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Upgrading expansion cards...help please...


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Hello everyone.

 

Had a little look through the forums and haven't really found a direct answer for my query so will try here instead.

 

I currently have a rather large server consisting of 20 Drives in a XCase RM420.  This currently comprises of 4 x 4TB (all connected directly to the satay ports on the mobo) and 16 x 2TB drives connected to two Supermicro SASLP-MV8 expansion cards (8 per card).  All works perfectly via WHS 2011 and I use drive pool to give me one big disk and in honesty it all works perfectly.

 

I upgraded the 4TB disks in last few months and all is/was good but of course as time goes on Im going to start running out of space again so I need to find a way to increase storage space and I don't really want to change cases or create an extra array in another case.  So initial thoughts are that it would be good to replace some of the existing 2TB drives but this is where the problem lies.

 

The SASLP-MV8 cards don't seem to support anything larger than a 2TB drive (there seem to be lots of contradicting posts all over the forums elsewhere stating they do with different firmware or they don't no matter what you do...either way I wont to be able to change things as simply as possible and the simple way looks to upgrade my expansion cards.

 

From what I have read, the best ones to go for are the IBM M1015 cards as trey do exactly what is needed....as above, I don't need any raid functionality, so the JBOD functionality is perfect for what I need...bt herein lies the point that I need some assistance from the techies here.

 

As stated above, my system is pretty big and pretty full and if I want to replace the cards (which is simple to do) I;m worried about what will happen to my existing drive pool.

 

If I remove the existing cards or card if I change just one at a time, will be able to just plug in the cards and the drive pool be recognised, or is it not as simple as that.

 

I really don't want to have to migrate all of the data OFF of the drives first as you can imagine having to remove 8 full 2TB drives from a drive pool is going to take a lot of time and effort as there is nowhere else in the drive pool for all of that data to go.

 

Whes the only way is the hardest way)If anyone is able to help with these queries Id be eternally grateful 

 

Whilst I am doing this it makes sense for me to upgrade to the latest version of drive pool as well...so am I able to do this with the system in tact or does everything have to be started from scratch...if it is a fresh build then id probably just live with the version I'm currently running

 

Whatever happens, are some point in the relative near future this will HAVE to be done, so I might as well start looking at my options....fingers crossed its the one with less work and effort (but of course sods law dictates the only way is the hardest way)If anyone is able to help with these queries Id be eternally grateful 

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I've moved drives from one expansion card to another and drive pool acted like nothing happen and continued working as before.

 

I wouldn't upgrade DP unless you need the new features.

 

Last time I tried I got a Blue screen every time I booted within 3 min! and I had to do a full system restore to get my system stable again.

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when you say you moved from one expansion card to another...was it same models/manufacturer?   As Id be moving from a Supermicro to an IBM card I wanna try to not give myself too many surprises...I too have replaced one of my Supermicro cards thinking it was faulty (it wasn't) but I didn't expect that to give me an issue...was more wondering about the change or manufacturer causing a problem

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2 Diff chipsets I think.

 

One was a Startech and another was a Highpoint Rocket RAID card.

 

I know my Startech is using a SIL3132 chip, and the Highpoint is using another.

 

I did it accidentally when I was moving my server to another  room, I plugged one of the esata ports from external case to another. I forgot what was plugged into what card.

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jandrews,

 

Are these disks in RAID arrays? If so, you may have issues.

 

If not, then you *should* be able to move them over, but that really depends on the card.

 

As for the card, I have a m1115, which is nearly identical to the m1015 card. I've cross flashed it to the "IT" mode. In this mode, it works as just an HBA card (controller card, no RAID option). And I'm very happy with it. 

 

I did move the drives from a HighPoint RocketRAID card, but they were not in any array.

But the RocketRAID card uses a Marvell chipset (similar to the supermicro card)

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While the IBM cards are nice and very powerful when turned into a HBA in IT-mode, the AOC-SASLP-MV8 *does* support 3TB and 4TB drives.

See: http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=20228.0 or http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?topic=14021.msg132799#msg132799 which is also referring to http://www.avsforum.com/t/1324649/3tb-drives-and-supermicro-aoc-saslp-mv8#post_20223360

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Thanks for all of the comments sao far,

 

p3x-749...I too have seen all of the comments accross the web about people successfully using my existing cards with 3TB drives and possibly 4's as well, but many of these are using unraid so whilst they may be usable with these cards, itis not in a similar build.  Whilst there is also much confusion about which is the correct driver and firmware, and about drives requesting a format before use, these are the things I am trying to get around with these older cards now.

 

drashna...I have also looked at some rocketriad cards, the 2680 was one I was considering but may I ask why you moved away from these cards to the M1115 that you mentioned.

 

I can confirm, my existing setup is using WHS 2011 with Drivepool creating one large drive in a JBOD setup....so no array to worry about at all.

 

Can anyone suggest other cards I should be looking at considering my OS and no need for a raid setup...as I ideally just want the option of cards allowing my system to fully expand to UPTO 20 4TB disks if the space is required.

 

Thanks again for all comments so far

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I moved away from it because I was having issues with it.

 

However... I feel ridiculously embarrassed to admit this, but the issue may have been a loose screw that somehow made it into the system and was sitting right infront of the PCI express port that the card was plugged into.

 

But it was periodically "dropping" out hard drives, where I had to physically pull the disk and reinsert it. And once in a while, i would have to reboot before it would see the disk.

I'm not sure if this issue was with the drives, the card, .......... or that screw. 

I've had some other issues with it (inserting a bad drive caused the card to crash the web management software in such a way that cased a BSOD caused by the tcpip.sys driver). So all in all, I didn't have a good experience. But, as I've said...

 

However, the m1115 that I have costed me $100 on ebay, while the rocketRAID was $150. 

 

 

But if you do get a HighPoint card, if you don't intend on using RAID, then get the Rocket 2720SGL. The reason is that it a) lacks the RAID firmware, so it should just pass the disks through, it's a bit cheaper, and it supports SATAIII spec (6gpbs)

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Yes, I agree that the isue with the AOC is mainly with using it in a windoze system....I *am* using one with linux and it doing fine with 3TB disks.

 

For alternatives, see here: http://community.covecube.com/index.php?/topic/330-opinions-and-advice-on-a-controller-card-and-power/&do=findComment&comment=2089

Especially for that large number of disks in a non-striped array, an expander might be a good option.

I am using the Intel RES2CV240 with a M1015 in a Norco4224-like case....works like a charm with one path connected and 20 disks on it.

When employing a second M1015 you could connect both cards and use 16 disks, with redundancy on the card connection.

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I have managed to get the new driver onto the SASLP-MV8 cards and have also managed to get the machine to boot with and integrate a 4TB drive into the drive pool environment....BUT the speed drop is significant.

 

Prior to upgrading the drivers, I was able to transfer large movie files across my network (from drivepool in the server to my main pc) at around 90-100 MB/s   but with the new drivers this speed has dropped to 11 MB/s so mving files will be amazingly slow..

 

I have made sure that the drive pool has finsihed rebalancing and that all drivepool activity has completed as this would obviously have a large impact on transfer speed.  I havent even bothered to include the 4TB drive into the pool yet so its not a mixture of drives that is causing any issue from the cards point of view.  It really does appear to be an issue for windows as many other using a linux OS are giving good reports

 

I feel Ive given it as good a try as is possible but with little or no  improvement in drivers, these cards are looking redudant for cards above 2TB.

 

Any other suggestions before I finally give up and revert to old drivers before getting some IBM M1015 cards....(albeit difficult to source)

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just a small update....have rolled back the drivers and as expected, im now in a reboot cycle due to the system not liking the larger drives....

 

Removed the 4TB drive and now machine boots into WHS2011 fine again....but shows an EXTRA drive that doesnt exist...and never did exist...so have removed that from the pool

 

Slightly annoying thing now is that I am still only getting around 11MB/s file trasnfer which is a huge drop to speeds prior to all recent changes....will leave machine rebalancing overnight and see if that has any impact and if so there is a chance that this was why the 4TB drive was running slowly as well..

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looks like Imight have gotten a bit ahead of myself.....as when I tried to trasnfer a file on another PC it was coming across at 112 MB/s   so I reinstalled newer drivers, placed the 4TB drive mback into the drivepool and having now rebooted the main PC that does all of the transfers, I am now still getting 112 MB/s   so this could be a success story... 

 

It now means that there is 1 4TB drive and 7 2TB drives on the first card so a mixture doesnt seem to be having any major issues...so I will run for a few days and also set a full rebalance to see if that causes any issues..

 

Will report back with some updates when I have them...so thanks agian for all comments and help so far

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