Hardware RAID support? Which controller best to use?

ray at redshift.com ray at redshift.com
Fri Nov 18 15:11:36 GMT 2005

| I'm trying to get him towards ordering a 3Ware-Escalade 9500S-4 RAID 
| controller (or possibly the -8 or -12 one).

The 9500S line is a good choice.  You can also sometimes find them used/NIB on
ebay at a fair price ($300 to $400).  BTW, in my testing, you don't get much
additional performance from having 8 vs 4 drives (if you want to save costs).
Although you do get more space :)  
| One thing which is of importance is that their budget may not allow for 
| a really high end server, so they may have to decide to buy a semi 
| high-end server. This then may result in them taking Athlons instead of 
| Opterons, and it may result in a MoBo with 32-bits PCI slots instead of 
| 64-bits PCI slots. Judging from the pictures of the 9500S it has a 
| 64-bits PCI slot, but it looks like it might be compatible with the 
| 32-bits slots as well (at a performance penalty, of course).
| Would you happen to know if that's indeed possible, or whether they'd 
| better choose a different RAID controller?

You'd have to check the 3ware website to be sure, but a lot of times those cards
are backwards compatible with the 32 bit slots.  I just checked the manuals I
have for the 9000 series and it says 3Ware cards will run properly in any PCI or
PCI-X slot, but you'll get better performance in a 64 bit slot - here is the
text from the manual:

Selecting the Slot in Which to Install the Controller
Consider these factors when deciding on the slot in which to insert the controller:
.. While the 3ware RAID Controller runs properly in any PCI or
PCI-X slot, not all slots give equal performance due to the
architecture of the PCI bus.
These slots typically give the best performance:
.. Slots closest to the Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP), if
.. 64-bit PCI slots
Although the controller fits in both 32-bit and 64-bit PCI or
PCI-X slots with 5V as well as with 3.3V, install it in a 64-
bit slot to take full advantage of the controller’s
| Regarding the MySQL versions and their settings: tnx for giving me 
| enough comfort to indeed give heavy preference for the FreeBSD amd64 
| version. Will (source) installing the version from the ports do, or do 
| you mean something else when you say that you compiled MySQL yourself?

from the tar.gz off the mysql site.  E-mail me privately for a full run down on
the install I use, but here is the basic idea:

as root do this:
tar -xzf mysql-4.1.15.tar.gz
cd mysql-4.1.15
pw groupadd mysql
adduser {user you are creating is mysql}

CFLAGS="-O3" CXX=gcc CXXFLAGS="-O3 -felide-constructors -fno-exceptions
-fno-rtti" ./configure --prefix=/usr/local/mysql --enable-assembler
--with-mysqld-ldflags=-all-static --without-debug

make install
make clean

ln -s /usr/local/mysql/share/mysql/mysql.server /usr/local/bin/mysql.server
ln -s /usr/local/mysql/bin/mysql /usr/local/bin/mysql
ln -s /usr/local/mysql/bin/mysqld_safe /usr/local/bin/mysqld_safe

There is more too it, but that's the basic idea.  Check the readme/install files
with the tar.gz - I will also send you my entire run down privately in a second.
| Regarding the benchmark results: I'd love to receive them. Can you 
| perhaps send them off-list to me?

Actually, I forgot that I put them on-line a while back.  Here you go:

| Regarding W*nd*ws vs. FreeBSD: I love your remark; I wonder if the 
| person I forwarded it to can laugh as loudly about it as I did. :D

| Finally regarding SCSI vs. SATA:
| >I've had far better luck using SATA over SCSI in the recent couple of years.
| > We have several machines setup using FreeBSD and 3Ware RAID 0+1 that 
| > routinely run with no problems and uptimes of 200 to 300 days at a time.
| Very interesting to know. At present, I myself have a 754 socket AMD 
| Athlon 64 3.2 GHz (IIRC), running FreeBSD 5.4 release AMD-64, with an 
| Adaptec 2200S U320 SCSI RAID controller with 4 Maxtor Atlas 10KIV 36GB 
| drives attached to it in RAID-10 mode. So far it works a charm (though I 
| too had to effectively downgrade it to U160 due to the lack of 64-bits 
| PCI slots, grrr). I hope it'll keep performing well (so far uptimes in 
| the order magnitude you mention have been working fine for me as well on 
| SCSI - Adaptec 2100S RAID set-ups in my (now) fall-back server, and ever 
| after installing the AMD-64 one 34 days ago I haven't had to restart it 
| so far)...

The file will send you with the benchmarks includes the PHP files to run the
benchmarks, so if you feel like adding your #'s to the mix, just let me know.
Or feel free to run the code and send me the results.  I'll e-mail you privately
in a second here.
| Yet, it'll be interesting to keep an eye on the SATA RAID performance 
| and costs. With such uptimes SATA will surely become (if it hasn't 
| already become so, that is) a very good alternative for SCSI.

SATA is built on top of SCSI I think (not sure exactly how it all sorts out, but
I think some of the SATA stuff is tied into some of the SCSI stuff in the kernel
or something).  If I recall correctly, you have to leave some SCSI drivers in
the kernel when you setup SATA on FreeBSD.  I may be off, but I think that's
what we had to do.  Maybe someone more familiar with the kernel stuff can
comment further on that count.

I will e-mail you the install run down in a sec.


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