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Old 21st July 2008
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Default Inexpensive RAID card recommendation

Hello, I have a rather old RAID controller identified by FreeBSD as "ITE IT8212F UDMA133 controller" and recently I have had messages telling me the OS was detecting and IRQ interrupt storm for this card; this has caused the striped volume attached to the card to temporarily fail but a reboot sorted that. I do have backups, but I don't want to risk it so I'm looking for new hardware.

I was wondering if anyone could recommend an inexpensive PCI RAID card that is known to work with FreeBSD - I'm using FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE.

Thanks.
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Old 22nd July 2008
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If you aren't going to spend the money for a real, hardware RAID controller, then just spend the money on a good IDE or SATA controller. Disable any "RAID" modes, and use gstripe(8), gmirror(8), graid3(8), or zfs(8).

The PseudoRAID/software RAID controllers are really nothing more than disk controllers with drivers that implement software "RAID". Better to just use real software RAID that can work on any disk controller.
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Old 22nd July 2008
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Hello, thanks for replying. I did originally use FreeBSD's software RAID (gstripe) but fsck was always reporting problems when I used this; switching to the card's inbuilt RAID stopped all that. The worst example of this was when I installed disk benchmark software from ports; I ran it a few times and the result was the volume was destroyed - I lost gigabytes of data. I use the same cards in my Windows XP box using Windows' software RAID 0 and have never lost any data (come to think of it, I've used Windows in all it's iterations from 95 to XP and FreeBSD is the only OS where I've suffered serious data loss)

I'm using the 32 bit architecture with 1 gig of RAM; the volume will not be heavily used, just occasional file browsing and file saves - do you think its worth the risk using ZFS?
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Old 22nd July 2008
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I believe ZFS is primarily intended for 64-bit environments.
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Old 22nd July 2008
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weasel:
ZFS works best in a 64-bit environment with 2 GB or more of RAM.

However, it will work fine in a 32-bit environment with less than 2 GB of RAM. You just have to do a lot of manual tuning.

I'm running a three-drive array at home using 32-bit FreeBSD 7-STABLE, s1 on each drive gmirror'd, s2 on each drive as swap and s3 on each drive in a raidz1 zpool. Took about a week to get the tuning down to the point where things run reliably with just 2 GB of RAM.

tanked:
If you are dead set on using raid0, then you may be better off using the braindead "raid" features in pseudoraid cards (Promise FasTrak, HighPoint RocketRAID, etc). However, IMO, using raid0 is just asking for trouble. Lose any 1 disk in the strip, and all your data, on all the drives in the stripe is gone.

If you are looking for speed, and have 4 drives, look into raid1+0 (aka raid10) using gstripe and gmirror or software raid controllers. Or a raidz1 or raidz2 setup with zfs.
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Last edited by phoenix; 23rd July 2008 at 04:34 PM. Reason: Add info on home zfs array
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Old 23rd July 2008
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Hello, I understand there is no redundancy in RAID 0 so I do have regular backups of the volume; RAID 10 is very interesting, I read about it the latest edition of 'Absolute FreeBSD' and when I come to upgrade my hardware it is something I'll consider.
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