MirBSD manpage: raid(4)

RAID(4)                    BSD Programmer's Manual                     RAID(4)


     raid - RAIDframe disk driver


     pseudo-device raid [count]


     The raid driver provides RAID 0, 1, 4, and 5 (and more!) capabilities to
     OpenBSD. This document assumes that the reader has at least some fami-
     liarity with RAID and RAID concepts. The reader is also assumed to know
     how to configure disks and pseudo-devices into kernels, how to generate
     kernels, and how to partition disks.

     RAIDframe provides a number of different RAID levels including:

     RAID 0  provides simple data striping across the components.

     RAID 1  provides mirroring.

     RAID 4  provides data striping across the components, with parity stored
             on a dedicated drive (in this case, the last component).

     RAID 5  provides data striping across the components, with parity distri-
             buted across all the components.

     There are a wide variety of other RAID levels supported by RAIDframe, in-
     cluding Even-Odd parity, RAID level 5 with rotated sparing, Chained de-
     clustering, and Interleaved declustering. The reader is referred to the
     RAIDframe documentation mentioned in the HISTORY section for more detail
     on these various RAID configurations.

     Depending on the parity level configured, the device driver can support
     the failure of component drives. The number of failures allowed depends
     on the parity level selected. If the driver is able to handle drive
     failures, and a drive does fail, then the system is operating in "degrad-
     ed mode". In this mode, all missing data must be reconstructed from the
     data and parity present on the other components. This results in much
     slower data accesses, but does mean that a failure need not bring the
     system to a complete halt.

     The RAID driver supports and enforces the use of 'component labels'. A
     'component label' contains important information about the component, in-
     cluding a user-specified serial number, the row and column of that com-
     ponent in the RAID set, and whether the data (and parity) on the com-
     ponent is 'clean'. If the driver determines that the labels are very in-
     consistent with respect to each other (e.g. two or more serial numbers do
     not match) or that the component label is not consistent with its as-
     signed place in the set (e.g., the component label claims the component
     should be the 3rd one of a 6-disk set, but the RAID set has it as the 3rd
     component in a 5-disk set) then the device will fail to configure. If the
     driver determines that exactly one component label seems to be incorrect,
     and the RAID set is being configured as a set that supports a single
     failure, then the RAID set will be allowed to configure, but the in-
     correctly labeled component will be marked as 'failed', and the RAID set
     will begin operation in degraded mode. If all of the components are con-
     sistent among themselves, the RAID set will configure normally.

     Component labels are also used to support the auto-detection and auto-
     configuration of RAID sets. A RAID set can be flagged as auto-
     configurable, in which case it will be configured automatically during
     the kernel boot process. RAID filesystems which are automatically config-
     ured are also eligible to be the root filesystem. There is currently no
     support for booting a kernel directly from a RAID set. To use a RAID set
     as the root filesystem, a kernel is usually obtained from a small non-
     RAID partition, after which any auto-configuring RAID set can be used for
     the root filesystem. See raidctl(8) for more information on auto-
     configuration of RAID sets.

     The driver supports 'hot spares', disks which are on-line, but are not
     actively used in an existing filesystem. Should a disk fail, the driver
     is capable of reconstructing the failed disk onto a hot spare or back
     onto a replacement drive. If the components are hot swapable, the failed
     disk can then be removed, a new disk put in its place, and a copyback
     operation performed. The copyback operation, as its name indicates, will
     copy the reconstructed data from the hot spare to the previously failed
     (and now replaced) disk. Hot spares can also be hot-added using

     If a component cannot be detected when the RAID device is configured,
     that component will be simply marked as 'failed'.

     The user-land utility for doing all raid configuration and other opera-
     tions is raidctl(8). Most importantly, raidctl(8) must be used with the
     -i option to initialize all RAID sets. In particular, this initialization
     includes re-building the parity data. This rebuilding of parity data is
     also required when either a) a new RAID device is brought up for the
     first time or b) after an un-clean shutdown of a RAID device. By using
     the -P option to raidctl(8), and performing this on-demand recomputation
     of all parity before doing a fsck(8) or a newfs(8), filesystem integrity
     and parity integrity can be ensured. It bears repeating again that parity
     recomputation is required before any filesystems are created or used on
     the RAID device. If the parity is not correct, then missing data cannot
     be correctly recovered.

     RAID levels may be combined in a hierarchical fashion. For example, a
     RAID 0 device can be constructed out of a number of RAID 5 devices
     (which, in turn, may be constructed out of the physical disks, or of oth-
     er RAID devices).

     It is important that drives be hard-coded at their respective addresses
     (i.e., not left free-floating, where a drive with SCSI ID of 4 can end up
     as /dev/sd0c) for well-behaved functioning of the RAID device. This is
     true for all types of drives, including IDE, HP-IB, etc. For normal SCSI
     drives, for example, the following can be used to fix the device ad-

           sd0     at scsibus0 target 0 lun ?      # SCSI disk drives
           sd1     at scsibus0 target 1 lun ?      # SCSI disk drives
           sd2     at scsibus0 target 2 lun ?      # SCSI disk drives
           sd3     at scsibus0 target 3 lun ?      # SCSI disk drives
           sd4     at scsibus0 target 4 lun ?      # SCSI disk drives
           sd5     at scsibus0 target 5 lun ?      # SCSI disk drives
           sd6     at scsibus0 target 6 lun ?      # SCSI disk drives

     See sd(4) for more information. The rationale for fixing the device ad-
     dresses is as follows: Consider a system with three SCSI drives at SCSI
     ID's 4, 5, and 6, and which map to components /dev/sd0e, /dev/sd1e, and
     /dev/sd2e of a RAID 5 set. If the drive with SCSI ID 5 fails, and the
     system reboots, the old /dev/sd2e will show up as /dev/sd1e. The RAID
     driver is able to detect that component positions have changed, and will
     not allow normal configuration. If the device addresses are hard coded,
     however, the RAID driver would detect that the middle component is una-
     vailable, and bring the RAID 5 set up in degraded mode. Note that the
     auto-detection and auto-configuration code does not care about where the
     components live. The auto-configuration code will correctly configure a
     device even after any number of the components have been re-arranged.

     The first step to using the raid driver is to ensure that it is suitably
     configured in the kernel. This is done by adding a line similar to:

           pseudo-device   raid   4       # RAIDframe disk device

     to the kernel configuration file. The 'count' argument ( '4', in this
     case), specifies the number of RAIDframe drivers to configure. To turn on
     component auto-detection and auto-configuration of RAID sets, simply add:

           option    RAID_AUTOCONFIG

     to the kernel configuration file.

     All component partitions must be of the type FS_BSDFFS (e.g., 4.2BSD) or
     FS_RAID (e.g., RAID). The use of the latter is strongly encouraged, and
     is required if auto-configuration of the RAID set is desired. Since RAID-
     frame leaves room for disklabels, RAID components can be simply raw
     disks, or partitions which use an entire disk. Note that some platforms
     (such as SUN) do not allow using the FS_RAID partition type. On these
     platforms, the raid driver can still auto-configure from FS_BSDFFS parti-

     A more detailed treatment of actually using a raid device is found in
     raidctl(8). It is highly recommended that the steps to reconstruct, copy-
     back, and re-compute parity are well understood by the system
     administrator(s) before a component failure. Doing the wrong thing when a
     component fails may result in data loss.

     Additional debug information can be sent to the console by specifying:

           option    RAIDDEBUG


     Certain RAID levels (1, 4, 5, 6, and others) can protect against some
     data loss due to component failure. However the loss of two components of
     a RAID 4 or 5 system, or the loss of a single component of a RAID 0 sys-
     tem, will result in the entire filesystems on that RAID device being
     lost. RAID is NOT a substitute for good backup practices.

     Recomputation of parity MUST be performed whenever there is a chance that
     it may have been compromised. This includes after system crashes, or be-
     fore a RAID device has been used for the first time. Failure to keep par-
     ity correct will be catastrophic should a component ever fail -- it is
     better to use RAID 0 and get the additional space and speed, than it is
     to use parity, but not keep the parity correct. At least with RAID 0
     there is no perception of increased data security.


     /dev/{,r}raid*  raid device special files.


     ccd(4), sd(4), wd(4), MAKEDEV(8), config(8), fsck(8), mount(8), newfs(8),


     The raid driver in OpenBSD is a port of RAIDframe, a framework for rapid
     prototyping of RAID structures developed by the folks at the Parallel
     Data Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). RAIDframe, as origi-
     nally distributed by CMU, provides a RAID simulator for a number of dif-
     ferent architectures, and a user-level device driver and a kernel device
     driver for Digital UNIX. The raid driver is a kernelized version of RAID-
     frame v1.1.

     A more complete description of the internals and functionality of RAID-
     frame is found in the paper "RAIDframe: A Rapid Prototyping Tool for RAID
     Systems", by William V. Courtright II, Garth Gibson, Mark Holland, LeAnn
     Neal Reilly, and Jim Zelenka, and published by the Parallel Data Labora-
     tory of Carnegie Mellon University. The raid driver first appeared in
     NetBSD 1.4 from where it was ported to OpenBSD 2.5.


     The RAIDframe Copyright is as follows:

     Copyright (c) 1994-1996 Carnegie-Mellon University.
     All rights reserved.

     Permission to use, copy, modify and distribute this software and
     its documentation is hereby granted, provided that both the copyright
     notice and this permission notice appear in all copies of the
     software, derivative works or modified versions, and any portions
     thereof, and that both notices appear in supporting documentation.


     Carnegie Mellon requests users of this software to return to

      Software Distribution Coordinator  or  Software.Distribution@CS.CMU.EDU
      School of Computer Science
      Carnegie Mellon University
      Pittsburgh PA 15213-3890

     any improvements or extensions that they make and grant Carnegie the
     rights to redistribute these changes.

MirBSD #10-current             November 9, 1998                              3

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