[Beowulf] RAID storage: Vendor vs. parts

Steve Cousins cousins at limpet.umeoce.maine.edu
Wed Feb 23 07:36:19 PST 2005

On Tue, 22 Feb 2005, Maurice Hilarius wrote:

> I am not sure what you are asking here?
> If you had the experience to build this yourself with confidence, then it is not a question.
> And if you do not, then why the uncertainty? You will NEED the support.

My question was simply:

  Does anyone have experience with any or all of these?  Is it worth the
  extra money to have a "burned-in" device supported by some company?  

where "these" refered to Storcase, Infortrend, and Jetstor 16 Bay
SATA-SCSI RAID units.  I've heard good things about Infortrend and Jetstor
but nothing about the Storcase unit so I primarily was interested in
hearing if anyone had used these and what their impression was vs. what
I'd heard about the others.  Based partly on this, I will make a decision
on what to buy.
> Or am I missing a vital part of your question?
> BTW, those prices are WAY too high.  Further, there is a very strong
> case now for a purely software RAID. Still use the RAID controllers as
> disk interface controllers, such as LSI or AMCC (Was 3Ware). But use a
> commodity dual CPU motherboard as the "RAID controller" under mdadm.
> LOTS of people are doing that very successfully, and it is both
> economical and generally higher performance than pure RAID controllers
> under RAID5 or 6.

I agree that you can do it cheaper this way however it does have its
drawbacks.  I set up a 2 TB system a year ago using a 3Ware 8506-12 card
and 10 250 GB drives.  It took months to get it to be rock-solid due to a
combination of problems between the 3Ware driver, the 2.6 kernel using
Opterons, and failing Maxtor hard drives as they worked their way to the
bottom of the Bathtub curve. When a drive would fail or show signs of
failing the driver would OOPS the system.  We're now trying to get away
from this mode of storage and transition to more of a SAN system (we may
get FC versions of these boxes instead of SCSI) which will give better
performance to all nodes as well as (hopefully) have less management
overhead (my time).
In any case, back to the main question:  I haven't heard of anyone with
experience with the Storcase systems.  Has anyone considered them and
decided to pay more for a name brand?  If so, can you tell me why?



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