Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (2348 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Software IDE RAID versus hardware IDE RAID
  • From: "Jason Bailey, Sun Advocate Webmaster" <webmaster@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2008 19:48:35 -0600
  • Message-id: <47F2E5F3.2000109@xxxxxxxxx>
John Bown wrote:
Hello everyone. I have an old server with an IDE RAID card in it on
which I'd like to install openSUSE 10.3. The problem is, support for
said RAID card (a Dell CERC ATA/100) has been discontinued for some time
now. With that I ask, how feasible and/or advisable would it be to
attempt the following?

1) Install openSUSE and configure it to use software RAID (two mirrored
IDE drives (master/slave) for system, two stripped IDE drives
(master/slave) for data)
2) Enable Encrypted File System (EFS)

Basically, I'm worried that an IDE based machine will be painfully slow
due to the high disk activity. Ideally I would use the machine's
existing SCSI U320 interface, but the required hard drives are just too

Since the machine has two 2.4GHz Xeon processors in it, couldn't I
designate one to do nothing but RAID and encryption, thereby leaving the
other processor free to do everything else, such as running virtual
machines? If so, can anyone point me in the direction of a good online

Thank you for your collective time.


Just use software raid it works great. I have 3 servers using it presently without any complaints. You won't notice any overhead on any modern processor with minimal ram. P-III 800 is fine. Advantages:

The partitions and format are recognizable under any linux system. Therefore, if you have a controller or other hardware problem, you are not stuck with disk in a proprietary format. Simply stick the disk in another box with another disk and rebuild the raid array regardless of hardware.

The 10.3 yast partitioner makes it simple to set up. Just partition each disk as you like (/ , /boot , /home are the default) and select dm-raid as the filesystem type (instead of ext3, etc.) for each partition and your done.

I've always felt software raid was too much of a tax on the system, not to mention less reliable (regardless of OS). I've always preferred hardware raid. We use Escalade SATA RAID cards (RAID level 1) in our SUSE servers because the RAID cards have onboard processors, so the OS doesn't need to know the RAID is even there (no need for RAID drivers). They work really, really well... and that saves on CPU cycles.

I'm pretty sure there are EIDE Escalade cards, but you'd have to look. I think AMCC bought out 3Ware (the manufacturer), if I recall correctly.

But your budget may not allow for such purchases. If you opt to do the software raid, the Yast partitioner should keep things fairly straight forward. I've never done it, so I can't tell you how it works.

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