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Hardware issues - supermicro case/MB/backplane, Hitachi drives

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Brian Blater

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Dec 17, 2014
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Hi everyone,

Been a long time user of Openfiler, but after a 5 year run it crashed hard, so I decided to give FreeNAS a go. I picked up a Supermicro case etc off ebay. Here's the specs:

3U Supermicro 16bay Server X7DB8+ 2x Intel Quad Core L5420
16GB Memory
Supermicro BPN-SAS-836TQ 16 SAS/SATA blackplane

I've got 5 Hitachi Ultrastar 1TB 7200rpm SATAII drives (HUA721010KLA330)

I've got FreeNAS 9.2.1.9 installed on a 8 GB SanDisk usb thumb drive.

Now, I've been able to run FreeNAS and have it see 4 drives using the on board SATA ports, but I'll be adding more drives eventually, so I've got some Areca ARC1280ml controllers and some IBM 1015 controllers in LSI9211-IT mode.

So, here's the problem I'm having. I've tried the Areca card and the IBM card connected with some SFF-8087 mini-SAS to SATA breakout cables to the supermicro backplane. No matter what, I cannot get the drives to be seen by the card (Areca for sure - not sure if the IBM in IT mode will show drives connected or not) or in FreeNAS. So, I'm not sure if I've got problems with the Hitachi drives connecting with the controllers, since they are seen by the MB SATA ports, a problem with the cards, or a problem with the breakout cables.

I don't think it is the IBM cards (unless these were bad - but the installed the new firmware without issue) as they are the go-to for FreeNAS. So, I'm wondering if there is a problem with the Hitatchi drives or more than likely the breakout cables.

Anyone know of any issues with this model Hitachi drive and SAS/SATA controllers etc?

Anyone know a respectable place that sells known good SFF-8087 mini-SAS to SATA breakout cables? The ones I have were bought off eBay, so no telling if they are good or not.

Thanks for any help or suggestions.
Brian
 

pjc

Contributor
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Aug 26, 2014
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The one thing I ran into with my backplane/HBA combo was when the SATA drives were jumpered down to 1.5Gbps. They wouldn't show up at all. Once I removed the jumper and they weren't speed restricted, the HBA saw them just fine.
 

marbus90

Guru
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Aug 2, 2014
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Hope you run the P16 firmware on the M1015. I don't see an entry for that Areca card on the FreeBSD 9.2 HCL, so it is likely to not work at all with freeNAS.
 

Brian Blater

Dabbler
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Dec 17, 2014
Messages
41
I'll have to check that. The HDDs are brand-new, so I would think they wouldn't be jumpered down to SATA I mode being that they are SATA II drives.
 

Brian Blater

Dabbler
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Dec 17, 2014
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Hope you run the P16 firmware on the M1015. I don't see an entry for that Areca card on the FreeBSD 9.2 HCL, so it is likely to not work at all with freeNAS.

I haven't heard of this P16 firmware. I just followed the guide from the forums for installing the LSI9211-IT mode firmware and BIOS.

I looked at the forum post and it does mention the P16 driver. How can I tell if that is the version I used?
 

Brian Blater

Dabbler
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
41
Ok, so I looked on LSI's site and it looks like their latest version is P20. I then found that I can see the version of the card by going into the config mode of the card and it looks like it is flashed to P15. I've downloaded the P16 firmware and will give that a go tomorrow.
 

cyberjock

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Mar 25, 2012
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19,526
I had an Areca 1280ML-24 and I can tell you that you shouldn't try it. Yes, it will "work". But you'll have no SMART data on your drives. I actually had a failing disk for an unknown period of time and I didn't even know it because of that card.

Go with the go-to and get rid of the Areca card.
 

Brian Blater

Dabbler
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Dec 17, 2014
Messages
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I had an Areca 1280ML-24 and I can tell you that you shouldn't try it. Yes, it will "work". But you'll have no SMART data on your drives. I actually had a failing disk for an unknown period of time and I didn't even know it because of that card.

Go with the go-to and get rid of the Areca card.

I hear ya. The only reason I have the Areca card is because it was a pull from another machine and I got it for free. Thought if it would at least work, I could get started with that. But, I've now got two IBM M1015 cards, and I'll just plan on using those.

I think my problem is the breakout cable I have. I've heard that you can get "reverse" breakout cables, meaning they go from SATA ports on a MB or other card to the SFF-8087 mini-SAS connector on a backplane. That may be what I've ended up doing is getting the wrong cable. I've already ordered some supermicro SFF-8087 mini-SAS to SATA breakout cables, but they won't be here for about a week. So, I'll have to wait until then to see if that was the problem.
 
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