[nycbug-talk] highpoint RAID drivers on FreeBSD

Charles Sprickman spork
Mon Dec 13 14:39:56 EST 2004

On Mon, 13 Dec 2004, Isaac Levy wrote:

> The nutshell version, the HighPoint has FreeBSD drivers for their 1640 SATA 
> RAID card on their website, it's just the installing disk drivers on boot 
> volumes that bites.  These things are cheap, solid, SATA RAID- who doesn't 
> want that? (regardless if I want it, I've now got one :)
> If anyone can point me to the right person, or URL, I'd seriously appreciate 
> it- this situation is right on the cusp of being VERY cool, IMHO.

Can you tell us more about the driver?  Is it tacked-on to the existing 
ATA stuff, or is it more like the 3Ware (which presents itself more like a 
scsi device to the OS)?  If the latter, a quick shout on -hackers should 
find you the right person.  A few people that may or may not work on this 
stuff but are quite smart and easy to work with are:

-Mike Smith (really really great guy - if he's got the time and the commit 
bit, he'd probably help)
-Scott Long (mostly adaptec stuff, but who knows...)

And while I appreciate Soren's work, he's not the most cooperative or 
helpful person in the group, so I'd steer clear.

Again, if this is a more scsi-like driver, asking on -scsi is good - most 
anyone who works on any RAID cards is going to be there.


> Details below- Rocket-
> .ike
> Details:
> --
> ((SPECS))
> The Raid card is the 'HighPoint RocketRaid 1640'
> http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA/rr1640.htm
> It's a 4 channel SATA card, and they're fairly inexpensive.  With that, 
> HighPoint actually states FreeBSD support on their website, PROVIDES DRIVERS, 
> and both 'CLI' and 'GUI' management tools- all fine and dandy (they can't be 
> any clunkier than aaccli eh?).  Right now the card hovers around $100- very 
> accessible, very replaceable.
> http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA/bios_rr1640.htm#FreeBSD
> There is online access to the card's drivers from the manufacturer, and they 
> have actually gone to considerable effort to support FreeBSD through 4.x and 
> 5.x (as well as Linux), though I have not yet seen any clear license 
> concerning driver redistribution etc... (excepting a general copyright header 
> in the manual), so I'd assume that with a little prodding even, HighPoint 
> could be convinced to slap an MIT or BSD style license in there, so we can 
> have the open inclusion of the driver or source in *BSD/*NIX source.  Someone 
> within FreeBSD may have tried this already and failed, but I haven't been 
> able to find anything about this online.
> Installing the drivers, ESPECIALLY during a system install, is a real manual 
> pain in the tail.  The instructions provided by HighPoint call for a sequence 
> involving:
> + booting from FreeBSD install CD
> - pausing before the kernel loads
> - loading the driver off a floppy
> + One then proceeds with a standard FreeBSD install
> - and at the end, one has to instal the HighPoint drivers on the fresh system
> - Then one manually has to add the driver to boot.load on the fresh system, 
> so it bloody loads at boot time.
> The install sequence is documented in a PDF, in the tarball of stuff that 
> comes with the driver images:
> http://www.highpoint-tech.com/BIOS%20+%20Driver/rr1640/FreeBSD/rr154x- 
> bsd-v112s.tgz
> Driver install takes a inordinate amount of time, (hardware RAID being 
> something I use, for one, because it SAVES me time).  In addition, I have no 
> floppy on this system- and don't plan to install one, so getting this to work 
> involved a 3rd disk, then copying the install, and driver, etc... to the RAID 
> once it was working.  Now, thinking foreword to a time when there is some 
> sort of critical problem with the system, I shudder to think what kind of 
> boot-ballet I'll have to deal with, should I need to boot from emergency 
> repair media- seeing as whenever that kind of thing happens, it's always 
> under time pressure, anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
> I could create my own install/repair CD's based on the minidist releases, but 
> this is a loosing proposition as well- seeing as I currently will be 
> supporting 1 of these buggers, and what the heck happens when there is some 
> Zero-day system exploit, where I'll need to do some major upgrades within 
> hours.
> It's simple- All of the above install issues for boot volumes disappear for 
> this card.
> IMHO, this enables all of us to use fast and inexpensive RAID in places that 
> would otherwise be cost-prohibitive (slap RAID in that little dev box in your 
> closet).  I'd personally start using the cards all over in clusters of 
> redundant servers, where fast/cheap replacements are key for me...
> For advocacy purposes, this is the kind of situation that I think creates bad 
> perceptions about Open Source- and BSD- HighPoint folks really are putting 
> effort into supporting FreeBSD, but I'd hate to be a newbie who just bought a 
> HighPoint card for my first FreeBSD install!!!
> _______________________________________________
> % NYC*BUG talk mailing list
> http://lists.nycbug.org/mailman/listinfo/talk
> %Be sure to check out our Jobs and NYCBUG-announce lists
> %We meet the first Wednesday of the month

More information about the talk mailing list