Figured I might as well use this piece of software since I have to maintain it.
Basically to summarise my experiences with SATA RAID controllers (see here for the full details) under a basic stress load:
1. Adaptec 21610SA. Junk, very slow, locks up after about 4 hours.
Then I got an Areca 1160. This works, kind of. It corrupts data, this is directly correlated with a ‘media error count’ that is visible only on the individual, detailed status page for each drive available through the card’s HTTP interface. After getting in touch with Areca they advised me that this was either power (I tried it with a pair of PSUs with the load split roughly evenly, so I don’t think that this is really the case), or it’s an issue with the firmware of the drives (16xWD320RE SATA disks).
However, entirely turning off the write cache makes the thing work OK, and it has done this for about a year. The write speed is absolutely pitiful though (and writes also kill reads). I get ~15Mb/s in moderately seek bound workloads, and ~30Mb/s for sequential writes. Hurrah, slower than some of my really old single IDE disks! Oh well, it’s good enough for a backup/TV server at any rate. Overall SATA RAID is still totally pants though!
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