Support for Intel Gilgal + Areca?

Steffen Grunewald steffen.grunewald at
Fri Aug 25 11:27:57 CEST 2006

On Thu, Aug 24, 2006 at 08:21:58AM -0400, Andrew Janke wrote:
> Interesting, I am most interested in Stephan's experience with these
> cards if only because I/we are very happy users of them. I used to be
> a 3Ware Zealot and to the contrary I have found the Areca Driver
> developer far more active than many other raid card manufacturers.

I've been running a developer machine (Dual Dual Opteron) based on
a four-port Areca card, all the filesystem is on RAID-5.
No problems so far.

Driver used is 1.20.0X.12, patched into kernel 2.6.12.

> I typically use the BIOS version to set a password and the IP address
> of the card and then use the Web interface from then on.  I don't even
> bother to compile the C/L front end as they can be managed via SNMP.
> Perhaps this is where our respective views have come from..  Myself I
> have found the web based front end (and email notifications) most
> useful.

I didn't worry about SNMP yet... but I'd do if there were mission-
critical stuff on it. For now, it's scratch only...

> I typically set up each machine with 2x 2TB RAID6 arrays with 2 global
> hot spares (thus 2 unused bays at this stage). This is so that I don't
> have to fiddle to much and the usual fdisk commands work.

With only 4 disks in a 1U box, RAID6 is a bit of overkill...

> I use the precompiled kernels from here:

I did, but I had to add other stuff (sensor chip) so I went for the
(by then) last driver version...
Waiting for some decent (Debian) kernel >2.6.16 now, to make better
use of EDAC...

> I am also _VERY_ cautious about installing these machines with FAI
> with the areca driver built in. My biggest fear is that when
> re-installing one of these machines, the root disk dies or fails to
> come up due to module problems, the partition_disks part would then
> hapilly find the next available disk and merrily start partitioning
> it....... Eeee-yow!

That's why there is a sysinfo functionality which allows you to check
whether everything is in place - *and* it may be a good idea to 
do the partitioning by hand (or in a separate step at least) and let
FAI use the existing partitions (that's the safest way if you have to
make sure some data have to be preserved: a new version of FAI/fdisk/
whatever might have a different idea of your disk geometry and crush
your partition table...)

> For this reason I "install" the Areca kernel to ~root as a deb and
> then on first boot install the thing as a first-boot hook.  Call me
> paranoid.

I call you reasonable. This hugely depends on what you're responsible 
for... if that's a pool of x00 nodes, paranoia is a good starting


Steffen Grunewald * MPI Grav.Phys.(AEI) * Am Mühlenberg 1, D-14476 Potsdam
Cluster Admin * *
* e-mail: steffen.grunewald(*) * +49-331-567-{fon:7233,fax:7298}
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