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

alex at pilosoft.com alex
Mon Sep 13 16:39:06 EDT 2004

On Mon, 13 Sep 2004, Charles Sprickman wrote:

> 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.
Its a bad idea. If controller says drive is bad, its a hint - CHANGE THE 
DRIVE *BEFORE* IT FAILS. Controller may mark drives as bad for many 
reasons - such as SMART diagnostics even before failure - and that's a 
good thing ;)

> 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.
Does this happen with all IBM drives?

> 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.  Opinions?
That depends. :)

SATA's main advantage is better wiring, really. Speedwise, disks are not 
close to reaching limit of ATA-100 anyway. Of course, 10K RPM SATA disk is 
going to be better - but they are just as expensive as 10K SCSI drives...


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