Recently there was a post to Slashdot about a Podcast called “We Hate Tech” in which two guys (supposedly tech support) rant and rave about tech stuff.
I listened to a couple of the ‘casts and just never really got into it. It was a lot of bitching without a lot of content as to why. I have decided to do this in my own style, and I hope to avoid the baseless bitching while still telling people why not to use something.
We recently purchased a Adaptec SATA II RAID card model number 1420SA. Everywhere that this was marketed, it was listed as a “Hardware Raid” card, which we took to mean that it actually did RAID in hardware. Turns out that the cards has what Adaptec laughingly calls “HostRAID”. We didn’t know at the time how HostRAID got its name, but turns out it is really descriptive. They call it HostRAID, because the damn host machine does the RAID, not the card. They are selling SATA controllers that simulate hardware RAID, by moving the software RAID into the driver and out of the OS’s control. How is it ok for them to market this as a hardware RAID solution?
Add that to the fact that all the OSes that they support already support software RAID and I don’t really see the point of this product unless it is to just bilk the consumers out of money for something they think they are getting and they aren’t.
The list of non Windows operating systems that they do support is meager at best and only includes versions that are at least a year old. The support is also tied specifically to one version of the kernel, so if you want to update your kernel to fix security issues you are screwed as well.
They don’t even have support for 64 bit Windows. I mean come on. All the new CPUs people are getting are 64 bit and they can’t even be bothered to keep up with that change.
I wrote them to ask if there was any possibility of support for something else and they were less than helpful. Here is the email exchanges:
Create-date : 08/31/05 08:29:53
OS : Red Hat Enterprise Linux version 4.x
Problem : 08/31/05 08:29:53 ardev1
Are there any Fedora Core Drivers in the works for this card. I need
to get it up with Fedora Core 4. Thanks.
Their Solution (?):
Webmail Solution : 08/31/05 08:50:02 mal23095
Greetings from Adaptec,
Unfortunately, we do not support Fedora Core and currently there are no plans to do so. Since this card is also based on Host RAID technology, there is no source code available. If you need a card that will work in Fedora core we would recommend one or our regular sata or SCSI raid cards such as the 2410 (SATA) or 2120 (SCSI). There are no drivers for these cards in Fedora Core, but the source code is available for users to compile a driver for their particular O/S.
Thank you for contacting Adaptec Technical Support
My Response to that:
I don’t need the HostRAID functionality. When my boss purchased this we didn’t know that HostRAID just stood for junk software RAID. I will be using the builtin Linux software RAID now, BUT I DO need this card to run the drives. The SATA Card that you suggested DOES NOT work for me because we specifically purchased this card and drives to get the SATA II support. I understand that you don’t SUPPORT Fedora Core, but building the driver for EL3 is not that different from building the driver for FC4. Is it not possible to actually provide something for your PAYING customers that they need? I cannot believe that your solution to the problem is to either A) lose the money that we paid for this card, and purchase another card from your company at $350+ or B) change the operating system that I am using and start using a OLDER version that I have to PAY for to get it to work, especially when they are based on the same baseline sytem.
I can tell you that I personally have NO plans to purchase ANY more hardware from Adaptec and I will advise all the technology departments that I can to also follow this plan. To expect me to advise the purchase of another card from a company that obviously doesn’t care to help its customers is insane.
Their final reply:
We’ve made note of your concerns, unfortunately, there just isn’t any support for Fedora Core on this card. The closest we can come are the 2410 and 2120 cards even if we don’t provide a driver of our own.
Adaptec Technical Support
Then I get a customer satisfaction survey in email to fill out. I did fill it out even though I am sure it will get sent to the scrap heap. How is it that companies have gotten so out of control that they can just screw their customers over and nothing seems to slow them down? Adaptec used to mean that you were getting decent hardware. Now our latest server came with an Adaptec SCSI Raid Controller and lo and behold it uses this HostRAID bullshit too.
Adaptec makes crap hardware anymore.