[Ardour-Users] SATA RAID - hardware or software?

Justin M. Streiner streiner at cluebyfour.org
Thu Feb 19 18:50:20 PST 2009

I mentioned a few months ago that I planned to build a new machine for 
Ardour and friends, and now I'm getting to the point of building a 
definitive list of pieces and parts to buy.  The plan is to support 
recording up to 24 simultaneous 16 or 24-bit tracks at 48 or 96 khz early 
on, and grow that in the future as needs (and funding!) warrant.

At this point I plan to stick with Gentoo as it's the most familiar distro 
to me, but I will use the pro-audio overlay this time around.  I may 
tinker with other distros once the pieces are bolted together, so the 
distro decision might not be set in stone.  I'll also have to make a 
decision on whether or not to go 64-bit as well...

That said, I plan to build the system with two separate RAID sets - a 
RAID 1 set for the system, and a RAID 10 set for Ardour sessions.  I 
suspect that I can run the system RAID 1 set using the software RAID 
drivers in Linux, but what I don't know is if that driver would impose a 
significant enough performance penalty for the audio RAID 10 set to make a 
hardware SATA RAID controller a necessity.  Has anyone on the list had any 
experience with this?

Finding a 'real' (the kernel doesn't have to do neat things with the 
on-card BIOS calls or talk through a proprietary shim driver of some 
sort) hardware RAID controller that is properly supported in recent 2.6 
kernels has been a bit of an exercise.  The 3ware 9690SA-4I looks like a 

Google has provides lots of resources, but many of them end up being 
contradictory or out of date.  http://ata.wiki.kernel.org/  has been a 
good resource for determining what's supported in Linux.


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