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Chasing down a SAS controller to replace an HP one...

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE

Homdax

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Dec 16, 2017
Messages
95
As mentioned here https://www.truenas.com/community/threads/disks-on-hpe-p410i-sas-controller-not-recognised.91399/ I have the wrong SAS controller that only allows disk access if RAID conf is in place. This is true for most OS's I have tested and the HPE P410i just seems to work that way: no raid = no drives.

@HoneyBadger and @Newfoundland.Republic made som good suggestions in that thread and normally that should be enough. However, when I went looking and documenting what I actually need to replace the card I realized additional information might be needed. I got my servers as-is and did not have any reason to dig in to SAS cards or configurations previously, apart from updating the FW I did not see any issues with that or how I have used them up till now. And thats fine, its a learning environment.

So I post here for additional info.

Having read the document about it I am better equipped and aiming for an HBA based on
The LSI 9211-8i (PCIe 2.0 based on LSI 6Gbps SAS2008) and LSI 9207-8i (PCIe 3.0 based on LSI 6Gbps SAS2308) both require firmware 20.00.07.00.

The LSI 9300-8i (PCIe 3.0 based on LSI 12Gbps SAS3000) requires firmware 16.00.01.00.
which should be fine.

However, I am asking for a clarification. Look at below pictures:

This is the HPE P410i card, which is standalone and not integrated in the Motherboard,
sascardp410i.jpg


That has 6 connectors, 4 of them goes to the backplanes of the drives:
backplane1.jpg


Two of those conectors goes to the Motherboard:
mboardconnected.jpg


So I am a bit confused as to how to connect a new HBA in this.

Would it be worthwhile to get a 12GB HBA? Will the performance increase accordingly?

Like a https://www.ebay.com/p/18020412708?thm=1500

1614503556189.png

or maybe this one that comes with cabling: https://www.ebay.com/p/18020412708?iid=124201513872

1614503980597.png
 
Last edited:

ChrisRJ

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2020
Messages
403
Would it be worthwhile to get a 12GB HBA? Will the performance increase accordingly?
Simply compare the speed of your disks with the bandwidth of the HBA. A single disk is not able to saturate a single 6 GBit/s conncection. Things change if you use SSDs or SAS expanders.
 

Homdax

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
95
All drives are connected via the same backplane so I am not sure I follow you. Yes 2 out of these 16 drives (per server) are SSD's - all are HPE -, but wouldn't connecting them all to the same HBA make the HBA run at the lowest available speed? Or maybe it doesn't work that way at all.

As it is I am more concerned about the cabling, since there seem to be different types "old" and "new" variants, at least looking at the pictures, and how to connect them.
 

Homdax

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
95
Made a post at HPE asking about the cabling stuff. Most likely gonna take a while before anyone answer
 

HoneyBadger

Mushroom! Mushroom!
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Feb 6, 2014
Messages
3,274
Did you have me name-tagged in the main post or was it edited in after the fact? This is the Nth time I haven't gotten a notification bell for someone @ tagging me, I might have to drop a forum bug report.

Anyhow.

What you've got here is an onboard SAS RAID card (P410i) and that separate PCIe card in your slot is a SAS expander. The 2.5" backplanes in the DL380 G7 are non-expanding, so you need 4x SFF-8087 cables (at four channels each) in order to hook up all 16 bays.

Take the cables that go from expander to motherboard, unplug them from the motherboard, and plug them into your new HBA. Should work a treat - I say "should" because HP has a habit of making things harder than they should, but I don't believe their expander cards have any kind of vendor lock-out. You'll be limited to 3Gbps SAS. While that won't impact your spinning disks, if your SSDs are SATA they'll get downshifted to a rather ugly 1.5Gbps and might experience some latency issues. What model are they and what are they being used for in the pool?
 

Homdax

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
95
I tagged you in the original post, but it was also edited a few times. Maybe that has some to do with it.

A SAS Expander? I thought that was the controller... boy, I feel silly. Do I even need that? I would have to put the LSI card just under or above it then, suddenly it got a bit crammed with space...

The SSD's are two HPE SAS 250GB and I use them as OS drives in a RAID 0+1 configuration, or rather I have used them up till now. I can get more specific details, but all the other drives are HPE 2'5" at 600GB SAS.


Soo many cables....

 
Last edited:

HoneyBadger

Mushroom! Mushroom!
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Feb 6, 2014
Messages
3,274
Unfortunately due to the system/backplane design you do need a SAS expander if you want to use a single HBA. If you look closely (and my memory is correct) the 16 bays you have are actually split into two separate 8-bay backplanes, each with two ports.

You can either run a single HBA into the expander, or run two HBAs without an expander and handle one backplane from each. Either way, make sure there's sufficient cooling happening (which the fans in your DL "DreamLiner" will likely spin up to provide!) as those components get toasty otherwise.

The SSD's are two HPE SAS 250GB and I use them as OS drives in a RAID 0+1 configuration, or rather I have used them up till now. I can get more specific details, but all the other drives are HPE 2'5" at 600GB SAS.
Part number or make/model would be great. 250GB makes me think they're read-intensive drives so probably not suited for SLOG duties; boot devices or possibly L2ARC is a good role for that tier of NAND.
 

Homdax

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2017
Messages
95
Yup, those are two bays/two backplanes, each with 2 connectors going to the Backplane - and then one cable from each backplane to the motherboard, so I guess that makes sense. One HBA each might also make sense, taking load and heat of a single unit. My only concern in that is to get the right cabling. Wait, why 2 cables per backplane? One cable should be able to cope with 8 drives or not?

As for the drives the spin drives are EG0600FBDSR and the SSD's are PM863. All latest FW, which took a bit of effort.

So, I guess I would be better off getting a sligthly cheaper 2 x 9211 or 9207 HBA's ? Or would I be able to pump it up to 12? Noise is not a big concern.
 

HoneyBadger

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Feb 6, 2014
Messages
3,274
Each SFF-8087 cable carries four SAS lanes - since there are no expander chips in the backplane, that means a single cable can service four drives. All of the internal cables you have are SFF-8087 to SFF-8087, so you should likely be able to repurpose what you have already. If you decide on "dual HBA" then just remove all of the cables from "expander" to "backplanes" and connect two to each HBA.

As for the drives the spin drives are EG0600FBDSR and the SSD's are PM863. All latest FW, which took a bit of effort.
Those are actually SATA SSDs if the model number is right, unless HP added SAS interposers to the tray. Fine boot or L2ARC drives, not good for SLOG.

So, I guess I would be better off getting a sligthly cheaper 2 x 9211 or 9207 HBA's ? Or would I be able to pump it up to 12? Noise is not a big concern.
No need for the 12Gbps SAS HBAs here, spinning disks will be more than happy with even 8 lanes of 6Gbps and you've got sixteen.
 
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