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Linux ATA RAID HOWTO

The Linux ATA RAID HOWTO explains how to set up RAID 1 (disk mirroring) and then install Red Hat Linux on the mirror device. Promise Technology was one of the first companies to come up with quasi-hardware RAID for inexpensive IDE hard disks. This document covers using the Promise proprietary RAID driver as well as the Linux native ATA RAID.

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  •  08 Sep 2002 23:44

    Release Notes: This release is updated to cover installation of Red Hat 7.3. The kernel configuration section has been updated. An appendix has been added at the end. This explains how to use this HOWTO to install Red Hat 7.3 on computers with HighPoint HPT RAID instead of Promise FastTrak RAID.

    •  15 May 2002 07:05

      Release Notes: The document has had major enhancements made and now includes sections covering kernel upgrades, disabling RAID, and setting up ATA RAID mirrors on an existing Linux machine. The concept of the "append line" has been introduced to help troubleshooting if there were problems recognizing disks at boot time. A link to the French Translation was added.

      •  27 Apr 2002 10:03

        No changes have been submitted for this release.

        Recent comments

        17 Jan 2003 13:47 murty

        Re: Quasi-hardware raid?
        SORRY FOR THE TYPO. This is the corrected sentence:

        In the case of MD, the boot partition ( /boot or /) must be either simple non-raid partition or mirror partition but not RAID 0, RAID 5, etc.

        > Correct. There is really no hardware
        > support other than boot-time help from
        > the BIOS on the Promise RAID card (or
        > on-board chip). This is because the card
        > is actually an IDE port extension card
        > with a special BIOS...not really a RAID
        > controller card.
        >
        > ataraid is new but stable, md raid is
        > not new and proven to be reliable. MD
        > raid has features such as automatic
        > repair (syncing), hot spare partition
        > and ability to function if one of the
        > disks participating in mirror damages.
        > ATARAID currently does not have these
        > features.
        >
        > On the other hand, ataraid is friendly
        > and seemless with other operating
        > systems. Can co-exist with Windows etc.
        > Also, gives you the ability to share
        > files between operating systems. And
        > because ataraid gets help from BIOS, you
        > can have any type of raid unlike MD. In
        > the case of MD, the boot partition (
        > /boot or /) must be either simple
        > non-raid partition or mirror partition
        > but not RAID 1, RAID 5, etc.
        >
        > As ataraid development progresses,
        > hopefully in future benefits of both
        > types of raid will be merged and offered
        > to linux users. If you dont want MD raid
        > features i.e. want something that
        > behaves like hardware raid but you cant
        > afford a hardware raid card, you should
        > use ataraid.
        >

        17 Jan 2003 13:44 murty

        Re: Quasi-hardware raid?
        Correct. There is really no hardware support other than boot-time help from the BIOS on the Promise RAID card (or on-board chip). This is because the card is actually an IDE port extension card with a special BIOS...not really a RAID controller card.

        ataraid is new but stable, md raid is not new and proven to be reliable. MD raid has features such as automatic repair (syncing), hot spare partition and ability to function if one of the disks participating in mirror damages. ATARAID currently does not have these features.

        On the other hand, ataraid is friendly and seemless with other operating systems. Can co-exist with Windows etc. Also, gives you the ability to share files between operating systems. And because ataraid gets help from BIOS, you can have any type of raid unlike MD. In the case of MD, the boot partition ( /boot or /) must be either simple non-raid partition or mirror partition but not RAID 1, RAID 5, etc.

        As ataraid development progresses, hopefully in future benefits of both types of raid will be merged and offered to linux users. If you dont want MD raid features i.e. want something that behaves like hardware raid but you cant afford a hardware raid card, you should use ataraid.

        > Hi,
        >
        > thank You for Your answer. Things are
        > quite clear now ;)
        >
        > As I am curious, there are two more
        > questions:
        >
        > Is there really no hardware support for
        > reading, writing
        > and repairing the RAID in pseudo
        > hardware controllers?
        >
        > What are the missing functions of
        > ATARAID compaired to
        > MD raid? (The latter is just software
        > raid, right?)
        >
        > Greetings,
        >
        > Hans
        > P.S.:
        > With this background information, is
        > there any reason to use
        > ataraid instead of md raid?


        13 Jan 2003 23:49 hansU

        Re: Quasi-hardware raid?

        > Hi
        > Yes, the real RAID is done in drivers.
        > Therefore its Software RAID. However,
        > ATARAID is different in the following
        > two ways compared to MD Software RAID.
        > Otherwise, both are same.
        >
        > 1. ATARAID takes help from BIOS to read
        > disk info and boot
        > 2. ATARAID drivers do not have all the
        > features of MD RAID


        Hi,

        thank You for Your answer. Things are quite clear now ;)

        As I am curious, there are two more questions:

        Is there really no hardware support for reading, writing
        and repairing the RAID in pseudo hardware controllers?

        What are the missing functions of ATARAID compaired to
        MD raid? (The latter is just software raid, right?)

        Greetings,

        Hans
        P.S.:
        With this background information, is there any reason to use
        ataraid instead of md raid?

        13 Jan 2003 06:51 murty

        Re: Quasi-hardware raid?
        Hi
        Yes, the real RAID is done in drivers. Therefore its Software RAID. However, ATARAID is different in the following two ways compared to MD Software RAID. Otherwise, both are same.

        1. ATARAID takes help from BIOS to read disk info and boot
        2. ATARAID drivers do not have all the features of MD RAID

        Because ATARAID is software raid with some help from RAID Card BIOS hardware, its Quasi- or Pseudo hardware. Promise Technology and their vendors would like to tell general public that it IS hardware raid.


        > Hello,
        >
        > does quasi-hardware mean that this kind
        > of raid
        > controllers are just simle IDE
        > controllers and the
        > real RAID functionality is done by the
        > drivers?
        >
        > Slightly confused,
        >
        > Hans


        08 Jan 2003 07:29 hansU

        Quasi-hardware raid?
        Hello,

        does quasi-hardware mean that this kind of raid
        controllers are just simle IDE controllers and the
        real RAID functionality is done by the drivers?

        Slightly confused,

        Hans

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