[nycbug-talk] RAID controllers - what doesn't suck?

Charles Sprickman spork
Mon Sep 13 16:29:29 EDT 2004

Hi all,

Looking for some feedback from people using low to midrange SCSI RAID 
controllers under FreeBSD (but other *BSD input would be useful as well).

Last time I shopped, Adaptec seemed like the best value for the money. 
But since installing a number of these, I'm rethinking that.  The most 
annoying problem I've run into is the controller just marking drives as 
bad.  If I reboot and ask it to build back onto the "bad" drives, all is 
well for quite some time.  Most of the drives are IBM, bought before 
people started noting that IBM drives are garbage.

This of course leads to troubleshooting hell... Checking the firmware on 
all the drives and then digging up a windows box and scsi card to "flash" 
the drives, double and triple checking the scsi chain is terminated 
properly, hoping that the SCA backplane isn't hosed, etc.  Time consuming 
and a lot of mixed results.  Part of me just thinks this is an issue with 
the IBM drive, but then again, the drives work fine standalone.  In a few 
days I'm taking one problematic system down and junking all the IBM drives 
for some new (and larger) Seagates.  So if that makes everything "OK", 
I'll stick with Seagate.

One other question...  I'm going to be setting up a new shell server that 
also serves up a decent amount of ~user webpages.  That too will need a 
RAID controller.  I'm not really up on what advantages SATA has over 
normal IDE drives, but I wonder if perhaps SATA RAID would be sufficient 
in this case?  Lots and lots of random reads, not very sequential. 



Charles Sprickman
Bway.net - New York's Best Internet - www.bway.net
spork at bway.net - 212.655.9344

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