What is a good choice of sata-ii raid controller for freebsd?

Alexey Karagodov karagodov at gmail.com
Thu Feb 8 17:52:14 UTC 2007


2007/2/8, Jeremy Chadwick <koitsu at freebsd.org>:
> 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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