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I am installing a large storage system under Debian 6.0.

We bought a HightPont RocketRAID 2720, a very powerfull card claiming to be linux compatible, but when i installed they just provide a already compiled modules for obsolete distro (at least debian 5.0.5 was available), but i hate that i want to have my hardware drivers in the default kernel so i can upgrade without any special tricks.

I would like to know what is the most powerful SAS / SATA raid controller linux natively compatible on the market.

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Using a precompiled binary driver from your vendor is not always a Bad Thing -- in fact many of these drivers are optimized for the controller and give far better performance & access to special features of the controller. The minor headache when you change kernels is often worth it... –  voretaq7 Mar 24 '11 at 14:22
    
I agree for video card but a Storage system in production, if you have to upgrade your kernel it can be quickly problematic. –  Louis Mar 24 '11 at 14:24
    
I've recently switched to mdadm software raid to avoid this problem. mdadm probably doesn't do everything hardware RAID can, but it's probably good enough for 95% of people. And CPUs are so fast these days that I doubt you'll see a performance difference unless the machine is used for other computation intensive purposes. –  chrishiestand Mar 24 '11 at 18:53
    
I did it on one of my server but it is just painful to make a bootable disk, and my servers are tunning virtual machines. I want the Os on raid, the hd images are on a massive NAS with a perfect raid hardware setting. –  Louis Mar 26 '11 at 9:30
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2 Answers

A good reference for this is "Linux hardware compatibility list" => http://linuxhcl.com. Search for "RAID".
(This may not be an exhaustive list -- For a complete list I suggest browsing the Kernel source, and/or checking with your RAID controller vendor).

"Most powerful" is subjective. Google will be helpful here too (If reviews universally conclude that a product sucks, it probably does...)

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Hcl is nice but it is really made for laptop. There is 2 comments on a list of raid adaptec controller. So for the most powerdul i speak about latest technologies available (my bosse favorites references) so it is "6Gb/s SAS/SATA RAID". –  Louis Mar 24 '11 at 14:30
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I am not sure about most powerful, but the 3ware controllers (now owned by LSI) are very capable and are supported by linux out of the box. They also come with great software (3dm2) that runs on linux natively, including a web based configuration tool and monitoring.

http://www.lsi.com/products/storagecomponents/Pages/6GBSATA_SASRAIDCards.aspx

Their megaraid products may be a bit more problematic with Linux, but most likely work much better than your situation with the "RocketRAID". What kind of name is that anyways? :-)

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