3Ware Eskalad series

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1. Vendor information

3Ware ( card are usually well supported on Linux.
Theses cards are often considered as some of the bests hardware RAID controllers for GNU/Linux or BSD systems.
3Ware supports Linux and provide an opensource kernel driver which has been part of Linux for ages

2. Linux kernel drivers

There are two drivers for 3ware cards:

Driver Supported cards
3w_xxxx 3Ware Eskalad 7000 and 8000 series
3w_9xxx 3Ware Eskaled 9000 series

You should not expect any problems with theses drivers which are known to be mature and stable.
We don't know any current Linux distrubtion which miss theses drivers so no additional step should be required to get it working.

Some lspci -nn output examples:

  • 03:01.0 RAID bus controller [0104]: 3ware Inc 9550SX SATA-RAID [13c1:1003]
  • 04:02.0 RAID bus controller [0104]: 3ware Inc 7xxx/8xxx-series PATA/SATA-RAID [13c1:1001] (rev 01)

3. Management and reporting tools

No opensource tools for 3Ware cards currently exist. However, 3Ware provides two proprietary utilities for x86 and x86_64 linux systems.

3.1. tw_cli

tw_cli is a command line tool to manage and monitor Eskaled cards. It works fine with 7000 and 8000 cards, as well as with the 9000 series.
Latest version is, available in 3Ware applications package release


3.1.1. Quickstart guide for tw_cli

List available controllers:

server:~# tw-cli info

Ctl   Model        (V)Ports  Drives   Units   NotOpt  RRate   VRate  BBU
c0    8006-2LP     2         2        1       0       2       -      -

All arrays and disks from controller "c0":

server:~# tw-cli /c0 show

Unit  UnitType  Status         %RCmpl  %V/I/M  Stripe  Size(GB)  Cache  AVrfy
u0    RAID-1    OK             -       -       -       153.385   OFF    -

Port   Status           Unit   Size        Blocks        Serial
p0     OK               u0     153.38 GB   321672960     VNRD3EC4C7J1SM
p1     OK               u0     153.38 GB   321672960     VNRD3EC4C7HZZM

Print all bios versions

server:~# tw-cli /c0 show bios firmware monitor
/c0 Bios Version = BE7X
/c0 Firmware Version = FE8S
/c0 Boot Loader Version = ME7X

Full tw_cli documentation can be downloaded for 3Ware website:

3.1.2. Enabling/Disabling Write Cache

//server> info c0

Unit  UnitType  Status         %RCmpl  %V/I/M  Stripe  Size(GB)  Cache  AVrfy
u0    RAID-1    OK             -       -       -       232.885   OFF    -      

Write cache is OFF. Let's turn it ON.

//server> set cache c0 u0 on
Setting Write Cache Policy on /c0/u0 to [on] ... Done.

//server> info c0

Unit  UnitType  Status         %RCmpl  %V/I/M  Stripe  Size(GB)  Cache  AVrfy
u0    RAID-1    OK             -       -       -       232.885   ON     -      

3.1.3. My opinion about tw_cli

tw_cli is really a good utility. It show all needed informations in just one command.
Moreover, it show rebuild status in percent when the array is rebuilding and it's easily parsable because 3Ware filled the not relevant columns with a dash instead of leting them empty. Good job !

3.2. 3ware-status

3ware-status is a package I wrote by myself. It includes a python wrapper around tw_cli command and an initscript which daemonize the launch of the wrapper.
It also handles failure detection and report it by mail and syslog. It also handle unexpected output changes and reminders until the status is fine again.


Output example:

server:~# 3ware-status
-- Arrays informations --
-- ID   Type    Size    Status
c0u0    RAID1   153G    OK

-- Disks informations
-- ID   Model           Status
c0u0p0  VNRD3EC4C7J1SM  OK
c0u0p1  VNRD3EC4C7HZZM  OK

3.3. 3dm2

3DM2 is a Web applications with an embedded web servers that allows to do the same things than with tw_cli but has a GUI.
It works fine and doesn't rely on insane dependencies like java, tomcat or something else. However it use an awfull InstallShield installer which should be avoided in any case.

We're preparing Debian packages and it will be available soon.

Here is a screenshot to see how it looks:

This tool does mail reporting too, with configurable alert level.

4. BIOS upgrade from a Linux system

4.1. Eskalad 7000 and 8000 series

Theses cards can't be updated throught 3Ware tw_cli or 3dm2. However a quick hack to boot a FreeDOS floppy from GRUB can be used. I will write more about this later.

4.2. Eskalad 9000 series

Theses controllers can be updated using both tw_cli or 3dm2. From 3dm2, click on Management tab and choose Controller Settings. Check the bottom of the page. The interface may stop responding a few seconds. Don't be affraid, just wait. With tw-cli, use the "update" feature:

server:~# tw-cli help update

  update fw=filename_with_path [force]                  (9000 series)

Off course, a reboot is needed after upgrading the BIOS.

Last modified 5 years ago Last modified on 01/08/2012 11:29:19

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