OpenBSD Journal

Adaptec AAC raid support

Contributed by phessler on from the reboot-bad dept.

Theo de Raadt (2004 winner of the FSF Free Software Award) writes to misc, discussing how Adaptec is being unreasonable with releasing documentation so OpenBSD can add RAID management.

The aac(4) driver was also disabled in the GENERIC kernel.

UPDATE: New contact information
"We've been trying to get more Adaptec AAC RAID documentation out of
Adaptec for nearly 4 months, so that we can add RAID management (ie.
the ability to recover a RAID array without rebooting and doing it in
the BIOS) and it is incredible how much we are being dragged around.

We are NOT getting the answers we need.

Some of you may remember how this affected back a few years ago
Adaptec refused to give us documentation for their SCSI controllers,
and this slowed the quality of our ahc(4) and ahd(4) support.  We let
our users know who to complain to, Adaptec listened, and we had two
boxes of *complete* documentation a few days later.

This time, I am strongly considering removing aac(4) support from the
upcoming OpenBSD 3.7 release.  On Monday morning I will make that
decision, and by Tuesday it will be final since our source tree for
OpenBSD 3.7 will likely be tagged and branched.

If you feel strongly about this, please let

know how you feel about that.  If he does not get back to me soon on
this, I am also prepared to give out hand out phone number to people
who have more than a few of these controllers.

What is the matter with these companies!  I can point to more than A
MILLION DOLLARS worth of aac(4) hardware running -- on OpenBSD -- and
yet they REFUSE to let their customers use this hardware as it is
supposed to work!

What the hell is the matter with them?!  Why won't they EXPLAIN why
they act against the needs of their customers in this way?"
Adaptec responds, and Theo responds back.

Theo adds:
"When you mail Adaptec, please ...

-- if your mail is especially good, cc or bcc me
-- if your mail is about a particulary large number of controllers, cc me
-- if they reply with something you find offensive which you can
   translate into "we don't care about our customers", make sure i see it.

"Since the original Adaptec guy Doug has blocked his mail, here is the
email address of the next person at Adaptec who is involved in this.

He has also previously indicated that he would be involved in any
decision to provide documentation on the aac RAID management

Marty Turner
Product Manager
Adaptec, Inc.
(919) 287-2045

Sorry Marty, but you are only getting comments from your customers."

(Comments are closed)

  1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Very interesting threads! I hope Theo doesn't give up so soon, on Monday; not everyone follows the `misc` list and this was just posted to undeadly today... Who knows, maybe someone else from here can also try to clarify to Doug the request and need for 'documentation', not for support or drivers, as Doug seems to be unclear/mistaken on.

    I'm sure Doug is off this weekend, so I hope Theo can at least give him some more time to think about the possible huge loss[es] they may face and some time for him to get more clarifying emails...

    Just my $0.02

    1. By phessler ( on

      It was posted about 30 minutes after Theo sent the mail to misc@.

  2. By Anthony Roberts ( on

    I will confess I wasn't sure the strategy of agressively lobbying the vendors was a good idea when it all started, but the results speak for themselves.

    It has resulted in big, aloof vendors paying attention to what can only be called a niche OS, and the noteriety from the FSF award only increases the lobbying power.

    IMO talking about customers with lots of Adaptec hardware is the right strategy. Shareholders don't want to see millions of dollars of sales disappear over a few thousand dollars of documentation.

  3. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    I mailbombed with hundreds of thousand of messages asking them to relase docs to the openbsd project, the whole community is behind you theo, if you don't hear anything back from him, then I suggest that nobody buys adaptec no more, that should make them change their mind!!!

    1. By pedro ( on

      oh, come on, mail-bombing is definitely not the solution...

      1. By Nate ( on

        I think that was a comment meant to instegate a negative response. It is based on the fact that Theo's actions are a little hostile, not necessarily unwarrented but definately hostile.

        Or at least that is how I read it.

      2. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        I think if he really did, he wouldn't be so dumb as to post his actions here with his IP.

        1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

          ----- Transcript of session follows -----
          ... while talking to
          >>> RCPT To:<>
          <<< 550 <>: Recipient address rejected: No such user (
          550 5.1.1 <>... User unknown

          Unfortunately, I think he may have done.

          1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

            You could try to call him by phone. Admittedly I don't want to post the number myself but just search for the (now defunct) email address in Google and look at the 3rd result.

          2. By Anonymous Coward ( on

            Hahaha, I never even sent an email or mailbombed anybody or this guy, I was just point out the fact that publishing an email address is ridiculous and leads to nowhere. What would be productive is simply to ask to sign a NDA and look at the documents you need. Adaptec always provided us drivers, we didn't have to ask for anybody to release documents, maybe it would be best to ask them to just compile the driver under your operating system.

            1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

              I think you completely missed the point of all of this.

            2. By Chris ( on

              Sorry, this is a free-software site.

            3. By phessler ( on

              OpenBSD will never accept NDA restricted documents.

    2. By Chris ( on

      Please don't mail bomb. That is definitely not the solution and will only hinder progess.

    3. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      That's completely stupid and counterproductive.

      Now we won't have a chance anymore for our emails to be read by adaptec. They'll filter everything (if they don't, new emails will be lost in the masse).

    4. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      Adaptec took down Richardson's point-of-contact, then are making this claim as an excuse for it.

      And the bonus is that it makes OpenBSD supporters look like The Bad Guys(tm).

    5. By Eddie Coca-Cola ( on

      Congratulations, you fucking moron! Now Doug has blocked all e-mail to him, and we can't explain to him how much money he'll lose.

      1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        I never emailed anybody idiot, I'm off this board it sucks.

        1. By Dunceor ( on

          You do know this isn't a board? Seems like a bright young man...not

    6. By Kevin R ( on

      I don't know if this person actually mailbombed the adaptec contact, although I sort of doubt it. He doesn't seem that smart. The person that posted this admission often lies on undeadly. Proof (other posts on undeadly by his ip):

      This post, where he claims to work for microsoft, and claims unix is "just like linux illegal because of a violation of patents"

      Another post, this ones good, where he claims " (running openbsd) was hacked."

      Here's a Google search of Posts, if anyones interested.

      Although thats not to say he didn't do it. I'm just pointing out previous problems we've had with this person. If adaptec really was mailbombed, the offenders ip is right here on undeadly, it shouldn't be a problem to track this person down.

      Kevin R

      1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        I never mailbombed anybody moron, I wouldn't even know how to do that, anyway I'm off this board, it sucks, meet me on

      2. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        Someone should contact Adaptec to see and have them cross reference his IP. From his reply and his previous postings, he sure sounds very immature.

  4. By Marc Wirth ( on

    The last firmware update for SATA RAID cards required a complete backup,recreate,restore of RAID arrays. Now Doug refers to a new firmware. Even with older cards you have to know which firmware to update and then you may still get error messages during update (just happened to me with an old 29160 that worked fine afterwards anyway). I am not amused by this. We don't have that many Adaptec Cards (maybe a dozen plus some mainboards that include Adaptec software/hardware that isn't usable under OpenBSD) but if aac support is removed due to a lack of documentation that will put a stop to buying anything new from Adaptec. How is ICP Vortex doing?

    1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      ICP is owned by adaptec.

  5. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    So .. can anyone recommend some affordable and fully supported alternatives?

    1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      No, there are none. This is one of the reasons adaptec is dismissing the issue. Sure, their RAID controllers aren't fully supported, but neither is anyone else's, so there's no difference. Once one vendor is properly supported though, then the rest can see that everyone will switch to that vendor, so most of them will smarten up and release documentation.

    2. By henning ( on

      LSI MegaRAID stuff (ami(4), there are more names this shitz is sold under) is really good in 3.7 and will very very very likely be the first to have management support (should make 3.8).

      works fine on amd64 too.

      1. By Anthony Roberts ( on

        Was it reverse engineered or did they give docs?

      2. By JR ( on

        I may be out of line, but I see this as being a good opportunity to E-mail customer service at the Dell PE group and suggest that they stick with LSI. In the coming years if we have LSI support on OBSD we sure don't want to see Dell swaying back in the direction of Adaptec. Maybe even cc it to Doug whatever at Adaptec. In the end even though I like the product, I imagine Dell goes wayward of the "lowest bidder". Every little bit of PR for the companies we want to see our software running on can't hurt though.

      3. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        Surprending, the ami(4) manpage made me think this was not possible (nor the hardware was conceived for that):
             Although the controllers are actual RAID controllers, the driver makes
             them look just like SCSI controllers.  All RAID configuration is done
             through the controllers' BIOSes.

        1. By Amir Mesry ( on

          It is possible. LSI has sent a few cards to Mickey and Theo and I think a few others got some(LSI doesn't support OpenBSD officially, hence why they donated cards only). Congrats to Theo and crew for getting some headway and working on them to get a working management interface. As they do have better features than Adaptec's Cards as far as the Intelligent Controllers are concerned.

          1. By henning ( on

            LSI helps a lot.

      4. By Amir Mesry ( on

        Gateway, NEC, Toshiba, HP, Hitachi, Dell.

      5. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        By any chance, does anyone know if the HP/Compaq SmartArray controllers are powered by LSI chips? I know there are different models and versionf of the SmartArray controllers. I'm not that knowledgable on all the different models, but I was wondering if they were all rebranded LSI Logic cards.

        We have a ton of HP/Compaq servers (2 x ML370's, 5 x DL360's) here with SmartArray controllers (all running MS Windows at the moment) which I wouldn't mind using OpenBSD on as a secure web server. Hmmm, I just need to a) wait for OpenBSD 3.8 for the raidctl function and b) decommission one of those servers so I can try installing OpenBSD on one of them. The DL360's are pretty nice machines.

    3. By Bob Beck ( on

      I have a bunch of these and they work very well.

      they're a rebadged LSI megaraid card. they're easy to
      get from Dell.

      1. By mj ( on

        LSI/AMI megaraid cards are also all over ebay, for interested people on a budget. (I've really never had one of their cards bite me in the sensitive parts, which is more than I can say for some vendors, so they're [imho] pretty good cards as well as being cheap-ish. Maybe I'm just lucky :))

  6. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    What are the recommanded SCSI (not RAID) chipset for OpenBSD users that, like me, don't want to spend money for Adaptec products anymore ?

    Is, as for RAID devices, LSI the best option ? What else (in case this manufacturer's products couldn't be provided by our resseller) ?

    1. By Michael ( on

      siop(4) maybe?

    2. By henning ( on

      mpt is very very good

  7. By Anthony Roberts ( on

    Sweet. It's hit the slashdot front page.

    That level of publicity makes things happen.

  8. By Anonymous Coward ( on

    Is there a hardware compatibility list anywhere on the OpenBSD website? It would be really helpful, when spec-ing out new systems, to be able to refer to a list of hardware components which detailed both recommended hardware as well as hardware to avoid.

    1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

      I apologize; I found it right after I posted 8-(

      (note to self: don't post on the internet when badly hung over)

      1. By Anonymous Coward ( on

        Note to self... LOL! ;-)

      2. By djm@ ( on

        No, you should never post when hung over - only when totally drunk.


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