I am ordering a custom server and looking at either an Adaptec 1405 SAS controller, or an HP SmartArray P212 to use for the internal SAS Ultrium drive (HP Ultrium LTO-4 1760).

The server will be running RH/CentOS 5.5 and will just be for backing up data to tape.

I want to make sure the card I get is properly supported in the stock RH/CentOS 5.5 kernel, without the need to mess with vendor-provided drivers every time I do a kernel upgrade in the future.

Is the Adaptec 1405 supported in the stock kernel? How about the P212?

I have received the Adaptec 1405 and installed the CentOS 5.5 server with it, only to find out that this card is NOT supported in the stock RedHat 5 / CentOS 5 kernel. There are rpms on Adaptec's site, but they are not up-to-date (CentOS 5.5 u4 is the latest). I could build the driver from source, but to have to go through that every time we do a kernel update is a real pain.

I believe kernel version 2.6.32 or later has the needed drivers, but I have a couple of questions:

  • Can anyone point me to a good, trusted yum repository that has later kernel versions for CentOS 5 (it needs to be a repository that is staying on top of security patches)?
  • Any problems with running a later kernel on CentOS 5.5?
  • The Smart Array P212 is supported by default in RHEL5 with the cciss module. I would recommend a basic SAS controller, though. My preference is the LSI line, however. – ewwhite May 24 '11 at 2:17

Both are supported controllers. If the server hardware is HP, I'd go with that as the server's warranty would extend to any Smart Array cards in it. Otherwise, I'd lean toward the Adaptec card as it'll likely be cheaper. As Ewwhite points out, LSI is also a good alternative, though I personally prefer Adaptec.

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  • Thanks. Regarding Adaptec, this note from their driver's page for the 1405 was what made me post the question: "Only drivers that are not included or embedded within a supported operating system are listed below. ", and RH4 & RH5 are listed below (adaptec.com/en-us/support/sas/sas/asc-1405), making it look like the driver may not be in the stock kernel... – Lars May 24 '11 at 3:31
  • Adaptec's driver may not be in the Kernel, but the specs for their controllers have been publicly available for a long time, so most open source OSes support them natively. It is possible the native driver doesn't have the device ID for the new card yet, and it wouldn't show up. I don't have RH's HCL bookmarked, but it should be on the list. – Chris S May 24 '11 at 14:29

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