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Advice on hardware IDE RAID under RHL 8.0



Hi,

I'm looking for some advice on hardware IDE RAID controllers under RHL 8.0 (or maybe Phoebe ;).

I'm looking for an solid, bootable device with own BIOS and support for 4-6 parallel IDE drives. If possible the device should be able to create a RAID level 5 array on its own and show the operating system just a huge drive like sda or whatever; I'm not sure how Linux handles such devices, but I'd definitely prefer one which is supported by the stock Red Hat kernel, if anyway possible. I don't care too much about hot swapping, but it'd be nice if the device would be able to add new drives if necessary.

I've some experience with "real" SCSI-based RAID arrays which do this, but the IDE RAID adapters I've seen are significantly cheaper so there might not be a perfect solution according to the above wishlist.

I've looked at several products and browsed the threads on this list from the past few weeks; so far I've learned the following:

3Ware, Escalade 7500 series, e.g. 7500-4LP for up to 4 drives
- Decent price,
- several options available, ranging from 4 to 12 drives
- support for RAID 0, 1, 10, 5, and JBOD
- able to boot
- support for Red Hat Linux 6.2 and 7.x (8.0 not mentioned); drivers are supposed to be in the default kernel - is this true?
- not clear: what kind of bios and setup?
- is the BIOS upgradeable?


Adaptec
- Pretty high price,
- I own several SCSI host adapters manufactured by Adapted, they're very realiable and live for several years; I like the products from this company, but have no experience with their IDE products;
- supports drives up to 128 GB (officially: 80 GB), BIOS from 2001, there's no update available; usage of 180 GB drives fail with a "critical error";
- based on Highpoint chipset (?),
- not clear: bootable?
- not clear: support for Red Hat Linux?
- Adaptec 1200A and 2400 supposed to be slow on Linux
- GUI tools for managing the array doesn't work on RHL 8.0.


Promise
- lots of negative opinions, seems to be some kind of software RAID with limited driver support on Linux
- binary drivers compiled with gcc 2.95


Dawicontrol
- I own a SCSI host adapter by Dawicontrol which is pretty dumb; I'd like to avoid products coming from them.


Highpoint
- error-prone, lots of timeouts, not recommended
- binary drivers compiled with gcc 2.95

LSI Logic
- slow
- almost no support for Linux
- drivers might be in the default kernel (?)

According to a test in the German magazine c't (issue 01/2003), the RAID 5 performance is very bad with all IDE RAID controllers, without exception, it's sometimes even slower than with just one IDE drive.

At the moment the 3ware Escalade 7500 series seems to be the best option; any experiences with this device on Red Hat Linux 8.0? How's the support, and is the device reliable? Does it get hot? Is it really slow?

Comments? Suggestions?

Thanks, -Agon





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