Compatible SSDs to use as a cache for my LSI 9260-8i? And a good Mini-SAS to 4x SATA cable?

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I have an IBM ServeRAID M5014 which I flashed back to an LSI 9260-8i years ago.

I am planning to install the expanded services key (or whatever that key is called) on it soon and upgrading my RAID5 of 4 WD REDs to a RAID6 with 5 WD REDs.

Since this will require me to get an additional mini-SAS to 4x SATA cable (Will need to find a good one, original one I had gave me problems, and the one I use now is no longer being sold) and it's going to leave three ports unused on the new cable, and since said key will also give me CacheCade 2.0, I figured it wouldn't hurt to also toss in a 512GB SSD on it to use as a cache to speed it up when I an moving around a lot of data, especially when said data consists of thousands of smaller files.

Issue is, I am not sure what to get. I was just going to go with the latest Samsung Pro SATA drive, but I heard that apparently some of the newer ones either don't work at all with this RAID card, or run extremely poorly? I tried Googling about it but mostly got disjointed forum posts, and most of them were about an entire raid of SSDs being slow, not just using a SSD as a cache for HDDs.

So I wanted to ask here. Does anyone have any experience with this? If I should get an older SSD (like a Samsung Pro 840 or 850) or can get one of the newer ones (Like a Samsung Pro 860 or 870) for this card to use as a cache for a HDD raid? And any recommendations for a good quality mini-SAS to 4x SATA cable to use for the 5th HDD and the SSD?
 
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How does that help me at all?

Not only would that require me to buy a new card and completely rebuild my raid, but my post is about upgrading a raid that currently has 4 drives, to a raid that has 6 drives total (5 for the raid and 1 for cache). A 4-port card is completely not going to work out for me for this.
 

Shadowarez

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i mis read that then 100% in that case those other lsi cards should work iv tried this method but could never seem to get the battery back up and cache piece on one.
 
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I know the card would work, I am asking for advice on a good second mini-sas to sata cable and on compatible SSDs to use as cache since apparently this card is picky about that.
 

sethk

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I've been using a stock 9280 and 9260 with cachecade 2.0 for production use with an external DAS / SAS Expander for many years now and it has been very solid through many rebuilds. Keep in mind that large array rebuilds with spinning disks are as terrible as with every other options, and I have had to manually disable the cache during server resyncs to speed up server to server syncs (not to be confused with a RAID rebuild). I use OEM Samsung Pros now for cache, although I previously used OEM Intel drives and there may be some of those left in use. I have been replacing older spinning disks with commidity SATA SSDs because they make RAID rebuilds practical. Without that, for a large array it is usually faster to resync or restore the arrray than to rebuild. Not a fan of RAID 6 on spinning disk with really large arrays for the same reason.
Now that software defined storage is more mature, I'd probably do something else if I was building something new that needed higher IOPS and less capacity, but for a proven tech with the 9260 - it works.
 

Libnok

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I have an IBM M5015 that I flashed back to an LSI 9260 for a couple years now. I think you may have an issue beyond what SSD you'd want to use and that would be that the IBM M5014/5 require the IBM specific key in order to unlock the cachecade. You can find the IBM 'advanced key' everywhere for about $10 which will unlock RAID6 and some other features, but the 'performance key' is quite rare and from what I understand if found is worth a lot of money, in the thousands if I recall. The LSI keys will not work to my knowledge or unless there has been some progress in this regard in the past two years, as I never found a way after a lot of research at the time.

This is all by memory and I have a bookmark folder of links in regards to this project that I'm not sure I'd have the time to revisit; quite the rabbit hole. It has been a great card for the $50 I think I paid for it back in 2018.
 
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I have an IBM M5015 that I flashed back to an LSI 9260 for a couple years now. I think you may have an issue beyond what SSD you'd want to use and that would be that the IBM M5014/5 require the IBM specific key in order to unlock the cachecade. You can find the IBM 'advanced key' everywhere for about $10 which will unlock RAID6 and some other features, but the 'performance key' is quite rare and from what I understand if found is worth a lot of money, in the thousands if I recall. The LSI keys will not work to my knowledge or unless there has been some progress in this regard in the past two years, as I never found a way after a lot of research at the time.

Wait, those are different things? I thought there was only one key, the one that gives you RAID 6.0 and CacheCade 2.0. Good information though that I need the IBM specific key, I was looking for the LSI key, which seems to be about $20 everywhere. Is that the one, or is that a different one?
 
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Wait, so I won't be able to use a SSD as cache without the performance key? And I can't have both RAID 6.0 and CacheCade at once?
 
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I see, is the performance key just for CacheCade 2.0 or can I not use ANY sort of SSD cache without it?
 

Libnok

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Unknown. I've never tried to cache my arrays, it's pretty speedy for my media server as it is. The information that I've provided is a simple heads up. I just didn't want you to dive in thinking that it will plug and play. I would suggest that you do a bit of research as things may have changed. My research was done mostly from the servethehome forums, but you may find some resources elsewhere.

This is what I see in Avago MegaRAID Storage Manager (blue links function):

1623737919073.png
 

Libnok

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I don't know. My comments are solely for a converted IBM M5015 that has been flashed to an LSI 9260 to bypass the very slow boot process (it was like 2 minutes+ if I recall). It is functionally the same card, but the issue is that IBM branded has a different hardware chip than stock/vanilla LSI branded cards. I honestly don't have the money to verify all of the claims/options. I'm just going by the research that I performed a few years ago, so your mileage may vary.

What I do know 100%, I have an IBM M5015 flashed to LSI 9260 with an IBM advanced key which only adds RAID6, RAID60, SED functionality. I bought it hoping that cachecade would be included, it was not.
 
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I don't know. My comments are solely for a converted IBM M5015 that has been flashed to an LSI 9260 to bypass the very slow boot process (it was like 2 minutes+ if I recall).

Wait, how did you bypass that? Mine still does that annoying delay. It went away at first, but apparently that was a BUG and a later firmware update brought the delay back. It's apparently an intentionally hard-coded delay to allow the drives to spin up before the card attempts to detect them, and you need some advanced tools to change that delay (I used to have a site that talked about it, but I can't find it anymore). Is that how you disabled the delay on yours? From what I understand, the delay is in 15 second increments, with the default being 4 (so a 90 second delay), I want to set it to 0 or 1.

Also servethehome was sadly not that helpful, other than letting me know that I would need apparently TWO SSDs in a raid to use as a cache, they said nothing about the key I would need:

https://forums.servethehome.com/ind...ance-keys-and-if-i-can-use-a-ssd-cache.33299/
 

sethk

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I did a search for the part numbers, the prices on the IBM performance key - part 81Y4426 (properly tagged so you can find it) are ridiculous. I would buy a different card that can take an OEM cachecade pro 2.0 key at like $15 used. What is your OS in case you don't want new hardware? Maybe running JBOD with OS level caching would be a better path?
 
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My os is Windows 10 Pro, and I will likely upgrade to a whole new raid card and drives/array in a few years, just that while I was currently re-assembling this PC and was adding a 5th drive anyway to upgrade it to RAID6 I figured I would add a SSD cache too if I could. No point in upgrading to a new card itself for these current drives/array. If there is no way to get a SSD cache without a very expensive key (and especially needing TWO SSDs) then it's not worth it.
 

sethk

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I recommend using primocache with an Optane disk for cache on W10 - Level1 techs and a retired Microsoft engineer both have really vids on it on Youtube. Much faster than cachecade pro. Also I hope you have a good backup - RAID 6 is not a good way to recover data IMHO.
 
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It's a hardware raid, not a software one. I don't want the raid to be dependent on an OS. And yes, I have backups.
 
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