ICP vortex GDT RAID Controllers
Like Mercedes-Benz cars and most other German products, the GDT is somewhat over-engineered. This makes it very reliable and safe, but also more expensive than the competition. I tried two different resellers of ICP controllers. One tried to sell me the controller and RAM at the suggested retail price, the other quoted me a price for the 6518RD (with RAM) of approximately $50 less than the suggested retail price for the controller alone. This price with 64MB of cache was approximately $300 more than the equivalent Mylex ExtremeRaid with 32MB of cache. Prices fluctuate due to new product introductions, etc., but these relative prices will probably remain similar. Thus, for low-end RAID you may wish to look at competing devices, bearing in mind that most vendors do not have the Linux experience and range of support that ICP has.
The robustness, transparency and ability to present multiple drives as a single volume to the Linux SCSI layer makes hardware RAID a must for situations requiring high availability and large amounts of disk storage.
Within the hardware RAID market, the ICP GDT line stands out as the most complete set of RAID solutions available for Linux. Other vendors have single-channel RAID controllers for Linux, but multi-channel RAID controllers are still a rare bird in the Linux market. No other vendor at the time of this writing offers fibre-channel RAID solutions for Linux.
The ICP GDT line also stands out as one of the most robust RAID solutions in the Linux market. In part, this is because ICP ported their gdtmon utility to Linux, allowing handling of hot swap and failover situations without having to reboot to DOS like you must in order to reconfigure most competing devices. Much of it is because the ICP team has engineered their product to be as safe as possible.
Unfortunately, this does come with a cost. The ICP RAID controllers are not the cheapest. For a single-channel controller, you may wish to look into competing devices from Mylex, AMI or Adaptec, bearing in mind that their support for Linux is relatively recent and incomplete. For multi-channel controllers or fibre channel RAID, there is no argument at all. ICP Vortex is the RAID solution for Linux in those markets.
Eric Lee Green (email@example.com) is the systems and networking guru for Enhanced Software Technologies Inc., “The Bru Guys”.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
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