[Beowulf] Surviving a double disk failure

Billy Crook billycrook at gmail.com
Fri Apr 10 14:05:29 EDT 2009

On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 12:27, Joe Landman
<landman at scalableinformatics.com> wrote:>
> We have 1 customer using 24 drives (22 for data with 2 hot spares) as an md
> raid6 on DeltaV.  Normally we'd suggest something smaller (collections of
> RAID6 and then striping across them to form RAID60's).
> With late model kernels, mdadm, and using 1.2 metadata on the md's, you
> should be able to build fairly sizeable stripe width devices.  I've heard
> limits of 255, but never tested this far out.

Citing a 2004 paper by H. Peter Anvin entitled 'The mathematics of
RAID-6', Raid-6 (as implemented in the Linux kernel) can support a
maximum of 257 drives.  (255 drives worth of data, and 2 drives worth
of parity, distributed evenly of course).  It's a limitation of the
Galois Field algebra upon with raid6 is based in Linux.

Source: http://www.eece.maine.edu/~zhu/ece598/papers/raid/The%20mathematics%20of%20RAID-6.pdf

To determine how many disks you want in a raid array, do some research
on that model's MTBF and sustained throughput; and make sure the
probability of an unrecoverable error happening on any one of the
drives during rebuild is low enough for your comfort.  As a very,
very, general rule, you might put no more than 8TB in a raid5, and no
more than 16TB in a raid6, including what's used for parity, and
assuming magnetic, enterprise/raid drives.  YMMV, Test all new drives,
keep good backups, etc...

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