building a RAID system

canon at canon at
Thu Oct 9 14:30:46 EDT 2003


We have around 50 3ware boxes with a total 
formated space of around 50 TB.  We run all of these in
HW raid mode.  I would avoid using software raid
if you plan to have more than a dozen or so clients.
Our experience is that while software raid works
great, it scales poorly.  This was very noticeable
when the server processors were PIII class.  It may
be less of an issue with newer processors, but I
would still recommend HW raid if the card supports
it.  Also, we like the 3ware cards because they have
been supported by linux for ages now.  Some of the
other cards have been a little dicey.

With our newest systems we've seen aggregate performance 
for a single server of around 70 MB/s and they appear to 
scale quite well (handle over 50 clients).  This last batch of
systems have 12 250 GB drives, a 12 port 3ware card,
dual Xeon, on-board gigE and cost less than $7k.

Also, the 3ware systems hot swap very well.  We make
use of it all the time.


Shane Canon                             voice: 510-486-6981
PSDF Project Lead                       fax:   510-486-7520
National Energy Research Scientific
  Computing Center
1 Cyclotron Road Mailstop 943-256
Berkeley, CA 94720                      canon at

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