Register for the iXsystems Community to get an ad-free experience
Resource icon

What's all the noise about HBA's, and why can't I use a RAID controller?

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

Miroman

Cadet
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
9
I just recently crossflashed an IBM M1015 to LSI9211-8i IT mode .. took a little Google-Fu to find the right files that finally worked, but working great now. :cool:
How did you do flashing the card under DOS or Win?

 

Yorick

Wizard
Joined
Nov 4, 2018
Messages
1,874
Buy the LSI SAS 9300-8i RAID controller, with IT mode firmware. It’s a very special kind of controller called an “HBA” that leaves all the RAID functionality to ZFS and works perfect for it. In fact technical people might say it’s not a RAID controller at all: But who cares, it does exactly what you need for ZFS!
 

Miroman

Cadet
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
9
You can suggest something cheaper than than LSI SAS 9300-8i RAID IT mode ZFS FreeNAS?
 

HoneyBadger

Mushroom! Mushroom!
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
4,013
Given that you only want to use a pair of SATA drives in an ML110 G7 I would suggest the built-in ports on your motherboard, and set their behavior in BIOS to AHCI (not IDE or RAID)

Inexpensive HBA options would be anything based on SAS2008 such as the Dell PERC H200 or IBM M1015.
 

Miroman

Cadet
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
9
What do you think about LSI 9211-8i P20 IT Mode for ZFS FreeNAS unRAID Dell H310 6Gbps SAS HBA New?
 

Patrick M. Hausen

Hall of Famer
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
5,178
@HoneyBadger I wanted to ask the same, but didn't have the time to check that HP system. @Miroman Just use the on-board ports and disable RAID.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
16,482
The H200's and H310's go for about $25 on eBay. I can't imagine anything much cheaper.
 

ThreeDee

Guru
Joined
Jun 13, 2013
Messages
685
What do you think about LSI 9211-8i P20 IT Mode for ZFS FreeNAS unRAID Dell H310 6Gbps SAS HBA New?
I use the LSI 9211-8i and it's been working great .. I run a few sata's and 1 sas off of it.
 

Patrick M. Hausen

Hall of Famer
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
5,178
I want to buy something cheaper than LSI SAS 9300-8i RAID IT mode ZFS FreeNAS... Dell PERC H200 or IBM M101 aren't much cheaper.
Why don't you use the SATA ports already in the server?
 

HoneyBadger

Mushroom! Mushroom!
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
4,013
I intend to buy more disks SATA for this server in the future. Two disks SATA are not enough.

The ML110 G7 only has four internal bays, unless you plan to use a cradle or adaptor tray to add more in the 5.25" bays. Be careful of your cooling requirements as well if you go this route.

You can mix and match your controllers as well - using the onboard controller at first, and then adding in an H200/H310 or similar card later. As indicated a working-pull from a used server refurbishing company will only run you USD$25 or so at most.
 

Miroman

Cadet
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
9
The ML110 G7 only has four internal bays, unless you plan to use a cradle or adaptor tray to add more in the 5.25" bays. Be careful of your cooling requirements as well if you go this route.

You can mix and match your controllers as well - using the onboard controller at first, and then adding in an H200/H310 or similar card later. As indicated a working-pull from a used server refurbishing company will only run you USD$25 or so at most.

Will Freenas see the data on disks connected to the H200 / H310 controller if previously these disks were connected directly to the server's motherboard via SATA ports? I wonder if the BIOS of this server's motherboard will allow you to directly connect SATA 2TB disks? Theoretically, this server supports SATA / SAS drives up to 4 TB each according to the specifications. According to the specification, the server can handle drives with a total capacity of 16TB.
 

HoneyBadger

Mushroom! Mushroom!
Joined
Feb 6, 2014
Messages
4,013
Will Freenas see the data on disks connected to the H200 / H310 controller if previously these disks were connected directly to the server's motherboard via SATA ports? I wonder if the BIOS of this server's motherboard will allow you to directly connect SATA 2TB disks?
"Yes" to both questions. The advantage to an HBA is that it is about as "dumb" as a controller can get - it very much will act like "more SATA ports" to your system and drives. And your ML110 G7 is definitely new enough to support drives >2TB in size.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
16,482
anyone can recommend and HBA to run TrueNAS on a VM over ESXi?

Assuming your hardware is capable of safely handling PCIe passthru, check out the first post in this thread for HBA's known to work with FreeNAS.
 

zbyte

Dabbler
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
35
Thank you, I did before and I get, the reason I am asking is ESXi, I don't know how ESXi will handle the LSI 9207-8i for example.
Currently my onboard SATA ports which I was intending to use in passthru ESXi simply won't allow it hence I need an external HBA, just afraid ESXi will give me trouble with one of the LSI's
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Moderator
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
16,482
It might, but all you're saying is "ESXi", which is a complex software ecosystem with four major versions, 4, 5, 6, and 7, all of which have interesting caveats and issues, which, combined with the unmentioned mainboard you propose to use it with, leaves a large potential problem matrix with no answer that is correct in all cases. Problems were so endemic years ago that I wrote the "Please don't virtualize FreeNAS" sticky, which is still best practice if you want to retire with some amount of hair left. I can guarantee you that ESXi works absolutely fine with the LSI 9207-8i, and I can simultaneously guarantee you that it can't be made to work. The devil is in the details.
 
Top