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I am looking using the on-board RAID controller of my SUPERMICRO MBD-X7SBE to setup a RAID-1 array with two Seagate ES2 hard disk drives. We have around 8 or so of these in production. I am going to use this for heavy Asterisk use with all calls recorded. We buffer to a RAM drive/tmpfs. I've read some posts regarding built-in raid being not worth the trouble, but since this is a good entry level server mainboard it might not apply to this? I am just concerned about redundancy and having production unaffected if one drive dies.

Here are the specifications of the server:

  1. Intel® Xeon® 3000 Sequence and Core™ 2 Quad / Duo Series in LGA775 Package (FSB 1333/1066/800 MHz)
  2. Intel® 3210 ICH9R + PXH + Intel® 82573V + Intel® 82573L Chipset
  3. Up to 8GB unbuffered ECC / non-ECC DDR2 800/667 SDRAM
  4. Intel® 82573V + Intel® 82573L PCI-E Gigabit Controllers
  5. Serial ATA
    • Intel® ICH9R SATA2 (3 Gbps) controller built-in
    • RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 support (Windows Only)
    • RAID 0, 1, 10 support (Linux)

Shall I go ahead with the onboard RAID-1 or go with Linux software RAID? If Hardware RAID - what's a good cheap SATA card?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you're talking about RAID built into the motherboard, avoid it. It's often called "FakeRAID" and there are horror stories about it "losing" configuration information and hosing volumes. Motherboard RAID is little more than a cheap implementation of sub-par software RAID. This topic keeps coming up...check this link.

You'd be better off with Linux Software RAID, and if you want real RAID you're going to pay at few hundred for it (it will have onboard battery backup and should have a way of telling you WHICH drive is erroring out, as opposed to guessing and accidentally hosing your volume because you performed replacement or repair on a good drive). I have had good luck with 3Ware cards under Linux.

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The performance of the Intel RAID is roughly on par with software RAID, so my vote would be go for the software RAID as it will be easier to manage and you can more easily take the disk to another workstation in the event of a controller failure.

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+1, just use software RAID. if you're really worried about it, get a proper hardware RAID controller (ICH is not proper hardware RAID) –  James Mar 3 '10 at 15:44

The ICH controller isn't the best to be honest, I'd be tempted to go for a cheapo Adaptec (CLICKY for link) or use Linux SW RAID myself - I trust the last two more.

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