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Hardware RAID

I've been looking through kernel readme files, and trying to find a hardware RAID solution that will run under Debian. It seems that all of the RAID hardware that is supported in the 2.2 kernel is either very very expensive, or impossible to find. The controllers that are affordable, aren't supported. I did briefly look at the 2.3 kernel, but there didn't seem to be any additional support.

We're planning to go with 5-7 U2W drives in a level 5 array, probably sticking with 7200 RPM. The 160Mb standard on 10,000 RPM drives would be very nice, but the price increases are staggering. We'll try to find the current pricing sweet spot and purchase drives at that capacity. We don't need the full redundant power, hot swappable setup - our concern is speed and reliability. If we have to take it down because of a hardware failure, we're OK with that. :)

Does anyone have any recommendations for a hardware RAID controller with a good combination of price and Linux support, and at least one supplier who carries it?

I know I can do software RAID, and this idea hasn't been completely discounted, but I'm very interested in the potential for just letting the hardware take care of it. The only case I know of with software RAID (level 1) was difficult to work with, as it was extremely slow to fsck/rebuild if there were any problems. Anyone have any other horror or success stories with either hardware or software RAID to share?

If we go the software route, would there be any issue with simply getting something like the Adaptec 2940U2W? Any other solid recommendations, and reasoning to support the choice?


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