[kwlug-disc] Hardware raid vs linux
bjonkman at sobac.com
Thu Aug 20 22:32:03 EDT 2009
john at netdirect.ca wrote, On 08/20/2009 8:31 PM:
>> The downside in choosing Linux over the cheap RAID card is that if
>> the primary disk fails the system may fail to boot from the secondary
>> disk? The BIOS on a cheap RAID card should do that work, but with
>> Linux there isn't a reliable option.
Yup yup yup. Some years ago I worked in a department which had just
purchased shiny new IBM servers. The server hardware was capable of
performing RAID, so they had purchased an extra drive for mirroring
(RAID 1?) The system ran their document management database, what today
would be called a CVS.
Eventually, one of the drives died. It turned out to be the main
drive, which, unbeknownst to us, had a hidden partition for booting.
Also, it turned out that RAID wasn't hardware RAID, but some kind of
software RAID that only mirrored the visible partition. Needless to
say, the server refused to boot from the mirrored drive without the
hidden partition. Fortunately, the firmware had an option to restore
the hidden partition on the second drive, but unfortunately, that nuked
the partition that contained the only remaining copy of the document
management database. I spent a very happy weekend with a nice gentleman
from IBM, whom I forced to stick around after he had replaced the bad
drive while I restored the database from tape.
The system was restored with the same configuration, and fortunately
didn't fail again while I was there. IBM discontinued that server model
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