What is a good choice of sata-ii raid controller for freebsd?
koitsu at FreeBSD.org
Thu Feb 8 16:52:28 UTC 2007
On Thu, Feb 08, 2007 at 12:47:10PM +0200, Clayton Milos wrote:
> I can highly recommend the Areca family of SATA-II controllers. I have a
> ARC-1110 (4 poort RAID controller) with 4x 320GB Western Digital
> SATA-II drives attached to it in a RAID5 configuration.
I have questions:
1) Do these controllers, from a BIOS level, permit SMART commands
to be sent directly to the drives (via pass(4)) so you can
monitor drives for potential upcoming failures and perform
drive tests, via smartctl?
2) Regardless of performance, have you actually tried a hard failure
with these controllers and seen what both the controller and the
OS do? A good example is to pull the SATA power plug out of one
of the drives in the array while it's powered on and see what
happens, both from a controller perspective and what FreeBSD does.
The same question applies to hot-swapping.
3) Does Areca provide any form of carriage/enclosure medium, such as
an enclosure which supports 4 drives, allows hot-swapping, and
allows you to query the enclosure for statistics (fan RPM, thermals,
and so on)?
4) string'ing the cli32 binary returns some references to SMART, but
the monitoring is generally retarded (literally, not slang) -- it
looks as if it just wants to use SMART to say "drive bad" or "drive
good". This is not an effective use of SMART, and does nothing
for those wanting to monitor drives properly (read: temperature,
excessive ECC, perform SMART tests for bad blocks, etc.).
5) Is there native FreeBSD 6.x binaries for administrative utilities?
It doesn't look like it, but maybe I'm looking at the wrong utility:
~/V1.5_50930 $ file cli32
cli32: ELF 32-bit LSB executable, Intel 80386, version 1, for FreeBSD 4.2, statically linked, not stripped
Many controllers (including Adaptec) these days suffer from some or
all of the above issues, too. Ultimately this turns me off to
using any form of RAID controller; vendors who refuse to give full
documentation for their hardware to engineers who want to write
drivers for it, refuse to implement proper passthrough methods (I'm
looking at you, Adaptec) so that you can talk to the drives directly
if need be, nor provide you with any form of useful FreeBSD support
("here's our old crusty 3.x a.out binaries built by a guy who left
the company 7 years ago! Thanks for buying <company>, bye!")
The best out of the bunch in this regards seems to be Promise, who
despite having "ehhh" controllers, has given Soren lots of documen-
tation and has been helpful in providing him answers to his
questions. I can't say the same for other controller vendors.
I'm sorry if I sound bitter, but I must have gone through 4 different
brands of SATA RAID controllers before saying "screw this" and going
with non-RAID or using geom. I don't have anything against Areca
(I've never used their hardware), but I have no desire to use hardware
which does not support the above things -- which in 2007 should be
standard by all means.
| Jeremy Chadwick jdc at parodius.com |
| Parodius Networking http://www.parodius.com/ |
| UNIX Systems Administrator Mountain View, CA, USA |
| Making life hard for others since 1977. PGP: 4BD6C0CB |
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