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Can the PERC 6i pass disks directly to the OS? (...and ZFS vs hardware RAID?)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
This question seems to be asked a lot and I've done a little bit of homework but I'm still a bit unsure.

It looks like if I want to pass disks on the PERC 6i to the OS that I need to create single-disk RAID-0 "arrays" or one large JBOD array.

Is this true?

I'm not interested in a large JBOD array so I think my only option is single-disk RAID-0 arrays. Can these drives be pulled off the controller and used in another machine? ...or does the PERC have a "wrapper" or something on the drive so it can only be accessed on PERC controllers?

Also, will the SMART status be available to the OS?

Basically, I'm thinking about using ZFS and wondering if I can use the PERC 6i controller. (Any thoughts on ZFS versus the onboard RAID-6 would be appreciated as well!)
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post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
It looks like if I want to pass disks on the PERC 6i to the OS that I need to create single-disk RAID-0 "arrays" or one large JBOD array.
A disk is a disk.... The OS will see whatever you want it to see. Be it individual disk, RAID, or JBOD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
I'm not interested in a large JBOD array so I think my only option is single-disk RAID-0 arrays. Can these drives be pulled off the controller and used in another machine? ...or does the PERC have a "wrapper" or something on the drive so it can only be accessed on PERC controllers?
Once in an array, any data on the drives are tied to the controller and array. You can move an individual disk to another machine but the data will not be usable. RAID distributes data so not moving enough drives would make the files fragmented. A different controller will probably not be able to understand the previous controller's RAID metadata. One advantage of a hardware controller is that you can move all the drives + controller to another machine though. However, if the array contains an OS, it may not be bootable if the new motherboard has a different chipset.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
Also, will the SMART status be available to the OS?
Detailed SMART of individual disk is not avaliable while in an array. I believe the LSI RAID app does inform you of the health of each drive though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
Basically, I'm thinking about using ZFS and wondering if I can use the PERC 6i controller. (Any thoughts on ZFS versus the onboard RAID-6 would be appreciated as well!)
What is your usage for the storage?
Edited by DuckieHo - 6/15/10 at 9:57am
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post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
(Any thoughts on ZFS versus the onboard RAID-6 would be appreciated as well!)
Uhhh.... You're going to hve to clarify this... do you mean using ZFS with the PERC6 vs the Onboard Controller?

Otherwise, you're asking for a comparison between a file system / volume manager and a hardware technology... which is like comparing Apples and Oranges.

The PERC6i is based off of the LSI 1078 chip. I just did a quick search, and you may have to do this to get OpenSolaris running on the PERC6i... but no guarantees though.
Edited by ComGuards - 6/15/10 at 2:00pm
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post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ComGuards View Post
Uhhh.... You're going to hve to clarify this... do you mean using ZFS with the PERC6 vs the Onboard Controller?.
Sorry for the confusion...

I'm talking about using the RAID controller on the PERC card to perform the parity calculations versus using the PERC card simply as a pass-through SATA controller and having ZFS (ie. my CPU) perform the parity calculations.

I'm getting increasing worried about what will happen if the PERC card dies...

However, I just read that ZFS RAIDZ and RAIDZ2 can't be dynamically expanded so I don't know if that's the best option for me to look into. Maybe Linux LVM + MD?
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post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
Sorry for the confusion...

I'm talking about using the RAID controller on the PERC card to perform the parity calculations versus using the PERC card simply as a pass-through SATA controller and having ZFS (ie. my CPU) perform the parity calculations.

I'm getting increasing worried about what will happen if the PERC card dies...

However, I just read that ZFS RAIDZ and RAIDZ2 can't be dynamically expanded so I don't know if that's the best option for me to look into. Maybe Linux LVM + MD?
If the PERC dies; get a new one

If you provide sufficient cooling to the thing, and perform standard maintenance on the system, it should run without a problem. Thinking about all these "what if" scenarios is just going to drive you nuts.
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post #6 of 11
if you don't want to use the PERC as a RAID card, why buy a RAID card?

If you want to do software RAID, buy an HBA that will pass the drives directly to your OS, such as a Supermicro AOC-aSASLP-MV8.

If you want hardware RAID, use the PERC.

Simple.

My solution regarding a PERC failure - I have 2 (actually I have 3, but who's counting... )
post #7 of 11
@OP

As far as I know, at least on the PERC 5/i, you have to create individual single disk RAID 0s in order to expose them. I can only assume the PERC 6/i does the same.

Cards like the Arecas can pass them through by default; simply don't bother creating an array, and the OS will see all of the drives, as opposed to a single block device.

As for using a dumb HBA, this is probably the more attractive option, certainly if you're using ZFS, however I fully understand the attraction of a PERC since they can be had for much less than a new HBA such as the SuperMicro AOC-SASLP-MV8.

However, be aware that the AOC-SASLP-MV8 has issues running under Linux, so you may wish to steer clear for now, until the bugs are ironed out. ATTO also do a dumb HBA; it may be worth a look. Pricey though.
Edited by parityboy - 6/20/10 at 4:56am
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post #8 of 11
That ATTO card looks way overpriced - it's a couple of hundred $$s more than the ARC-1300ix-16 which supports 24 drives out of the box.

I've not seen reports of any Linux problems with recent drivers for the Supermicro cards - do you have any more info about this?
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_beast View Post
That ATTO card looks way overpriced - it's a couple of hundred $$s more than the ARC-1300ix-16 which supports 24 drives out of the box.

I've not seen reports of any Linux problems with recent drivers for the Supermicro cards - do you have any more info about this?
If you look here you'll see what I mean. It seems the drivers have issues when the cards are put under load.
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post #10 of 11
I just bought a Dell Poweredge 2950 off ebay and after reading these posts I had an idea . I have 6 1TB drives. So I will create 3 Raid 1 mirrors and present three drives to the Nexentastor CE. Conversely I can take the previous advice and present 6 individual raid 0 drives I think works also. A:ony comments? smile.gif
Edited by BigNAsir - 5/14/13 at 4:12pm
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