Re: Supermicro SAS controller



On Wed, 02 May 2012 14:21:36 +0000, Camaleón wrote:

On Tue, 01 May 2012 17:29:17 +0000, Ramon Hofer wrote:

On Tue, 01 May 2012 16:16:07 +0000, Camaleón wrote:

What kind of hardware do you have (motherboard brand and model) and
what kind of hard disk controller do you need, what are your
expectations?

SuperMicro boards (I'm also a SuperMicro user) are usually good enough
to use their embedded SAS/SATA ports, at least if you want to use a
software raid solution :-?

I have a Supermicro C7P67 board. But there aren't any SAS connectors
there.

Ah, okay. This one:

http://www.supermicro.com/products/motherboard/Core/P67/C7P67.cfm

The board has no SAS ports but it features 8 SATA ports (4 SATA2 and 4
SATA3), aren't those enough your your purpose? :-?

Yes, that's the mainboard I got.

The case has two places to add os drives, one for a cdrom and 20 hot
swapable disks.
It was available with either SAS or SATA connectors. But I would have
needed 23 SATA connectors on the mainboard or addon cards.
The case with 5 SAS connectors was available and the SATA one had much
later delivery date so I went for the SAS case.



This is a home media server. Earlier I used a debian box with a raid
and a disk for mythtv recordings. But I ran out of space and
resurrected an ReadyNas NV+. But this was so slow and I wanted to have
everything centralized. So I was looking for something else and found
this case:

http://cybershop.ri-vier.nl/4u-rackmnt-server-case-w20-hotswap-satasas-
drv-bays-rpc4220-p-18.html

They also had that SAS controller and on the Supermicro website they
wrote it would be SUSE and Red Hat compatible. So I thought it runs too
under Debian.

Well, the driver status for most of the hardware out there can be
"misleading" many times. This is like a double-sided sword, you have to
carefully read the technical specs of the device to find out the chipset
it uses and then, search for its status in the kernel. If you rely on
hardware manufacturer's driver you are stuck: they can drop it at any
time or don't compile for your linux distribution version, which seems
to be this case :-(

Sounds very true :-(


So performance isn't very important. But I don't know what exactly you
mean by expectations.

Well, I wonder why is that you chose to go with SAS drives instead using
SATA given that the motehrboard only has SATA ports. When someone adds a
SAS controller is usually because he/she wnats to build a mainstream
server or expectes more performance/reliability than the average :-)

Since I couldn't find any mainboards with more than 20 SATA ports and
enough slots for addon cards (1x PCI, 2x PCI-Ex1 only for the tv cards).


The controller should give access to the disks. They will mostly be
slow green drives. It's not even a very big problem if it's limited to
3 TB but of course it would be nice if I could also go bigger in some
years when I run out of space again and want to add another raid.

Okay... I'll ask you again: why a SAS controller instead using the
embedded SATA ports?

To be honest just because the case was ready at the dealer...


So the media server contains one analogue PCI tuner card (PVR-500) and
one (maybe in future a second one will be added) TeVii (S480) sat tuner
card.

Now I have one 500 GB disk as system drive but I'm thinking of adding
another one as RAID1.

This leads me to another question. Why RAID 1 for a media server?

Just because the case has two places for os disks. But on the other hand
it's seems to be interesting to set up a bootable raid1. And because it's
calming to have the safety of the raid as it serves all the media I have:
MythTV, LogitechMediaServer, etc. So my family relies on it and isn't
amused when the system is down ;-)


With the 20 hot swap slots in the case, the two system drives and an
optical drive I need 23 sata connectors. Or better four SAS connectors
and the eight SATA ports on the mainboard.

I think software raid will cause me less cost and problem because when
the controller fails I can replace it by anything that can talk SAS?

Okay, let's see what we have for now:

- A motherboard with 8 SATA ports
- A 4U case with up to 20 hot-swap drive bays for the disks (SATA/SAS)

I wonder why is that you have not considered using SATA hard disks :-)

Besides the fact of the longer delivery because I couldn't find cheaper
solution than the two Supermicro SAS cards. The rest of the disks and
optical drive.



Well, I'm not familiar with MD (I use hardware raid) but "md1 stopped"
and raid 5 with only 2 elements in the array does not sound very good
;-(

Ah, yes you're right :-o

Was this during bootup? I recreated the array again after bootup...

It could be...

Ugh... and when is that happening, I mean, that "I/O error"? At
install time, when partitioning, after the first boot?

This usually happens when I tried to create the filesystem on the raid
array by

sudo mkfs.ext4 -c -L test-device-1 /dev/md1

And when I then want to see details about the array (sudo mdadm
--detail / dev/md1) the system crashes and I get the I/O error.

This causes so much problem that I wasn't able to repair it when it
happened the first time (afterwards I had nothing to recover ;-) ).

I posted it here:

http://lists.debian.org/debian-user/2012/04/msg01290.html

Too much hassle/problems for a simple raid5 volume :-(

Yes, with my first system I had more luck to set it up: No problems iny
any way at all :-)


I've written a mail to Supermicro. Should I also create a Debian bug
report?

Yup, tough I think it will be forwarded upstream.

Thanks I will run reportbug.

But in the meantime I have installed the bpo kernel and it seems to be
working now...
At least it never run the disk check for so long, the raid is
rebuilding and I can see the details as much as I want...

Glag it's more stable now with an updated kernel but I'd be keep
monitoring the array during some days... and if you experience another
issue with the disks, I would reconsider in replacing the hard disk
controller or moving to SATA disks, instead.

Thanks.
I think I'll go with the solution Stan posted (LSI 9240-4i and Intel SAS
expander).


Mmm, then the above FTP link you sent was correct, weird...

Well, that ZIP file is for updating the "firmware" of the card, not
the driver. You should not update it unless you are completely sure
about what you are doing, and even more when there's data on the
array. Also, ensure that's the correct firmware version for you
card...

You're about an hour too late :-o
But I already had the newest firmware on the card.

Oh. Hope all went well O:-)

Yes, I hope to be able to sell them to Windows users :-)


But I'm confused about the two different versions too. lspci shows:

(I'm copying the rest of the message here)

01:00.0 RAID bus controller: Marvell Technology Group Ltd.
MV64460/64461/64462 System Controller, Revision B (rev 01)

Well, lspci should display two different sets for the hard disk
controller: the SAS adapter (Marvell 88SE6480) and the motherboard
embedded chipset (Marvell 88SE9128) but none of these two matches with
the lscpi output :-?

You're right:
http://pastebin.com/raw.php?i=JQtrS5J2

Why don't they match :-?


Best regards
Ramon


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