mfi driver performance too bad on LSI MegaRAID SAS 9260-8i

Borja Marcos borjam at
Tue Aug 2 08:27:08 UTC 2016

> On 01 Aug 2016, at 19:30, Michelle Sullivan <michelle at> wrote:
> There are reasons for using either…

Indeed, but my decision was to run ZFS. And getting a HBA in some configurations can be difficult because vendors insist on using 
RAID adapters. After all, that’s what most of their customers demand.

Fortunately, at least some Avago/LSI cards can work as HBAs pretty well. An example is the now venerable LSI2008.

> Nowadays its seems the conversations have degenerated into those like Windows vs Linux vs Mac where everyone thinks their answer is the right one (just as you suggested you (Borja Marcos) did with the Dell salesman), where in reality each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

I know, but this is not the case. But it’s quite frustrating to try to order a server with a HBA rather than a RAID and receiving an answer such as
“the HBA option is not available”. That’s why people are zapping, flashing and, generally, torturing HBA cards rather cruelly ;)

So, in my case, it’s not about what’s better or worse. It’s just a simpler issue. Customer (myself) has made a decision, which can be right or wrong. Manufacturer fails to deliver what I need. If it was only one manufacturer, well, off with them, but the issue is widespread in industry. 

> Eg: I'm running 2 zfs servers on 'LSI 9260-16i's... big mistake! (the ZFS, not LSI's)... one is a 'movie server' the other a 'postgresql database' server...  The latter most would agree is a bad use of zfs, the die-hards won't but then they don't understand database servers and how they work on disk.  The former has mixed views, some argue that zfs is the only way to ensure the movies will always work, personally I think of all the years before zfs when my data on disk worked without failure until the disks themselves failed... and RAID stopped that happening...  what suddenly changed, are disks and ram suddenly not reliable at transferring data? .. anyhow back to the issue there is another part with this particular hardware that people just throw away…

Well, silent corruption can happen. I’ve seen it once caused by a flaky HBA and ZFS saved the cake. Yes. there were reliable replicas. Still, rebuilding would be a pain in the ass. 

> The LSI 9260-* controllers have been designed to provide on hardware RAID.  The caching whether using the Cachecade SSD or just oneboard ECC memory is *ONLY* used when running some sort of RAID set and LVs... this is why LSI recommend 'MegaCli -CfgEachDskRaid0' because it does enable caching..  A good read on how to setup something similar is here: (disclaimer, I haven't parsed it all so the author could be clueless, but it seems to give generally good advice.)  Going the way of 'JBOD' is a bad thing to do, just don't, performance sucks. As for the recommended command above, can't comment because currently I don't use it nor will I need to in the near future... but…

Actually it’s not a good idea to use heavy disk caching when running ZFS. Its reliability depends on being able to commit metadata to disk. So I don’t care about that caching option. Provided you have enough RAM, ZFS is very effective caching data itself.

> If you (O Hartmann) want to use or need to use ZFS with any OS including FreeBSD don't go with the LSI 92xx series controllers, its just the wrong thing to do..  Pick an HBA that is designed to give you direct access to the drives not one you have to kludge and cajole.. Including LSI controllers with caches that use the mfi driver, just not those that are not designed to work in a non RAID mode (with or without the passthru command/mode above.)

As I said, the problem is, sometimes it’s not so easy to find the right HBA. 

> So moral of the story/choices.  Don't go with ZFS because people tell you its best, because it isn't, go with ZFS if it suits your hardware and application, and if ZFS suits your application, get hardware for it.

Indeed, I second this. But really, "hardware for it" covers a rather broad cathegory ;) ZFS can even manage to work on hardware _against_ it.


More information about the freebsd-current mailing list