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defcon

Proposed server build

Question

Hardware list  -

 

 

This is an old server purchased from ebay so the controller is only SATA2. But its pretty popular I think. I will buy DrivePool + Scanner and maybe also use Snapraid.

 

Will there be any issues with this build? I read that some controllers have limited SMART info and may not work with Scanner, is this one of them? Also does this support modern disks of 4-10TB or not?

Edited by Christopher (Drashna)
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I hope you don't mind that I edited the post so that the links work properly. 

 

The case is a nice one (I'm a huge fan of Supermicro hardware).  

Though, I'm not a fan of AMD... but even still, that hardware should be great (and probably "overkill" unless you're doing a lot of CPU intensive stuff). 

 

As for the controllers, I'd really recommend SAS, but that's personal preference. 

That said, I'm not sure.  These aren't exactly common.

Also, from what I'm seeing, they're very picky with the drives. And may not support drives larger than 1TB (from a number of reviews, that's what I'm seeing). 

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I hope you don't mind that I edited the post so that the links work properly. 

 

The case is a nice one (I'm a huge fan of Supermicro hardware).  

Though, I'm not a fan of AMD... but even still, that hardware should be great (and probably "overkill" unless you're doing a lot of CPU intensive stuff). 

 

As for the controllers, I'd really recommend SAS, but that's personal preference. 

That said, I'm not sure.  These aren't exactly common.

Also, from what I'm seeing, they're very picky with the drives. And may not support drives larger than 1TB (from a number of reviews, that's what I'm seeing). 

 

Thanks for the quick reply ! This all came bundled with the server so I'm not sure what to upgrade the controllers to or if its needed. The IBM M1015 (flashed to IT mode) seems popular. If I change the controller I'd need to change the backplane too right - since it has 24 SATA connectors and not SAS. That will get expensive. I got this whole thing for ~300 on ebay and only upgraded the cpu (choices were limited).

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Thanks for the quick reply ! This all came bundled with the server so I'm not sure what to upgrade the controllers to or if its needed. The IBM M1015 (flashed to IT mode) seems popular. If I change the controller I'd need to change the backplane too right - since it has 24 SATA connectors and not SAS. That will get expensive.

Welcome!

 

And that makes sense. :) 

 

As for replacing the controller, any PCI-e based card should work, as you appear to have 2 slots for it.  

The IBM ServeRAID M1015 is a great choice actually (I have one and am very happy with it). 

 

As for hooking up the drives? Yes and no.  There are breakout cables. These convert the 4 lane SAS ports into 4x SATA connectors.  The issue is that the IBM card won't have enough ports. 

 

You'd need a "SAS Expander" to hook up all of the drives.  Something like the Intel RES2SV240.  You hook this up to the SAS controller, and it acts like a network switch, allowing for up to 20 drives to be connected. 

 

The alternative is, yes to replace the backplane in the case with a SAS one.  Instead of having individual SATA connectors, it would have 3 SAS ports.  (Such as the Supermicro BPN-SAS2-846EL1 backplane). 

 

Either way would cost you roughly the same amount, though.  

 

 

So really, if you can get the cards  working, that would be the best option.    Just keep in mind that you may not be able to use drives larger than 1TB... 

 

 

Though, have you contacted Supermicro? It may be a good idea, so you can confirm the max disk size. 

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I called SuperMicro, they said the SAT2-MV8 is old and most likely will not support drives >2TB. Since the backplane is also old I am not sure it will actually work.

 

2 options you listed are -

 

1. buy 3 HBA's to replace it, like a Dell H200 and then use breakout cables to each drive. 

2. buy new backplane which is SAS then buy a SAS HBA with 8087. 

 

2nd one seems cleaner with less cables, and the newer SAS HBA would have better support for things like SMART? e.g. I saw your server has a IBM M1015 which I assume works with no limitations and supports the 8/10TB drives too.

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The backplane you have listed is a "TQ" backplane, meaning that it passes SATA connection straight through.  It should support SATAII at least, and from what I understand, it should support beyond, as long as it supports the pin configuration. 

 

you can check either on the PCB board itself, or if it has 24 SATA ports on .... well, both sides.  

 

 

As for the options, Yes and No. 

 

The problem is that finding a PCI-X SAS card. Which boils down to "next to impossible".  PCI-X is pretty comparable to PCI-e, but has been depreciated.

The other problem is that the board you've linked only supports two PCI-e cards.  you'll be left with 4-8 ports unconnected. 

If you replace a card (like with the Dell H200, which is a PCI-e, LSI card, like the IBM ServeRAID), you'll need a SAS expander regardless.

 

As for replacing the backplane, it really depends on the one that you have.   If it's a "TQ" model with SATA ports on both sides, then you don't need to replace it. You'd need a SAS HBA and a SAS Expander card, and a bunch of SAS Breakout cables to hook up all of the drives. 

 

But if it's a SAS backplane, you'll likely need to replace it.  In this case, *just* get a SAS HBA and replace the backplane. Since the SAS2 backplane I mentioned (eg, the BPN-SAS2846EL1) includes a SAS Expander chipset, you can plug it directly into the HBA and hook up all 24 drives with a single cable. 

 

 

2nd one seems cleaner with less cables, and the newer SAS HBA would have better support for things like SMART? e.g. I saw your server has a IBM M1015 which I assume works with no limitations and supports the 8/10TB drives too.

 

SMART is only for SATA drives. 
Also, if it's passed on (and how) depends on the controller.  And yes, my IBM ServeRAID card has absolutely no issue with 8TB drives or passing on SMART data

(Caveat, the specific firmware revision and driver version affect how the SMART data is passed on .... and may require the "Unsafe Direct IO" setting to be enabled). 

 

But basically, the answer here is "Yes". 

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