Areca SATA RAID controllers

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Christoph Peu » Sat, 18 Jun 2005 20:49:54



Hello all,

what is your experience with the SATA RAID Controllers of Areca?

This test of tweakers.net tells me that it's by far the best performing
controller available, at least for fileservers:

http://www.veryComputer.com/
http://www.veryComputer.com/

But I feel a little bit worried about it beeing a somewhat *
solution. What's your opinion?

Thanks in advance!

Regards
Christoph

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Allan Win » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 01:46:35



Quote:> what is your experience with the SATA RAID Controllers of Areca?

I asked support for a copy of their manual to evaulate their products,
and they sent it to me the next day (great!).  Only the 12+ port model
support a SODIMM so you can add up to 2 GB of cache to the controller
(not real clear on their web site).  With write back and a battery
module that ought to fly, however it is not real clear to me how to
monitor battery health which would be crucial.

They have yet to respond to my request for performance numbers for raid
5 and 6 arrays in degraded mode that I sent them on the 14th.

The PCIe models are 8x which does not mesh well with current dual
Opteron motherboards (not Tekram's fault of course), and using less
than 8x had a big performance impact as reported in one fo the
storagereview.com forums.

/Allan

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by M?ns Rullg?r » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 02:39:59




>> what is your experience with the SATA RAID Controllers of Areca?

> I asked support for a copy of their manual to evaulate their products,
> and they sent it to me the next day (great!).  Only the 12+ port model
> support a SODIMM so you can add up to 2 GB of cache to the controller
> (not real clear on their web site).  With write back and a battery
> module that ought to fly, however it is not real clear to me how to
> monitor battery health which would be crucial.

The question we all should be asking: Linux drivers?  Open?  Closed?

--
M?ns Rullg?rd

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Michael Heimin » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 05:46:03



Quote:> Hello all,
> what is your experience with the SATA RAID Controllers of Areca?
> This test of tweakers.net tells me that it's by far the best performing
> controller available, at least for fileservers:
> http://www.veryComputer.com/
> http://www.veryComputer.com/
> But I feel a little bit worried about it beeing a somewhat *
> solution. What's your opinion?

The test was run under doze, so it doesn't tell anything, we
don't even know if the controller is supported at all?

Wouldn't trust those stats, IIRC saw various SATA performance
test were 3ware controller were far ahead of anything else, in
the above test they seem to be among the slowest. Makes you
wonder?

At least 3ware controller are 100% supported through GPL driver
which comes with a kernel.org tarball. There are linux CLI/GUI
tools to configure them under Linux from 3ware available.

--
Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)

#bofh excuse 398: Data for intranet got routed through the
extranet and landed on the internet.

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Allan Win » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 07:07:19



Quote:> The test was run under doze, so it doesn't tell anything, we
> don't even know if the controller is supported at all?

http://tekram.com/raidcrde.html:

"ARC SATA-II RAID adapters support broad operating systems include
Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Red Hat Linux (Open
Source), SuSE Linux (Open Source), and FreeBSD."

A quick grep through 2.6.11.11 source tree did not turn up anything, nor
did I find a way to download drivers.

Quote:> Wouldn't trust those stats, IIRC saw various SATA performance
> test were 3ware controller were far ahead of anything else, in
> the above test they seem to be among the slowest. Makes you
> wonder?

Links?

/Allan

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Michael Heimin » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 08:00:25




>> The test was run under doze, so it doesn't tell anything, we
>> don't even know if the controller is supported at all?
> http://tekram.com/raidcrde.html:
> "ARC SATA-II RAID adapters support broad operating systems include
> Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Red Hat Linux (Open
> Source), SuSE Linux (Open Source), and FreeBSD."
> A quick grep through 2.6.11.11 source tree did not turn up anything, nor
> did I find a way to download drivers.

Seems strange.

Quote:>> Wouldn't trust those stats, IIRC saw various SATA performance
>> test were 3ware controller were far ahead of anything else, in
>> the above test they seem to be among the slowest. Makes you
>> wonder?
> Links?

man google

--
Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)

#bofh excuse 210: We didn't pay the Internet bill and it's
been cut off.

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Allan Win » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 11:05:30





>>> Wouldn't trust those stats, IIRC saw various SATA performance
>>> test were 3ware controller were far ahead of anything else, in
>>> the above test they seem to be among the slowest. Makes you
>>> wonder?

>> Links?

> man google

"No manual entry for google".

Obviously the idea was here for you to provide the links to said reviews
to substantiate your claim that 3wave performed better.  Enumerating all
reviews via a search engine does not tell me which ones you were
referring to as more creditable than the one the original poster
referred us to.

The raid5 link provided previously was very interesting; software raid10
seems attractive either using md raid1 or wait for the lvm mirror code
to mature.  Both from a cost perspective on small arrays, and
reliability in general.

/Allan

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Michael Heimin » Sun, 19 Jun 2005 16:33:57






>>>> Wouldn't trust those stats, IIRC saw various SATA performance
>>>> test were 3ware controller were far ahead of anything else, in
>>>> the above test they seem to be among the slowest. Makes you
>>>> wonder?

>>> Links?

>> man google
> "No manual entry for google".

Genius.;)

This one shows 3ware performance ahead of anything else, you can
find numerous other benchmark showing the same:

http://www20.tomshardware.com/storage/20040831/sata-raid-controller-1...

Others can be found using google...

Quote:> Obviously the idea was here for you to provide the links to said reviews
> to substantiate your claim that 3wave performed better.  Enumerating all
> reviews via a search engine does not tell me which ones you were
> referring to as more creditable than the one the original poster
> referred us to.

Obviously, some time ago read those benchmarks, right when I was
about to get a SATA RAID controller for the box I'm typing on.

Bought a, you get it, 3ware controller and had zero problems with
it in >1 year. It's blazing fast and 3ware 100% supports Linux.

Quote:> The raid5 link provided previously was very interesting; software raid10
> seems attractive either using md raid1 or wait for the lvm mirror code
> to mature.  Both from a cost perspective on small arrays, and
> reliability in general.

Stripping over hardware RAID, local or even better SAN storage
delivers great performance. IIRC you need lvm2 (kernel 2.6) and
the right FS to allow online resizing.

--
Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)

#bofh excuse 413: Cow-tippers tipped a cow onto the server.

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by John-Paul Stewar » Mon, 20 Jun 2005 00:28:12



> This one shows 3ware performance ahead of anything else, you can
> find numerous other benchmark showing the same:

> http://www20.tomshardware.com/storage/20040831/sata-raid-controller-1...

OK, that one shows a 3ware card topping everything else tested (a
Raidcore and a Highpoint), doing around 500 IOPS with 4 WD Raptors.  The
link cited by the OP (http://www.tweakers.net/benchdb/test/102/wide/)
shows a 3ware card doing 671 IOPS with 4 WD Raptors.  Actually, for the
other two cards tested by tomshardware.com, their scores are also
slightly higher when tested by tweakers.net.

As to why 3ware isn't at the top of the tweakers.net chart, one
difference is that tweakers.net tested more cards, including the Areca
controllers under discussion and a couple of SCSI RAID cards (LSI
MegaRAID 320-2X and Adaptec 2230SLP, maybe others) that Tom's didn't.

But there are some oddities with the tweakers.net article.  An
interesting point is that tweakers.net tested only the Areca controller
with more than four disks.  It strikes me as very odd that the test
wasn't done for a 12-disk array on a 3ware controller.  It also strikes
me as odd that the 3ware tested by tweakers.net (the 8506) had no
on-board cache where the top-performing Areca had 1GB on-board.

I started writing this to point out that the tweakers.net review simply
tested more combinations than Tom's and that might account for why 3ware
wasn't at the top.  But now that I've noticed that the Areca had so much
cache when the 3ware didn't have any, and that the 3ware was only tested
with four disks, I no longer have much faith in the validity of the
tweakers.net review.

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Markku Kolkk » Mon, 20 Jun 2005 04:03:28





>>> what is your experience with the SATA RAID Controllers of Areca?

> The question we all should be asking: Linux drivers?  Open?  Closed?

There are Open Source drivers (GPL/BSD dual licence) at:
ftp://ftp.unnet.nl/pub/areca/RaidCards/AP_Drivers/Linux/DRIVER/Source...
The link was found through Areca's Taiwanese pages:
http://www.areca.com.tw/support/index/dc1120.htm

--
        Markku Kolkka

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Michael Heimin » Mon, 20 Jun 2005 06:47:49




>> This one shows 3ware performance ahead of anything else, you can
>> find numerous other benchmark showing the same:

>> http://www20.tomshardware.com/storage/20040831/sata-raid-controller-1...

[..]

Quote:> But there are some oddities with the tweakers.net article.  An
> interesting point is that tweakers.net tested only the Areca controller
> with more than four disks.  It strikes me as very odd that the test
> wasn't done for a 12-disk array on a 3ware controller.  It also strikes
> me as odd that the 3ware tested by tweakers.net (the 8506) had no
> on-board cache where the top-performing Areca had 1GB on-board.

Sounds strange, with files smaller then the cache, it usually
does speed up things tremendously. Switching of OS caching might
be needed or it doesn't tell much.

Quote:> I started writing this to point out that the tweakers.net review simply
> tested more combinations than Tom's and that might account for why 3ware
> wasn't at the top.  But now that I've noticed that the Areca had so much
> cache when the 3ware didn't have any, and that the 3ware was only tested
> with four disks, I no longer have much faith in the validity of the
> tweakers.net review.

I don't either. While shopping for a SATA controller some time
ago found 3ware in many benchmarks one of the top performer, this
is the first benchmark ever, 3ware is the slowest controller.
Anyway, don't really trust any benchmark I haven't faked myself,
but this just smells.;)

--
Michael Heiming (X-PGP-Sig > GPG-Key ID: EDD27B94)

#bofh excuse 448: vi needs to be upgraded to vii

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Christoph Peu » Tue, 21 Jun 2005 00:47:56



> A quick grep through 2.6.11.11 source tree did not turn up anything, nor
> did I find a way to download drivers.

Where did you search?
http://www.areca.com.tw -> Support & downloads
It's so easy.

The driver hasn't made it into the vanilla kernel yet. That's quite
normal for a new piece of hardware.

Christoph

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Christoph Peu » Tue, 21 Jun 2005 01:09:29



> Obviously, some time ago read those benchmarks, right when I was
> about to get a SATA RAID controller for the box I'm typing on.

> Bought a, you get it, 3ware controller and had zero problems with
> it in >1 year. It's blazing fast and 3ware 100% supports Linux.

There's no doubt that 3ware offers a solid controller - we are using
them for several Linux servers here - but I wonder if 3ware perhaps has
leaned back too much after they achieved this success in the linux
server market.
Areca is not a startup company. They have been offering SCSI to SATA and
Fibre to SATA Controllers for professional external RAID solutions
before and may have the skills to outperform 3ware and other competitors.

They offer the drivers source and precompiled modules for different
distributions, even for Debian and Mandrake. They even offer a lib and
headers for direct access to the controller. All this looks promising
for the linux world. But up to now I have no information regarding
performance under linux.

Christoph

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Christoph Peu » Tue, 21 Jun 2005 01:26:30



> But there are some oddities with the tweakers.net article.  An
> interesting point is that tweakers.net tested only the Areca controller
> with more than four disks.

You haven't scrolled down enough.  ;-)
There are several entries with less than 500 IOps.

Quote:> wasn't done for a 12-disk array on a 3ware controller.  It also strikes
> me as odd that the 3ware tested by tweakers.net (the 8506) had no
> on-board cache where the top-performing Areca had 1GB on-board.

The 8506 simply doesn't support on-board cache, so it couldn't be tested
with. The 9500-series comes with 128MB onboard, which is upgradable to
256MB. No chance to test this with 1GB cache.

So I cannot see "oddities" in the tweakers.net article.

What strikes me is that 3ware representatives have been telling for
years now that a big cache doesn't make sense with a well designed
(S)ATA RAID controller, but finally switched to a 128/256MB cache design
with the 9500 series. When I asked a 3ware salesman some time ago why
they changed their mind, he told me: "The cache still doesn't make
sense. We implemented it only to satisfy customers who were constantly
asking for it."  ;-)

Christoph

 
 
 

Areca SATA RAID controllers

Post by Allan Win » Tue, 21 Jun 2005 12:30:45




>> A quick grep through 2.6.11.11 source tree did not turn up anything, nor
>> did I find a way to download drivers.

> Where did you search?
> http://www.areca.com.tw -> Support & downloads
> It's so easy.

http://www.tekram.com

/Allan

 
 
 

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