RAID card for server upgrade



  • I'm going to be doing some upgrades to our production hypervisors (white boxes built just before I started) and I'm looking to add hardware raid. Any recommendations on specific cards?


  • Service Provider

    I stick to LSI or Adaptec myself. What are the details on the setup and why the switch to hardware?



  • @scottalanmiller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    I stick to LSI or Adaptec myself. What are the details on the setup and why the switch to hardware?

    They are currently using Linux software RAID, I figure adding hardware RAID would simplify the process of swapping failed disks if/when that happens. So mostly just convenience.



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  • Service Provider

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @scottalanmiller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    I stick to LSI or Adaptec myself. What are the details on the setup and why the switch to hardware?

    They are currently using Linux software RAID, I figure adding hardware RAID would simplify the process of swapping failed disks if/when that happens. So mostly just convenience.

    Yup, that it will do.


  • Service Provider

    @Dashrender said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @scottalanmiller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    I stick to LSI or Adaptec myself. What are the details on the setup and why the switch to hardware?

    They are currently using Linux software RAID, I figure adding hardware RAID would simplify the process of swapping failed disks if/when that happens. So mostly just convenience.

    Do you have blind swap chassis?

    These terms are killing you 🙂

    Hot swap: all enterprise RAID has it, not all chassis support it.

    Blind swap: pretty much only hardware RAID supports it, no chassis support needed.



  • From what SAM's told me there's basically two types of card

    cheap ones leave a lot to be desired and have no onboard memory

    expensive ones (which you want) have onboard memory and the whole 9 yards (nice processor etc)

    Buy the expensive one - LSI or adaptec.

    If you're tight on budget perhaps snag a used one on ebay, people part out servers all the time.



  • @Dashrender No, it doesn't have hot swap bays, but that's not my major concern. Murphy's law kicking in while I'm away and having to talk someone at the office through swapping a drive is though. I'm thinking them opening the server, yanking a drive, and putting a new one in is less stressful than me trying to talk them through all the necessary steps in linux for swapping out the disk.

    Price may dictate I follow the inconvenient route though... We'll see.



  • @MattSpeller Yeah, I'll probably be going the ebay route if I do get them. Right now I'm in the planning phase of the upgrades and this is one of the "nice to haves" that I'm gunning for...


  • Service Provider

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @Dashrender No, it doesn't have hot swap bays, but that's not my major concern. Murphy's law kicking in while I'm away and having to talk someone at the office through swapping a drive is though. I'm thinking them opening the server, yanking a drive, and putting a new one in is less stressful than me trying to talk them through all the necessary steps in linux for swapping out the disk.

    Price may dictate I follow the inconvenient route though... We'll see.

    Oh, I can't imagine doing this with a cold swap chassis. You are getting basically none of the advantages of the hardware RAID in that case. Nearly a grand is a TON of money to spend for basically nothing. Literally nothing if you have proper out of band management.



  • @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @Dashrender No, it doesn't have hot swap bays

    Dude - no hot swap == no user serviceable hdds

    Unless your users are exceptionally well trained I wouldn't even suggest it. I'd get a relationship started with a local IT company and have them send a tech to learn and document what you want done if you're away and poop occurs.


  • Service Provider

    Also seems an odd place to spend money... cut corners on white box server... but then splurge on hardware RAID. Just a weird mix of spending.

    Especially when there is Linux software RAID available for excellent reliability without the hardware RAID. If this were Windows it would make more sense to me.



  • @MattSpeller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @Dashrender No, it doesn't have hot swap bays

    Dude - no hot swap == no user serviceable hdds

    Unless your users are exceptionally well trained I wouldn't even suggest it. I'd get a relationship started with a local IT company and have them send a tech to learn and document what you want done if you're away and poop occurs.

    They are well trained engineers that I wouldn't fret about having crack open a server case. That said it is a lot of work to go through for an inconvenient added convenience. I'll have to see what other options I have, maybe I can find bays that will work.



  • @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @MattSpeller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @Dashrender No, it doesn't have hot swap bays

    Dude - no hot swap == no user serviceable hdds

    Unless your users are exceptionally well trained I wouldn't even suggest it. I'd get a relationship started with a local IT company and have them send a tech to learn and document what you want done if you're away and poop occurs.

    They are well trained engineers that I wouldn't fret about having crack open a server case. That said it is a lot of work to go through for an inconvenient added convenience. I'll have to see what other options I have, maybe I can find bays that will work.

    I'm super jealous of your user base lol


  • Service Provider

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @MattSpeller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @Dashrender No, it doesn't have hot swap bays

    Dude - no hot swap == no user serviceable hdds

    Unless your users are exceptionally well trained I wouldn't even suggest it. I'd get a relationship started with a local IT company and have them send a tech to learn and document what you want done if you're away and poop occurs.

    They are well trained engineers that I wouldn't fret about having crack open a server case. That said it is a lot of work to go through for an inconvenient added convenience. I'll have to see what other options I have, maybe I can find bays that will work.

    Not like it is a clean swap anyway. You are looking at rebuilding to make the change.



  • @RamblingBiped What are your goals with the upgrades? Maybe there's another way to skin this cat so you can take time off and not sweat it



  • @scottalanmiller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    Also seems an odd place to spend money... cut corners on white box server... but then splurge on hardware RAID. Just a weird mix of spending.

    Especially when there is Linux software RAID available for excellent reliability without the hardware RAID. If this were Windows it would make more sense to me.

    Fair enough, I'll probably just stick with software RAID. If I would have been here before they were built I would have suggested getting refurbished units from somewhere like xByte instead of building by hand. Everything they had when I came on was built in-house, including all workstations. I've finally got that thinking shifted and we're moving toward a unified hardware lifecycle. Unfortunately/fortunately the servers are adequate for our current workloads, so I can't realistically justify replacing them. I'm going to be moving them into new chassis with redundant power supplies and updating their operating systems and implementing a new backup schedule/process for VMs.



  • @MattSpeller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @MattSpeller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @Dashrender No, it doesn't have hot swap bays

    Dude - no hot swap == no user serviceable hdds

    Unless your users are exceptionally well trained I wouldn't even suggest it. I'd get a relationship started with a local IT company and have them send a tech to learn and document what you want done if you're away and poop occurs.

    They are well trained engineers that I wouldn't fret about having crack open a server case. That said it is a lot of work to go through for an inconvenient added convenience. I'll have to see what other options I have, maybe I can find bays that will work.

    I'm super jealous of your user base lol

    Double edged sword... I get some very interesting problems that come along with it. lol



  • @MattSpeller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped What are your goals with the upgrades? Maybe there's another way to skin this cat so you can take time off and not sweat it

    Primary goal is to get the Hypervisors updated and inside a new case that takes up less space and has redundant power supplies. Hardware RAID was just an additional nice-to-have.


  • Service Provider

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @MattSpeller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped What are your goals with the upgrades? Maybe there's another way to skin this cat so you can take time off and not sweat it

    Primary goal is to get the Hypervisors updated and inside a new case that takes up less space and has redundant power supplies. Hardware RAID was just an additional nice-to-have.

    Buy a server from Xbyte anyway. Just skip the memory and HDD and reuse your existing. Assuming it works in a Dell.

    Skipping the drives and memory will save half the cost of most basic servers.



  • @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    I've finally got that thinking shifted and we're moving toward a unified hardware lifecycle.

    What does this mean, exactly?

    I used to be of the mindset, auto replace every X years was a good plan. Now I'm to a point where I don't replace unless a machine suffers a failure of a motherboard or powersupply (OEM machines I don't worry about trying to replace PSs).

    I currently have around 10 laptops/desktop that are from 2011, probably won't replace them, as I said, until they die. RAM upgrade, sure, HDD to SDD, maybe.



  • @JaredBusch said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @MattSpeller said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped What are your goals with the upgrades? Maybe there's another way to skin this cat so you can take time off and not sweat it

    Primary goal is to get the Hypervisors updated and inside a new case that takes up less space and has redundant power supplies. Hardware RAID was just an additional nice-to-have.

    Buy a server from Xbyte anyway. Just skip the memory and HDD and reuse your existing. Assuming it works in a Dell.

    Skipping the drives and memory will save half the cost of most basic servers.

    Exactly, and if the drives won't fit in a Dell, get Super Micro servers.



  • @Dashrender said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    @RamblingBiped said in RAID card for server upgrade:

    I've finally got that thinking shifted and we're moving toward a unified hardware lifecycle.

    What does this mean, exactly?

    I used to be of the mindset, auto replace every X years was a good plan. Now I'm to a point where I don't replace unless a machine suffers a failure of a motherboard or powersupply (OEM machines I don't worry about trying to replace PSs).

    I currently have around 10 laptops/desktop that are from 2011, probably won't replace them, as I said, until they die. RAM upgrade, sure, HDD to SDD, maybe.

    They were just buying components and building a new workstation everytime they hired a new engineer or employee. I've got so many different builds floating around that it is nuts to try and keep track of everything. I'm moving toward one or two different configurations of laptop for ease of management. They are less expensive to maintain, and as they age out I'll just move them into the lab as test systems.

    We basically run our systems into the ground as well. Every old desktop that I've replaced has been put back into the wild as a system for an Intern or into a lab for testing.



  • OIC, if I retire a machine, it's either going to graveyard or someone is installing Linux on it, somewhere else.

    The problem with this though is that you end up with all kinds of different model numbers. HP seems to change models every 3-6 months. Since we only replace as things die now, we will have a scattered different models all over the place.



  • Im in the process of upgrading all of our servers to hardware based LSI Cards. They are not cheap, and are a little UI unfriendly, but we have not had a single problem with them and when I had questions during configuration (Because their UI sucks), their support answered immediately and gave me all the information I needed. LSI Cards are nice, the central RAID management is awesome and reduces maintenance costs


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