PCI-E and PCI-X versions avivalable


Cons:
    Every bit as expensive as 3ware
    Few suppliers
    Driver is not included in the kernel
    If you want to boot off the RAID then you'll have to patch and compile the kernel on a different machine and then copy the kernel over (at least the first time)
    No official ebuild (Although I have a working ebuild I might have already posted)


I hate to sound like a teenage fanboy (those days are long past) but this card rocks.

I have happily used 3ware and enjoyed both the ease of use and universal support. But they are just slow.
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simeli
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PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2006 10:34 am    Post subject: Re: Alternative to 3ware w/ speed Reply with quote

e-tigger wrote:
Tekram SIR-1120


The Tekrams are actually Areca cards sold under a different name. OS drivers are available but not part of the kernel. Defenitely very good stuff. and you can get PCI-X or PCIe models.
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Husaberg FS650e Force Edition [http://www.husaberg.se]
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