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performance of AAC-RAID (ICP9087MA)

Hi *,

We are happily running our fileserver on AMD64 (from /proc/cpuinfo):

model name      : AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 246
cpu MHz         : 1995.066
cache size      : 1024 KB

we thought it might be a good idea to run one of those expensive,
over-engineered ICP controllers (on PCI-X):

02:03.0 RAID bus controller: Adaptec AAC-RAID (Rocket) (rev 02)
        Subsystem: Adaptec ICP ICP9087MA
        Flags: bus master, 66MHz, medium devsel, latency 64, IRQ 16
        Memory at ff200000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=2M]
        Memory at ff1ff000 (64-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=4K]
        Expansion ROM at ff1e0000 [disabled] [size=32K]
        Capabilities: [40] Power Management version 2
        Capabilities: [48] Message Signalled Interrupts: 64bit+
Queue=0/2 Enable-
        Capabilities: [58] PCI-X non-bridge device
        Capabilities: [60] Vital Product Data

...which gives us a nice 1.5TB RAID5 made up from 6 SATA disks (the
controller has 256MB on-board cache RAM).

clients connect with samba (win) and nfs (linux), both with 100Mbit and
1000Mbit NICs, the server itself is hooked up to a 1000Mbit switch, of

When we freshly installed the machine we did some bonnie++ and dd(1)
testing which showed good (but not overly impressive results) for raw
I/O performance. IIRC something about 60MB/s for sustained writes and
perhaps 80MB/s for reads.

Checking out a largish CVS module is no fun. The data is retrieved via
cvs pserver from the file server and written back via NFS into my home
directory. This process is sometimes pretty quick and sometimes blocks
in between as if the RAID controller has to think about the requests. I
know this phenomenon only from a megaraid controller, which we
eventuelly canned for a pure linux software raid (2 disks mirror). Also,
compiling in the nfs-mounted home directory is too slow - even on a
1000Mbit link.

The new fileserver therefor feels worse than the old one which served
the same purpose with FreeBSD/Symbios Logic SCSI RAID5/AMD K7.

I try to find someone with some experience with this kind of problem.
Perhaps the other 3 users of an ICP controller. I wonder if this is
related to the aacraid driver. Or perhaps it's because of the 64-bit
thing. Does anyone have any guesses?

Thanks for any hint,

PS: This is etch with stock kernel 2.6.15-1-amd64-generic #2

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