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Why you should not buy Promise products if you use Linux



Forgive me if I'm pointing out the obvious to some of you users who have
been using Linux for years and have had trouble with hardware. I've only
been a linux user for a couple of years and I am still learning all the
time.

<rant>
I've been through two weeks of *hell* with a Promise FastTrack 4000.
Its going back to reseller asap. In brief, the attitude of the support
personnel towards Linux is terrible and the product does not appear to
work as designed.

Problems with the controller:
1) Promise only releases ONE driver compiled for ONE specific kernel
(happens to be original 7.3 kernel). Therefore, if RedHat updates their
kernel you are SOL. The driver that they did release is complaining
about depmod errors when booting.

2) Forget about asking for source code to compile your own kernel. My
most recent conversation, the tech was very arrogant, and told me that
they would never under ANY circumstances release their source code to
any Linux user and as he put it "it is our intellectual property"....
Wait don't you guys design hardware? Do you really support Linux??

3) Forget about asking them for timely updates, in another conversation
with them I asked them about Redhat 8.0 support. Response said they will
release a driver in late January.... well it appears that the 8.0 kernel
has been updated several times but I am positive (if history is any
guide) that the only driver coming from Promise will support the
original 8.0 release kernel only.

4) Controller does not work as advertised, especially with a RAID 5
setup, with issues regarding constant array rebuilds and zero tolerance
for any sort of power failure. The last straw for me was when,
mistakenly, the power on my webserver was shut off and it completely
destroyed the array. I've never had a RAID 5 array that was this
sensitive to power failures (wait, isn't that one reason why I set up a
RAID 5 array in the first place???).

I've been using SCSI RAID arrays for almost three years now, different
controllers, different RAID setups and I've never run across such a
poorly supported/designed product. 

To me, the Promise still sees Linux as a toy. This is beyond me
especially when you have larger companies (IBM etc). getting into act. 


I really wish that Promise would decide to either support Linux or not.
Don't walk the line and claim to support it but give a cold shoulder and
a half-hearted response to end users. </rant>

I guess I'm off to try the Adaptec 2400A, looks like the source is
released for that card. 

Then again I probably should have stuck with RedHat's software based
RAID, I've had a server running that for over a year with no problems to
date.

-Justin





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