Jump to content
Covecube Inc.
  • Announcements

    • Christopher (Drashna)

      Getting Help   11/07/17

      If you're experiencing problems with the software, the best way to get ahold of us is to head to https://stablebit.com/Contact, especially if this is a licensing issue.    Issues submitted there are checked first, and handled more aggressively. So, especially if the problem is urgent, please head over there first. 
  • 0
Bigsease30

Semi-New Build Setup Recommendations

Question

Hello All. I am to a point where I either have to upgrade cases to support more HD's or to lose space by replacing my current HD's with larger one. I have decided to go with the option of replacing the case. My current setup includes the following:

 

Case:  SUPERMICRO CSE-743T-500B

Motherboard: ASUS P8Z68-V LX

Ram: Kingston DDR3 2x 4gb sticks

Controller: 1x - HighPoint RocketRAID 2720SGL

OS Drive: 2x - Seagate Barracuda ST1000DM003

Storage Drives: 8x - Seagate Barracuda Green ST2000DL003

 

 

The case that I just ordered from Newegg is the: Norco RPC-4220

 

I guess my question is that I want to utilize all of the components above in the new case but how do I go about making the Raid card work with 20 drives? Do I just add 2 more 2720's and use the motherboard connections or would it be best to buy a new raid card that will host them all? I only want to use the JBOD function. Any help would be appreciated.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

23 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0

...you can try an expander, like the Intel RES2CV240, RES2SV240...these work well with LSI based HBAs or RAID-Controllers...don't know if the 2720 will.

 

Looks like I will go with a LSI 9201-16i and use a reverse breakout cable for the additional 4 drives. Let me know what you think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Well, the Norco RPC-4220 is a very nice case, but I would have recommended the 4224. (and the "hanging drive bay accessory).

 

Also, a backplane would have worked well in your case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817121405

 

 

I would avoid the reverse breakout cables actually. It may have been just my system, but I was using Norco reverse breakout cables, on a norco case, and was getting issues with them (2 out of the 4 ports were flaky). It could have been a bad cable, but .... I tried another one, and same issue. 

 

 

Another alternative is to get a IBM ServeRAID M1015 card, "cross flash" it, then one of those expander cards p3x-749 mentioned. Connect one port to the expand card. And the 5 ports on the expander to connect to the case. 

http://www.servethehome.com/ibm-m1015-part-1-started-lsi-92208i/

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816117207&cm_re=RES2SV240-_-16-117-207-_-Product

 

 

Personally, I'm using two M1015 cards (and a third one jus sitting there for future use).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Well, the Norco RPC-4220 is a very nice case, but I would have recommended the 4224. (and the "hanging drive bay accessory).

 

Also, a backplane would have worked well in your case:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817121405

 

 

I would avoid the reverse breakout cables actually. It may have been just my system, but I was using Norco reverse breakout cables, on a norco case, and was getting issues with them (2 out of the 4 ports were flaky). It could have been a bad cable, but .... I tried another one, and same issue. 

 

 

Another alternative is to get a IBM ServeRAID M1015 card, "cross flash" it, then one of those expander cards p3x-749 mentioned. Connect one port to the expand card. And the 5 ports on the expander to connect to the case. 

http://www.servethehome.com/ibm-m1015-part-1-started-lsi-92208i/

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816117207&cm_re=RES2SV240-_-16-117-207-_-Product

 

 

Personally, I'm using two M1015 cards (and a third one jus sitting there for future use).

 

 I already own a 5in3 bay but I was getting alot of read errors withit and removed it.

 

After further inspection of my motherboard thats stats 2 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 on the box actually only has a x16 and a x4. So adding another card will not work 100% since they require x8.

 

Thanks for the help guys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

From what the specs say, the port is a 16x slot, but 4x electrically. 

It means that you could use the larger card, but you will be limited in the bandwidth. However, unless you're using a RAID array for some high end speeds, you should have more than enough bandwidth for a large number of drives.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PCI_Express

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I have another question. Now that I got a bigger case , Norco 4220, and a LSI 9201-16i.  I would like to experiment with esxi 5.5 and run my Windows 2012 essentials R2 and maybe a Mac os or freenas. I have never installed or used esxi before and the videos and info that i have found dont really answer my questions. When you install esxi, does it use a whole hard drive or just a small portion? If it uses just a portion, can I install the 2 vitual machines on this drive as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I have another question. Now that I got a bigger case , Norco 4220, and a LSI 9201-16i.  I would like to experiment with esxi 5.5 and run my Windows 2012 essentials R2 and maybe a Mac os or freenas. I have never installed or used esxi before and the videos and info that i have found dont really answer my questions. When you install esxi, does it use a whole hard drive or just a small portion? If it uses just a portion, can I install the 2 vitual machines on this drive as well?

 

I have the exact same case and card, and also run ESXi 5.5.  It will use the entire hard drive you choose.  There will be several partitions.  What it does not need for the OS, it will use as the Local Datastore.  I installed mine on a 60GB SSD and only use the Local Datastore for storing the ISO files I use for installing the OS for my VMs.  I use 3x 240 GB SSD in a RAID 0 for my VMs (VM Datastore) and use a great free script called GhettoVCB for backing up my VMs (Backup Datastore) to a 1TB HDD in an eSATA dock.

 

The VM Datastore and Backup Datastore have to be created manually after install and can be named whatever you want.  Using the ESXi Windows Client, select your server and go to the Configuration tab and choose Storage.  I put all my SSDs inside the case so I can have the full 20 HDDs in the front for DrivePool.  I have passed these disks through to my WS2012E VM for DrivePool since my disks are on 2 separate controllers, one of which is also used for my OS and VM Datastore disks.  If you have separate controllers dedicated for DrivePool, then you can just pass the entire controller(s) through to the VM; this results in faster VM boot times.

 

Refer to this post about how to get SMART data in DrivePool with ESXi,  It also tells you how to pass your HDDs through.  Read these instructions if you want to use PCI passthrough.  I hope this helps!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I have the exact same case and card, and also run ESXi 5.5.  It will use the entire hard drive you choose.  There will be several partitions.  What it does not need for the OS, it will use as the Local Datastore.  I installed mine on a 60GB SSD and only use the Local Datastore for storing the ISO files I use for installing the OS for my VMs.  I use 3x 240 GB SSD in a RAID 0 for my VMs (VM Datastore) and use a great free script called GhettoVCB for backing up my VMs (Backup Datastore) to a 1TB HDD in an eSATA dock.

 

The VM Datastore and Backup Datastore have to be created manually after install and can be named whatever you want.  Using the ESXi Windows Client, select your server and go to the Configuration tab and choose Storage.  I put all my SSDs inside the case so I can have the full 20 HDDs in the front for DrivePool.  I have passed these disks through to my WS2012E VM for DrivePool since my disks are on 2 separate controllers, one of which is also used for my OS and VM Datastore disks.  If you have separate controllers dedicated for DrivePool, then you can just pass the entire controller(s) through to the VM; this results in faster VM boot times.

 

Refer to this post about how to get SMART data in DrivePool with ESXi,  It also tells you how to pass your HDDs through.  Read these instructions if you want to use PCI passthrough.  I hope this helps!

 

Thanks for the great information. Just so I understand correctly, I am able to install esxi 5.5 on a 1 TB hard drive and use the rest of the available drive "datastore" to create my virtual OS's and run them?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Thanks for the great information. Just so I understand correctly, I am able to install esxi 5.5 on a 1 TB hard drive and use the rest of the available drive "datastore" to create my virtual OS's and run them?

 

Yes, you can do that, but performance will become quite slow once you get around 3 or more VMs on there due to the increased competition for storage resources against that disk, unless you use an SSD.  You can try and see how you like it.  If you do decide to later switch to a RAID or SSD for your virtual machines, then just shutdown your VMs, remove the VMs from the inventory, move the folders and files to another datastore, and then add them (using the VMX files) back to the inventory.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Otispresley is absolutely correct here.

 

If you're hosting multiple VMs on the same HDD, you will absolutely see a hit in performance for each VM you run off of the same drive. It has a limited bandwidth, and HDDs are much slower. 

 

 

And setting it up correctly the first time is a better idea. Less issues in the long run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Thanks for the help guys. I am only planning on installing 2012 r2 essentials for my shares (drivepool) and pc backups and probably freenas or equivalent to backup my wife and daughters mac through time machine.

 

I could always install Freenas to an internal usb id esxi allows that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I could always install Freenas to an internal usb id esxi allows that?

 

ESXi unfortunately does not support USB drives.  There is a very limited set of USB devices that it supports for passthrough.  You can install ESXi itself onto a USB device.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

ESXi unfortunately does not support USB drives.  There is a very limited set of USB devices that it supports for passthrough.  You can install ESXi itself onto a USB device.

 

What would you do?

 

1) install esxi on the HD then create w2102e and freenas on the same drive, or

2) install esxi on a USB then create w2102e and freenas on the same drive by themselves?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

What would you do?

 

1) install esxi on the HD then create w2102e and freenas on the same drive, or

2) install esxi on a USB then create w2102e and freenas on the same drive by themselves?

 

I always prefer to have the OS and applications on separate drives, so I would do #2.  You will get the best performance that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Personally, I'd go with #1, but use a SSD rather than a HDD.

 

That is unless, it's a USB3 flash drive.

 

The speed of the USB stick really doesn't matter much with ESXi, because it loads everything into memory during boot.  It will take some time to boot either way, but the system will perform exactly the same once it is up and running.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Another alternative is to get a IBM ServeRAID M1015 card, "cross flash" it, then one of those expander cards p3x-749 mentioned. Connect one port to the expand card. And the 5 ports on the expander to connect to the case. 

http://www.servethehome.com/ibm-m1015-part-1-started-lsi-92208i/

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816117207&cm_re=RES2SV240-_-16-117-207-_-Product

 

 

Personally, I'm using two M1015 cards (and a third one jus sitting there for future use).

 

Drashna,

 

Sorry to pop in with an "off topic" question but what's the benefit of if flashing the M1015 to IT mode rather than passing it through JBOD?  Just because it adds another layer? (as in ties those drives to that card?)

 

Is there a performance difference?

 

Also, can you freely flash back? (I don't see why not)

 

Those cards appear to be quite versatile and from what I understand, reliable.  Certainly affordable.

 

Thanks,

~RF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

The "IT" mode makes it "just" a HBA card. No RAID or anything. It passes the disks through to the OS directly. 

 

Also, "JBOD" is actually a JBOD, and considered an array, IIRC. There is a passthrough option for the IR (RAID) mode, IIRC, but as I don't intend on using RAID at all, it's simpler for me.

 

As for performance gain, there may be, but I haven't tested it out.

 

And as for flashing it back, or at least to IR mode, yes, you should be able to do that as well.

In fact, the "server the home" link above includes instructions on how to flash it to the other modes (or even back to "factory"). 

 

And yeah ,the card is very reliable. I've been using the cards for a while now and am very happy with the stability.

Also, LSI is an enterprise storage company, so I'd expect them to work very well.

 

Though, after researching it, I only need one card. A single PCI Express 2.0 8x card can support running 30-35 HDDs maxing their throughput (~100MB/s) at the same time. Since you would need an SAS Expander card to hit this number.... you'd only need one of the M1015 cards.  That SAS expander card would get you 5 SAS connection from the one (so 20 HDDs). Two expanders would get you 40 drives (in theory). 

And if you're using the drives with DrivePool, no need for RAID, so you're not going to be maxing all the drives at the same time. More than enough drives for just about anyone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Thanks for the clarification Drashna. 

 

I was just curious as I have a LSI 9240-8i that I was considering using in a recent Norco 4220 build. This was my first experience with LSI stuff and I like it so far, for the most part.  I believe the M1015 is a clone of this card? 

 

I ended up going with Highpoint cards on this build though, pretty much because I had matching Highpoint cards on hand (a 2740 & 2720.) I am doing another build over the next couple of weeks and I think I'm going to go with LSI.

 

Question:  I've never used a SAS expander.  Do they work with most cards?

 

Everything I've ever done when it comes to RAID is enterprise class Adaptec.. no other real experience. (although I did some cool ISCSI stuff for a Casino a few years back with a Cisco storage router and an Apple SAN.. that was fun..)

 

Thanks!

 

~rf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Yes, the M1015 is a "clone". Or more specifically, and OEM rebrand with custom firmware. 

 

Also, the Norco RPC-4220 case is a very nice one. I have one, in fact. :)

 

 

As for the SAS expander card, they're basically a SAS "switch". You plug in one or more cables, and you can attach many more.

They function in the same way that a "Port Multiplier" chip works in an external enclosure. But with a LOT more drives, and potentially much higher throughput.

 

 

They're not exactly cheap (but neither are the controllers).

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816117207

 

In theory, SAS (what the LSI and highpoint cards are using) can address up to 255 drives (I think). That means, you can get far more than the 8 drives that the card can support by default.

 

As for compatibility, I'm not sure. In this case, you'd definitely want to contact the manufacturer and check beforehand.

 

 

 

And forgive me, I'm still rather new to the SAS and related tech, as I've only recently really started getting into it. However, I enjoy learning, and I find the enterprise tech very fun.

 

As for iSCSI, that is definitely pretty neat. And a great way to supply storage to systems without physical disks.

Though, what's really neat, is that if you do it right, you can boot windows off of an iSCSI volume. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×