If I have 2 drives in a RAID 1, and the Raid Controller fails, does that mean the websites on the server will have downtime until the controller is replaced? Or does everything still carry on as software raid automatically until the faulty raid card is replaced?
Or does everything still carry on as software raid automatically until the faulty raid card is replaced?
How would that work? Would the software magically bypass the hardware raid, which acts as disk controller? Not only does the OS not see the disks, they are actually physically attached to the hardware raid controller. If the controller fails, then your connection to the disks fail.
So no, you go down. Which is why small setups gain a lot from cloud offerings and large setups have multiple servers.
the Raid Controller fails
I'm an electronics engineer, so my mental picture of the word "fail" may vary from a software engineers'... I mean, how often do you guys put on safety glasses for debugging?
If your RAID controller board has any kind of hardware failure which involves shorted MOSFETs, tantalum capacitors bursting into fireballs, power supply mishaps and the like, many things can happen, like your server's power supply shutting down because it detects a short. In this case everything goes down.
If the main chip on your RAID card goes dead suddenly, what happens next depends a lot on how the OS and drivers handle sudden unexpected death of a peripheral. For example, I had a PC with a dead harddisk. The PC froze for a while as the OS waited for the harddisk to respond.
People who write OS and drivers usually do this on working hardware. So the code which handles "extension card CPU just caught fire" has never been debugged. Can't blame'em. Fact of life.
There was this time when I designed a USB peripheral. I quickly found out that I had to debug that thing with a junk laptop, because if my USB peripheral misbehaved a little bit too much, the OS would just go OMFG and crash and/or reboot.
Bottom line, a card inside a PC which gets a hardware failure can have any kind of consquences, from nothing at all to kernel panic or full shutdown. So there is no way to answer your question. A RAID card failure is similar to a motherboard failure. The only thing that matters is to get your data back.
You either setup software raid or hardware. Software can't magically pickup since the software see's two disks in a raid 1 as a single disk. It has no idea of the physical disks behind the card. It only knows what the raid card presents to the OS.
So to answer your question if the raid card fails then ya the server is going down with it. Its very rare for a raid card to fail though.
If you really require that level of availability then I suggest you look into a Stratus technologies ftServer, 99.999% uptime. You can use most any OS and you don't have to change a thing in your application.
I worked on internal storage there almost 10 years ago. We can surprise remove any device (literally assert pci reset whenever) , detect the fault and failover to the secondary with zero interruption of service. It achieves this by using lockstep technology.
However, it is expensive, but not outrageous; 3-4x the cost of a equivalent server. The people who usually buy these measure their downtime in tens of thousands of dollars per second or life is at stake.