Enable RAID support, Network Port + Thinkpad Keyboard


#1

I am a noob who is planning on moving from Thinkpad to Librem (next version most likely). But couple of things bug me w.r.t Librem

  1. Not having direct network port (Deal breaker)
  2. Not having RAID support (Deal breaker)
  3. Keyboard that’s much like Thinkpad (Not a deal breaker)

Network port:

I saw Nicole’s responses in other posts that network port change require some changes to design.

Appreciate if you can consider adding to the next versions as its a pain to carry around accessories for just connecting to network

Also, I see that there are lot of issues with wireless that are still unresolved

This is more or less a must in enterprise settings as most companies dont give wireless access & we are stuck with carrying the adapter everywhere we carry this laptop

RAID support:

I see that Librem 15 & 13 have two disk slots but each of them run at different speeds

  1. SATA
  2. PCIe

(Please correct me if I am wrong)

Since they run at two different speeds, its almost a bad idea to do RAID setup

For data safety, its always safe than sorry to have HDD’s in RAID0 config so that we never lose our data if any of the disks fail

Correction: In the above line, RAID0 should be read as RAID1
Correction: Its possible to setup RAID1 even today, but we get SATA speeds, which defeats the whole point of having PCIe in the first place

Since the purism laptops are always targeted for privacy conscious customers, who would most likely pay premium (Thinkpad owners also pay premium), not having RAID support is a killer

Appreciate you consider removing SATA port & add an additional PCIe port that runs at the same speed as the current one

Thinkpad classic Keyboard:

This is not a deal breaker, but you will gain a lot of Thinkpad (esp. users like me) to migrate to this laptop. Also, its a far better keyboard (I am talking about classic Thinkpad keyboard, not the new junk Lenovo is producing)

(I’m referring to the right side keyboard which is a beauty & almost as good as desktop keyboard, not the junk on the left)

Appreciate if you consider some of these suggestions to be added to your list for the next version of Librem

Thanks for your time!


#2

From a data safety point of view, I would say RAID0 is worse than no RAID. RAID0 splits data across multiple drives, which tends to improve performance, but means that a single drive failure takes out everything, so now only one piece of hardware needs to fail to screw you completely.

RAID1 mirrors one disk to the other, so if one disk fails, you still have the mirror on the other disk. So with two drives, I would say you should use RAID1 for data security.


#3

I think you are slightly wrong.

I believe that the M.2 interface supports both drives that support SATA and drives that support NVMe. So if matched speed is essential to you then you can do it by using one M.2 SATA drive and one standard SATA interface SATA drive.

As the previous post suggests, you may be confused about which RAID level is which. At least, you need to make clear which RAID level you want.

RAID0 is striping - content is spread across both disks - speed is limited to that of the slowest disk (but in theory you may get twice the throughput of a single disk) - there is no redundancy and the failure of either disk wipes out all content, so the MTBF is lower than for a single disk (but you do backups, right?)

RAID1 is mirroring - content is duplicated across the disks - read speed is (potentially) that of the fastest disk / write speed is that of the slowest disk - there is redundancy and the failure of one disk does not even need to be noticed (but you had better notice it!) and you still need to do backups (you do backups, right?)

(Language chosen to assume two disks, when RAID as a concept can be applied to more than two disks, but realistically you may not get more than two disks in a laptop.)

I don’t know that you are really worse off, in either RAID0 or RAID1, having one NVMe speed disk and one SATA speed disk, as compared with two SATA speed disks.

Pretty obviously you would be better off in either scenario having two NVMe speed disks. Who wouldn’t want that even if not doing RAID at all? Whether there are enough PCIe lanes is another question.

I would guess that RAID0 support would be a can of worms, as it would require support in the boot process - unless the RAID0 is implemented in the firmware but that in itself could be a blob can of worms. (So people may use a non-RAID0 boot partition and LLVM or similar later in the boot process in other partitions.)

I would guess that RAID1 is easier since up until the first write operation the RAID can basically be ignored.


#4

Sorry. You are right. What I wanted to say was RAID1 only. I goofed up w.r.t numbers


#5

Thanks for the detailed reply

I wanted to refer to mirrored disk setup (RAID1), but I goofed up

You are right RAID1 can be setup with current version aswell but with lower SATA speeds which is a huge drawback

I would like to have two PICe ports instead of the SATA port so that we get the speed & redundancy without compromising on the speed. Not sure if there are any technical limitations to enable 2 PCIe ports

Do we need backup even after having RAID1 setup? I dont take backups

Off topic:
Appreciate if you can point me in the direction incase if backups are also required


#6

Yes!

You need to ask yourself: What failure am I protecting myself against?

RAID1 protects against the hardware failure of a single disk. That’s good but it’s not good enough - because that is only one failure scenario among many failure scenarios.

Let’s say you accidentally delete a critical file. Your whizzbang 3.5 GB/s 2 x NVMe RAID1 drive setup will give effect to the deletion at lightning speed. If you want the file back, you need a backup.

Ditto some kind of application failure or other human failure that messes up / corrupts a file.

Ditto, dare I say it, some kind of malware, including but not limited to ransomware.

Ditto some kind of catastrophic event that destroys the entire computer e.g. house fire, theft.


#7

I would love to see the classic 7-row Thinkpad keyboard on the Librem 13/15, but I’m pretty sure that Lenovo prevents the OEMs that made its 7-row keyboards (ALPS, Chicony and NMB) from selling them to anyone else. Purism makes a custom motherboard for its laptops, but Purism has to buy what is available for a lot of its components like keyboards, and since nobody makes 7-row keyboards, Purism can’t get them. A big company like Lenovo can get OEMs to make anything it wants, but a company like Purism that sells a couple thousand laptops per year can’t do that.


#8

Are you aware of any high quality cloud backup solutions out there that dont sell you data to Govt (or) third parties for showing ads?


#9

If you use an online solution where you do not have complete control (let’s take that to mean: always), then the content should be client-side encrypted before uploading. In that case, you don’t need to worry about your data being sold.