Over the years we've played with quite a few RAID controllers and built many arrays. I have to admit that LSI's MegaRAID Management Suite is by far the most attractive and easiest to work with. The software can be run out of band as well making it possible to control your server from another system, a big plus when running a datacenter or cluster.
Just because the MegaRAID software is the easiest to work with doesn't mean it doesn't have a learning curve. Depending on what you highlight, controller, backplane or individual drive, the Go To menu will give you different options. The physical and logical tabs will also have you twisted around if trying to make a quick correction without putting a little thought into what you want to accomplish.
The additional software features that are available add to the overall value as well. I'm not going to rewrite LSI's marketing, here are the quotes.
1. LSI MegaRAID FastPath
LSI MegaRAID FastPath optimization software provides a high performance I/O accelerator, designed to dramatically boost transactional application throughput of multiple SSDs connected to a 6Gb/s SATA+SAS MegaRAID controller. FastPath supports full optimization of SSD Virtual Disk groups to deliver a 3X improvement in read and write I/Os per second (IOPS) compared to the previous generation product.
2. LSI MegaRAID CacheCade
LSI MegaRAID CacheCade tiered cache allows users to leverage SSDs in front of hard disk drives (HDDs) to create up to 512GB of controller cache. Using SSDs as controller cache allows for very large data sets to be present in cache to deliver up to a 50X performance improvement in read-intensive applications, such as file, Web, OLTP and database server. The solution is designed to provide a dramatic performance upgrade while only requiring a small investment in SSD technology.
3. LSI MegaRAID Recovery
LSI MegaRAID Recovery enhances file and boot-block/volume protection, empowering IT administrators with data retrieval and upgrade risk-management. Users can capture source volume data at designated Points-in-Time (PiT) and "restore " or "rollback" should accidental or malicious data deletion or infection occur. While traditional periodic off-hour backups continue to be the primary method for preventing complete data loss, MegaRAID Recovery meets a growing need for more frequent restore points and reduced recovery times. By supplementing traditional backup methods with MegaRAID Recovery, IT organizations can avoid unexpected downtime and greatly enhance their level of business continuity, data protection and restore capabilities.
4. LSI SafeStore Encryption Services
Data security also has been enhanced utilizing LSI SafeStore Encryption Services. This feature, together with self-encrypting drives (SEDs), secures a drive's data from unauthorized access or modification resulting from theft, loss or repurposing of drives. Local key management in the controller is designed to protect data from security breaches with minimal cost and complexity. Another benefit of SafeStore with SED drives is the ability to instantly and securely make data on disk drives unreadable, significantly reducing the time and cost associated with secure drive erasure.
To date I've used Fast Path and CacheCade. Today we'll be using Fast Path with our array for Crucial C300 256GB SSDs. LSI includes a feature called SSD Guard (included with the bare drive) and we will use that as well.