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Do I need a SAS Expander for my server?

Swolsen

Cadet
Joined
Jan 13, 2018
Messages
4
Hello!
I recently bought a pretty muych complete server on eBay and am trying to check if everything works as it should. I stumpled upon some issue and am not sure if they are due to improper configuration or maybe faulty parts. The parts that I got are the following:
  • X9DRi-LN4F+ with the newest BIOS version (32 Gigabyte RAM and 2 pcs Xeon 2609 v2)
  • Adaptec 5405
  • CBL-0421L
  • BPN-SAS2-846EL
I added 2 pcs 4TB HGST Deskstar to see that everything works as I expected it to while I wait for additional drives to arrive (will be 12 in total).

I am having the following problem: I am not able to 'see' the drives in FreeNAS in a couple of different configurations. I tried the following
  1. I used the Apdaptec 5405 and connect it to the backplanes J0 with the CBL-0421L. I can see the drives with an incorrect capacity (2TB instead of 4TB) in the Adaptec configuration when booting but not in FreeNAS. Googling showed me that someone made it work after adding them to a JBOD. I did that as well but nothing changed.
  2. I connected the motherboards SCU to the backplane with the CBL-0421L and nothing shows up as well. After googling I found https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/how-to-use-scu-port-on-x9dri-ln4f.40007/#post-318017/ where Stux' comment suggest that this is not supposed to work anyway and - as I understand it - a proper SAS expander is needed.
Before I go on and buy more stuff that doesn't help, I would like to know if I understand my problem correctly and am indeed lacking a SAS expander and everything should work fine once I got a compatible one in my server?
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
15,881
The Adaptec is crapdaptec and won't work.

The SCU ports on the X9DRi-LN4F+ are SATA ports and SAS devices (including the expander) cannot be attached to SATA controller ports.

The bad news is that there is no such thing as a "BPN-SAS2-846EL", hopefully you meant "*846EL1" or "*846EL2", both of which are pretty good news. If you have a "-SAS-" unit, that's a 3Gbps train wreck and you don't want it.

The baddish news is the Adaptec won't work and you don't have any way to make that work. You need an HBA, and you should get an LSI HBA, which are readily available in a bunch of FreeNAS-compatible configurations, especially the 9211-8i or OEM equivalents such as the IBM ServeRAID M1015 or the Dell PERC 200.

Please do feel free to refer to

https://forums.freenas.org/index.ph...-sas-sy-a-primer-on-basic-sas-and-sata.26145/

and I know there's a crossflashing tutorial around here somewhere. Your existing cable should work fine with it, however, you really do need to do the crossflashing thing.
 

Swolsen

Cadet
Joined
Jan 13, 2018
Messages
4
The Adaptec is crapdaptec and won't work.

The SCU ports on the X9DRi-LN4F+ are SATA ports and SAS devices (including the expander) cannot be attached to SATA controller ports.

The bad news is that there is no such thing as a "BPN-SAS2-846EL", hopefully you meant "*846EL1" or "*846EL2", both of which are pretty good news. If you have a "-SAS-" unit, that's a 3Gbps train wreck and you don't want it.

The baddish news is the Adaptec won't work and you don't have any way to make that work. You need an HBA, and you should get an LSI HBA, which are readily available in a bunch of FreeNAS-compatible configurations, especially the 9211-8i or OEM equivalents such as the IBM ServeRAID M1015 or the Dell PERC 200.

Please do feel free to refer to

https://forums.freenas.org/index.ph...-sas-sy-a-primer-on-basic-sas-and-sata.26145/

and I know there's a crossflashing tutorial around here somewhere. Your existing cable should work fine with it, however, you really do need to do the crossflashing thing.

Thanks for the quick reply and the clarification!

Yes, you are correct. It's the BPN-SAS2-846EL1 that I got. I luckily stumpled upon some information about the compatibility issues that the -SAS- version has with >2TB drives right before I bought one.

I was kinda expecting to have no real use for the Adaptec and to have to buy an HBA anyway, until I saw the SCU port on the mainboard. But I know atleast :)

It looks like I could be getting the LSI 9207-8i locally which seems to be compatible with FreeNAS according to https://forums.freenas.org/index.ph...y-lsi-sas-9211-4i-lsi-sas-9207-8i-pcie.39628/ . Do you know if there is any big difference between the two? They seem to be quite similar specwise as far as I can see on the product descriptions that I found.
 

danb35

Hall of Famer
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
13,129
The 9207 will be just fine.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
15,881
And to expand on @danb35 ... the "-4i" for the 9211 means that it only has a single internal SFF8087 (4 "lanes" at 6Gbit/sec each = 24Gbit/s) instead of the -8i with its 8 lanes. You only need the 4 for your expander, but perhaps you'd prefer the 8. It'll work either way.
 

Swolsen

Cadet
Joined
Jan 13, 2018
Messages
4
That is good to know. At the moment it is mostly about availability for as I want to get everything up and running as fast as possible but I guess that a second SFF8087 wont hurt. Thank you both for your help!
 

Scharbag

Guru
Joined
Feb 1, 2012
Messages
530
Hello!
I recently bought a pretty muych complete server on eBay and am trying to check if everything works as it should. I stumpled upon some issue and am not sure if they are due to improper configuration or maybe faulty parts. The parts that I got are the following:
  • X9DRi-LN4F+ with the newest BIOS version (32 Gigabyte RAM and 2 pcs Xeon 2609 v2)
  • Adaptec 5405
  • CBL-0421L
  • BPN-SAS2-846EL
I added 2 pcs 4TB HGST Deskstar to see that everything works as I expected it to while I wait for additional drives to arrive (will be 12 in total).

I am having the following problem: I am not able to 'see' the drives in FreeNAS in a couple of different configurations. I tried the following
  1. I used the Apdaptec 5405 and connect it to the backplanes J0 with the CBL-0421L. I can see the drives with an incorrect capacity (2TB instead of 4TB) in the Adaptec configuration when booting but not in FreeNAS. Googling showed me that someone made it work after adding them to a JBOD. I did that as well but nothing changed.
  2. I connected the motherboards SCU to the backplane with the CBL-0421L and nothing shows up as well. After googling I found https://forums.freenas.org/index.php?threads/how-to-use-scu-port-on-x9dri-ln4f.40007/#post-318017/ where Stux' comment suggest that this is not supposed to work anyway and - as I understand it - a proper SAS expander is needed.
Before I go on and buy more stuff that doesn't help, I would like to know if I understand my problem correctly and am indeed lacking a SAS expander and everything should work fine once I got a compatible one in my server?

Question for you - did the X9DRi-LN4F+ work well for you? Looking at possibly picking up one of these to replace my X8 system as the old 1366 processors cannot support ESXi 6.7 or 7.0.

Cheers,
 
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