Subject: Re: PCI Raid controllers
To: Mark Randelhoff <>
From: Chuck Swiger <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 07/14/2004 13:34:56
Mark Randelhoff wrote:
> Please would someone recommend a fairly recently released PCI SATA 
> (hardware) raid controller.  I am looking for a controller that will
> support up to 8 drives.

What are your priorities for this RAID setup?  Choose one or two out of 
"performance", "reliability", and "cost".

> I have tried the 3ware Escalade 9000 series and found that NetBSD does 
> not support it. The local vendor no longer supplies the 8000 series 
> controllers as they appear to be end of line. (I tried adding the pci 
> ids for the 9000 but still would not work). There is a FreeBSD driver 
> for the card and I have looked at porting it - but frankly - I am out of 
> my depth here. Is anyone planning to integrate a driver for this card in 
> the future ??

One of the FreeBSD committers is a 3ware engineer, so the twe driver receives 
lots of love and attention.  If you were running FreeBSD, the 3ware 
controllers would be a good way to go.  The Highpoint and Promise controllers 
are also reasonable choices for software-based RAID-1 and -0, but they don't 
have the hardware checksum support for RAID-5 that the 3ware line does.

Avoid the Silicon Image brand.

Also, someone else's comments with regard to PCI bus limitations are worth 
considering.  8 drives is more than most RAID controllers can handle without 
bottlenecking, unless you switch to 64-bit PCI or PCI-X.  You might want to 
consider dedicated RAID platforms instead of a custom-built NetBSD solution: 
something like Apple's Xserve RAID box does up to 14 SATA drives, and uses 
fibre channel as the transport, which puts you much closer to a SAN or NAS