3ware controllers and fatal failure mode design decision

From: brian@worldcontrol.com
Date: Tue Sep 05 2000 - 16:27:02 EST

I was wondering if any one knows of a way around the following problem,
and I wanted to warn people considering 3ware controllers as a storage

I talked to 3ware already and they don't have a solution.

The latest 3ware firmware for their current products requires that
all drives in an array be absolutely identical.

Say you setup an 8 drive RAID 10 array and a year later a drive
blows out. You *MUST* replace it with an absolutely identical
drive. It must ID completely identifical!

Whoa! What if the drive isn't made anymore?

Seems like a nightmare scenario to me.

Worse yet. I just ran into it.

When I first got my 3ware controller it was perfectly happy to
mix and match drives. However, due to a bug in the linux driver
which was later corrected by 3ware they suggest I upgrade
the firmware.

The controller continued to boot and operate happily but when
it came time to change the array configuration the BIOS refused
to work with mix drives!

I figure there is probably a way to modify something so I could
have the OS lie to the 3ware controller and I could get my
mixed batch of drives back online.

Pointers would be appreciated.

Maybe we can turn the 3ware product line back into a useful product.

Brian Litzinger <brian@litzinger.com>

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