We want to setup an internal office server for testing jobs (LAMP), email and samba. Only about 5-10 users. We are also considering starting to virtualize, initially by a base Ubuntu Server with Xen or VMWare Open Source server. Our current system runs with a Linux Raid which has worked great but it's always been complicated to recover the boot sector when one the drives fail and therefore I would prefer using now a hardware raid instead, but ideally with some kind of software monitoring. For this reason and considering we don't want to spend a fortune a I would appreciate any comments on the following options.

  • Motherboard with RAID with linux support... which could you recommend.
  • Motherboard + Hardware Raid card...
  • Adaptec does not seem to have great Linux suppport.
  • 3Ware seems to have a tc soft controller which we've used on a hosting company, but hard to find here in Spain.
  • HP Proliant type basic server, which?
  • Dell Small Servers... any good for Linux?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

  • I absolutely do not trust onboard RAID controllers. They've consistently let me down. In fact I just had to hack my Intel onboard RAID to get it working again because it "forgot" one of the drives was part of the RAID. I only use onboard RAID for stripping drives for gaming, I never put important data on them. May 25, 2015 at 14:44

5 Answers 5


Usually, the onboard controllers are fakeraid devices, so if you're building a linux server, you'll be better off with software raid (mdX) instead.

afaik if you're planning on a hardware raid solution, you'll need a proper controller, like LSI (or variants - dell PERC/IBM ServeRaid/etc), or 3WARE - all of them are very rare onboard, and pretty expensive.


IBM servers have excellent Linux support. You don't need to spend a fortune on the lower end models but you'll still get good hardware.

The onboard RAID controllers (real hardware RAID!) are based off an LSI chipset.


I have an Areca ARC-1210-X8 which works fine with OpenSuSE 11.0, although I don't boot from the RAID.

The only thing I don't like about it is that it slows the boot sequence down, because it takes perhaps 20 seconds to become ready. It's only really a problem when upgrading hardware, as otherwise the machine is very rarely rebooted.

I haven't tried onboard RAID because some of the SATA ports on the original motherboard were inaccessible. I've upgraded to a Supermicro X7DWA-N which doesn't have this problem, but decided to keep the Areca anyway.

I didn't have to do any setup after the motherboard change - it just worked. So that is one advantage of a separate RAID controller card.

  • Another vote for Areca - their hardware is excellent, albeit pricey.
    – user15323
    Feb 6, 2010 at 18:01

After a while I've setup my server with a Gigabyte GA-790FXTA-UD5 most impresive looking motherboard (USB3 + 2xSATA3). A bit expensive, no onboard video and terrible Linux support which I founded hard to believe.

In any case I insisted on trying and I managed to get my HW raid via the 2 SATA3 white connectors and the limited BIOS raid interface. So far not managed to get any drivers for reporting the system but at least it all seems to be working.


One of the reasons to purchase a separate RAID card over using something built in is the fact that the card can migrate to a new motherboard in case the current one fails.

Having prefaced with that, a prepackaged server is a great way to go. The larger companies tend to stockpile parts for support contracts. Dell, HP and IBM all have great Linux support. All three companies also have international support facilities which would make repair easier. I enjoy the Proliant line from HP as they have a wealth of command line and graphical tools to manage their hardware.

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