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How does one tweak a RAID5 for better performance?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
So, I got 3 WD20EARS 2TB drives on the cheap, slapped them into an Ubuntu Server box, ran mdadm, formatted in EXT4, and set up shares with Samba. Write speeds are mildly terrible, peaking at like 23MB/s, but reads are quite good.

Is there anything I can tweak to help the write speeds? Stripe options and whatnot? Or did I just happen to buy HDDs with horrid write speeds?
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post #2 of 9
are you using a dedicated RAID card or just the onboard controller?
If you are using the onboard controller RAID-5 is slow as the CPU has to work out the parity bit for each write
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitemarks and bloodstains;13760082 
are you using a dedicated RAID card or just the onboard controller?
If you are using the onboard controller RAID-5 is slow as the CPU has to work out the parity bit for each write

If by 'just the onboard controller', you mean software RAID-5 set up via mdadm, then yep. I didn't think I'd be running into a CPU bottleneck with this, but it's certainly possible seeing as the CPU's only an Athlon 64 4000+.
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Autistic Savant
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post #4 of 9
Calculating parity bits is very CPU intensive, dedicated RAID cards have CPUs on them to calculate the PB. I get max out my gigabit connection when transfering files to my file server so I'm getting over 125MB/s writes speeds on a Dell PERC 6/i 4 disc array
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitemarks and bloodstains;13760235 
Calculating parity bits is very CPU intensive, dedicated RAID cards have CPUs on them to calculate the PB. I get max out my gigabit connection when transfering files to my file server so I'm getting over 125MB/s writes speeds on a Dell PERC 6/i 4 disc array

Heh, didn't want to deal with hardware RAID with the Southbridge on the server's mobo. Plus, software RAID lets me mess around with the hardware as I feel like it. Good RAID cards cost an arm and a leg, too.

Looking at the top output on the server, the CPU doesn't seem to be being used past 2%, though.
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Autistic Savant
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post #6 of 9
The southbridge doesnt provide true hardware based RAID as it is still using the CPU. You are correct about the price on RAID cards but you can sometimes get good deals on ebay.
Have you tried a different stripe size (not sure if that is possibe with software RAID, only used hardware), also what size/type files are you writing, lots of smaller files tend to be better with a smaller stripe, media files such as music and vids are WORM (Write Once Read Many) and write faster with a larger stripe
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bitemarks and bloodstains;13760572 
Have you tried a different stripe size (not sure if that is possibe with software RAID, only used hardware), also what size/type files are you writing, lots of smaller files tend to be better with a smaller stripe, media files such as music and vids are WORM (Write Once Read Many) and write faster with a larger stripe

Haven't toyed with the stripe size yet, but mdadm lets me. I'm writing both, but at the moment, very large video files. What kind of stripe settings should I use for this sort of transfer?
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post #8 of 9
depends on the hardware... specs?
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post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiNERROR;13762536 
depends on the hardware... specs?

What, the whole server?

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 4000+
RAM: 1GB (actually 4x512MB, but the board won't see all of it) DDR 400
HDDs:
Boot - 160GB Seagate
RAID - 3x2TB WD Green WD20EARS

I've got a spare P35 board I can pop a P4 630 into for the server. Would that help performance at all? Would be able to actually use 2GB of DDR2.
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Autistic Savant
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