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Re: RAID card recommendation

From: Greg Smith <greg(at)2ndquadrant(dot)com>
To: Matthew Wakeling <matthew(at)flymine(dot)org>
Cc: pgsql-performance(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: Re: RAID card recommendation
Date: 2009-11-25 02:29:55
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Lists: pgsql-performance
Matthew Wakeling wrote:
> People have mentioned Areca as making good RAID controllers. We're 
> looking at the "Areca ARC-1220 PCI-Express x8 SATA II" as a 
> possibility. Does anyone have an opinion on whether it is a turkey or 
> a star?
Performance should be OK but not great compared with some of the newer 
alternatives (this design is a few years old now).  The main issue I've 
had with this series of cards is that the command-line tools are very 
hit or miss.  See 
for a long commentary about the things I was disappointed by on the 
similar ARC-1210 once I actually ran into a drive failure on one.  As 
Scott points out there, they have other cards with a built-in management 
NIC that allows an alternate management path, and I believe those have 
better performance too.

> Another possibility is a 3-ware card of some description.
I've put a fair number of 9690SA cards in systems with little to 
complain about.  Performance was reasonable as long as you make sure to 
tweak the read-ahead:  
Ignore most of the rest of their advice on that page though--for 
example, increasing vm.dirty_background_ratio and vm.dirty_ratio is an 
awful idea for PostgreSQL use, where if anything you want to decrease 
the defaults.

Also, while they claim you can connect SAS drives to these cards, they 
don't support sending SMART commands to them and support seemed pretty 
limited overall for them.  Stick with plain on SATA ones.

Greg Smith    2ndQuadrant   Baltimore, MD
PostgreSQL Training, Services and Support

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