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

Ross Johnson Ross.Johnson at homemail.com.au
Fri Feb 20 04:51:16 PST 2009

I've only directly experienced Dell Perc SAS RAID controllers under 
Redhat Linux at work for databases etc. and I'm not sure if they're 
supported well in non-Dell systems. We have no trouble with those. Have 
you looked into SAS RAID controllers. My point is that SAS is faster 
than SATA and hardware RAID has to be better than software RAID if only 
because of the CPU cycles it offloads. You can still use LVM on top of 
your hardware RAID if you want flexible logical volumes.

I had a quick look around and see there are several that claim 
substantial Linux support.

For example, one of them (Highpoint Technologies for RocketRAID 4320 SAS 
RAID Controller//) claims: "HighPoint is committed to providing 
resources that make it easy to develop Linux solutions using our RAID 
controllers. Our RAID drivers are embedded in Linux kernel 2.6.x and 
greater, and we work aggressively to ensure that they are included in 
each successive kernel distribution. The HighPoint device driver 
integrated into the Linux kernel is open source. The driver sources can 
be downloaded from the HighPoint web site and compiled for 
custom-designed Linux environments."

Justin M. Streiner wrote:
> 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 possibility.
> 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.
> jms
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