Ubuntu on a Dell: The Intel Matrix Reloaded

Continuing on from the previous post, I have looked into various ways of achieving the RAID1 functionality that I need. After browsing some information on RAID on Linux, it seems that the reason the hardware RAID didn't want to work is that it's not actually a hardware RAID. The Intel Matrix Storage chipset requires that the operating system have drivers installed that handle all of the actual work involved in running a RAID (which is why these types of RAIDs are called "fake raids"). I believe these drivers do exist for Linux but they're a pain to set up.

So, following that I looked into LVM, the Logical Volume Manager, as from my shallow understanding of it I believed that it would do what I wanted. Turns out I am slightly wrong in that respect. What LVM really does is allow for partitions to be spread across multiple physical disks and for those physical disks to change without affecting the virtual disk images that all your data is stored on. (For example, you could add more disks to semi-dynamically increase the size of your /home partition.) LVM is also a pain to set up from what I've seen and cannot be used as a boot partition. So it doesn't handle RAID-like functions in the way I'd thought.

I did discover that there are softwares available to handle a "software RAID" on Linux, similar to what the "fake raid" drivers would achieve, without a lot of the hassle. The one I found, mdadm, actually creates "RAID" functionality by combining multiple partitions into a single virtual partition. This increase the flexibility slightly as you don't need to have a set of identical physical disks. ([Also of interest with mdadm][2] is that it seems to have been written by someone from the University of New South Wales – go Aussies!)

I'm going to see how this new method goes tomorrow!

[2]: http://www.linuxdevcenter.com/pub/a/linux/2002/12/05/RAID.html