HP SAS Expander Owner's Thread

odditory

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I have tried cascading the HP SAS expanders in the past and never had solid results, in fact I never got better than flakey activity... from drives dropping to entire raidsets being corrupted. I eventually just ran single-linked connections from the 1880 to 2 seperate expanders via slot-based F-F SAS passthroughs. I believe odditory has tried this in the past but I don't know if he had any better results, but you can ask him.

This has been my experience as well -- and running single linked connections between RAID/HBA and expander is my preference. Originally I was daisy chaining two expanders via the SFF-8088 external connectors, and I narrowed the issue of multiple drives or entire raidsets suddenly dropping to expander #1 overheating. Which makes sense because its got to re-process all the traffic from expander #2, its not simply passing it through. So I didn't have lots of time or patience to spend getting daisy chaining working before just reverting to single links, but if I recall it began working okay after placing a 40x40x10mm fan on the heatsink of the first expander. And that episode prompted me to place fans on all my other HP Expanders, after seeing the difference it made.

Once again I'll point out that the HP Expander was designed for high-airflow HP servers, and as such ships without a fan on the heatsink. And many people have it running okay in non-HP cases, but that has more to do with the card not being pushed very hard in most home usage scenarios. Ultimately I suggest a fan on the heatsink for everyone not using the card in an HP or other high airflow server. And don't confuse having "good airflow" in your home case with high-airflow - there's a big difference - the latter is like having a blow dryer set on cold blowing across the expander's heatsink.

Really, everything that us home users and hobbyists choose to do with the card outside of using it in an HP server = we're on our own, no guarantees, requires testing and experimentation, wasn't designed to happen, YMMV, getting away with murder.
 
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JensS

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Once again I'll point out that the HP Expander was designed for high-airflow HP servers, and as such ships without a fan on the heatsink. And many people have it running okay in non-HP cases, but that has more to do with the card not being pushed very hard in most home usage scenarios. Ultimately I suggest a fan on the heatsink for everyone not using the card in an HP or other high airflow server. And don't confuse having "good airflow" in your home case with high-airflow - there's a big difference - the latter is like having a blow dryer set on cold blowing across the expander's heatsink.

That is exactly what I say every time I get asked about the HP Expander or in fact any enterprise class addon card in a home use scenario.
If you look up the specs you will find that most manufacturers give detailed information about the recommended airflow.
In my machines there is usually a dense package of addon cards and all of them just have a heatsink without a fan. That includes the HP Expander obviously but also raid controllers, FC HBAs, IB HCAs, 10G ethernet cards and so on.
This creates a hotspot especially in desktop case usage because this sort of usage isn't what the case manufacturers think about. They think about graphics cards with fans and nothing else.
But it can be easily solved by putting a large 120 or 140 mm fan in front of the PCIe slots, blowing onto the mainboard and therefore blowing air in between the addon cards.
This drastically reduces the temperatures and can be done in silence with about 800 or 1000 rpm. It still won't meet the manufacturers recommendations in some cases but it is usually more than enough and certainly better than nothing.
 

pjkenned

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I also recommend cooling these with a fan. Even as suggested a 120mm, low RPM one. Makes a big difference.
 

Vicey

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It's been a while but if I recall I had to disable SES2 in order to move past the 24 drive limitation to reach 32 for the screenshot in the OP -- on an Areca card that is. So the question would be whether LSI supports disabling SES2 or not. And whether that's even a good idea is a separate discussion and dependent on type of chassis in use, usage scenario, etc.

Running 32 or more drives will *usually* require a second chassis unless you're spending for a 50-bay chenbro or high density Supermicro, and to me it's cleaner running a separate expander for the second chassis, for many reasons. My standardized config for my servers is a 24-bay norco with all the server components including Areca 1880i RAID card, HP Expander, etc, and a 20-bay norco sitting on top of it with just a power supply, second HP expander and JBOD power board -- for a total 44 drives.

I'm using a Lian Li PC-343B with 6x Hotswap Backplanes. Offering a total of 30 Disks. This is why I got the expander originally I wanted to use 30 disks with it in three separate RAID6 arrays with 10 drives in each array. I need just 6 more than 24 usable ports. If it's not possible I'll just use a 2nd raid card.
 

Wibla

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You can find M1015's cheap on ebay, cheaper than another HP SAS expander at any rate... they also pop up on printsavings.com from time to time at silly low ($40) prices...
 

Vicey

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You can find M1015's cheap on ebay, cheaper than another HP SAS expander at any rate... they also pop up on printsavings.com from time to time at silly low ($40) prices...

I already have a whole bunch of RAID cards I could use. I was hoping the HP SAS Expander would be a good solution but I have no problems with sticking in one of the cards I already have along side it if I have to. I'm confident though that I'll get all 32 ports usable out of it with my LSI card.

Confident but we'll see! :D - In either case I'll post back to let ya'll know. By the way I'm using the HP SAS Expander with a 9260-4i and it works fine with that card. I just mention this as it's not on the front page of this topic so I figured it's another card to add. From what I can tell it is identical to the 9260-8i but with one SFF-8087 port removed.
 

odditory

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I'm using a Lian Li PC-343B with 6x Hotswap Backplanes. Offering a total of 30 Disks. This is why I got the expander originally I wanted to use 30 disks with it in three separate RAID6 arrays with 10 drives in each array. I need just 6 more than 24 usable ports. If it's not possible I'll just use a 2nd raid card.

Again, its a matter of whether the RAID controller supports disabling SES2, and whether there's any intelligent functionality in your backplane that will be lost by disabling SES2. Don't know the capabilities of that particular chassis so you'll have to test for yourself.
 
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DasMarx

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I have been using my HP sas expander for a while now and always thought something was wrong with it, maybe it is just not possible:

I am using:
-m1015 flashed to 9211-IR mode
-windows server 2008 r2
-HP sas expander 2.06
-22 * 2 TB Sata 2 disks

I have connected my m1015 with the expander by one cable.
all disks are connected to the expander.

All disks are shown as 1.5 Gbit in Megaraid Storage Manager.

When i work with all disks, i only get about 480MByte/s. Shouldn't it be much more? Is the controller not abled to negotiate more than 1.5G to the expander when the drives behind it are set to 1.5G (even if 3G is possible....) ?
Additional Info: I am not working with raid or anything else, just ntfs folders for each drive.
 

DasMarx

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Id say youre right if i don't need any more drives. But right now, i am buying 1 every 2 months.
 

ChrisBenn

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2 of the 16i LSI cards would give you 32 ports for < 800. That's not to say the expander can't work - it should - but I would go with native HBA's just to cut down on the variables (just an opinion of course though)
 

Vicey

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Again, its a matter of whether the RAID controller supports disabling SES2, and whether there's any intelligent functionality in your backplane that will be lost by disabling SES2. Don't know the capabilities of that particular chassis so you'll have to test for yourself.

I think you misunderstand me when I said what case I'm using. It is just a normal case not a server case. It doesn't have any kind of capability apart from being a hunk of metal with holes in it. :D

I'm sticking in to the case 6x 5 in 3 adapters. These are "dumb" backplanes that just passthrough SATA to a disk without having any kind of reporting functions. It's just like plugging a disk directly in to a SATA cable, these backplanes are not even detected by RAID cards.

I've looked all over the documentation of the LSI card I have and I can't find any reference to SES2. No way to disable it or even it listed as an actual feature. If I can only get 24 ports working on the expander I won't be complaining that's still great and only 6 less than what I wanted. I already have a bunch of RAID cards sitting around that I could throw in to get an extra 6 disk array without any bother. :)
 

dougal1957

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Does anyone have any experience with these cards they are LSISAS2108 based so suspect that they should operate like a 9260/8i but any advise/warnings would be greatfully received.

Regards

Doug.

p.s. Just trying to get my 16 bay TST chassis and my Norco 4220 working of one MB as the server purely for media storage at the moment. Currently have 8 x 2 TB 12 x 1.5 TB and 8 x 1TB drive spread accross the 2 systems running NasLite M2 on each.

Would like to get the TST Chasis as the master with the Norce as extension Chassis. (TST has redundant PSU's norco does not but both will be on a UPS).

So again any advise on best way to achieve this would be most welcome.
 

JensS

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Well, I do not have any direct experience with these.

But they not only are LSISAS2108 based they also look exactly like a 9260-8i so I would think they are actually identical. Probably made by LSI for IBM as it is usual.

IBM says it supports only 32 drives but that may be because this is the limit the biggest IBM X Server can take and there would be no reason for IBM to mention a feature that customers cannot use with their servers anyway.

Looks though as if these things won't do Raid 6 and 60 without the "Advanced Feature Key" whereas the 9260 will by default and this might be interesting when dealing with quite a few drives as you do.
 

dougal1957

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Well, I do not have any direct experience with these.

But they not only are LSISAS2108 based they also look exactly like a 9260-8i so I would think they are actually identical. Probably made by LSI for IBM as it is usual.

IBM says it supports only 32 drives but that may be because this is the limit the biggest IBM X Server can take and there would be no reason for IBM to mention a feature that customers cannot use with their servers anyway.

Looks though as if these things won't do Raid 6 and 60 without the "Advanced Feature Key" whereas the 9260 will by default and this might be interesting when dealing with quite a few drives as you do.

It may also be crippled by Firmwase in the IBM model was thinking of getting a couple of them and trying to flash with 9260 FW into them.

Can get them for arround £40 ($60) at the moment.

Doug
 

ALpHaMoNk

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Just recieved mine today and appears to work all except that I see only 24 ports when looking through Areca raid storage manager
 

mwroobel

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Just recieved mine today and appears to work all except that I see only 24 ports when looking through Areca raid storage manager

Right now in my workstation the 1882i only shows 24. It is dual linked which removes 8 ports, and nothing is connected to the external port which only usually shows if something is connected to it.
 

ALpHaMoNk

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thanks mwroobel...that would make since since you are dual linked, I have just one going from raid card to expander port 9. I Didn't use the external ports figured i would save those
 

odditory

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Same question keeps coming up -- it was addressed further up on this same page. With SES2 enabled on Areca controller you'll see 24 ports on the HP Expander. With SES2 disabled you'll see all 32.
 

ALpHaMoNk

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Same question keeps coming up -- it was addressed further up on this same page. With SES2 enabled on Areca controller you'll see 24 ports on the HP Expander. With SES2 disabled you'll see all 32.
Thanks for the answer odditory, I don't need all ports since my case can only house 20 drives but i did wonder why...and now i have an answer as well as a solution. Thanks again!:cool:
 

odditory

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So I ended up getting an IBM m1015 and flashed it to an LSI 9211-8i. :)

And you did the right thing. There was a time the SAS2LP-MV8 was relevant and that time was before the IBM M1015 came along and made everything else irrelevant at the pricepoint. The main diff is the SAS2LP-MV8 has a Marvell controller whereas IBM M1015 (LSI SAS2008) along with most decent host and raid controllers people are buying thee days are based on LSI silicon and thats what you want.
 

Jerkson

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Im using the HP expander with an LSI-9211-8i (SAS2008) HBA in IT mode.
All my Hitachi 7k3000 2TB drives are negotiating at 1.5gbps as per LSIutil:
Code:
Main menu, select an option:  [1-99 or e/p/w or 0 to quit] 69

Seg/Bus/Dev/Fun    Board Name       Board Assembly   Board Tracer
 0   3   0   0     SAS9211-8i       H3-25250-02C     SP21145888

Main menu, select an option:  [1-99 or e/p/w or 0 to quit] 16

SAS2008's links are 6.0 G, 6.0 G, 6.0 G, 6.0 G, 6.0 G, 6.0 G, 6.0 G, 6.0 G

 B___T     SASAddress     PhyNum  Handle  Parent  Type
        500605b004c8c3b0           0001           SAS Initiator
        500605b004c8c3b1           0002           SAS Initiator
        500605b004c8c3b2           0003           SAS Initiator
        500605b004c8c3b3           0004           SAS Initiator
        500605b004c8c3b4           0005           SAS Initiator
        500605b004c8c3b5           0006           SAS Initiator
        500605b004c8c3b6           0007           SAS Initiator
        500605b004c8c3b7           0008           SAS Initiator
 0   9  5001438010ebcea6     0     0009    0001   Edge Expander
 0  11  5001438010ebce89     9     000b    0009   SATA Target
 0  12  5001438010ebce8a    10     000c    0009   SATA Target
 0  13  5001438010ebce8c    12     000d    0009   SATA Target
 0  14  5001438010ebce8d    13     000e    0009   SATA Target
 0  15  5001438010ebce8e    14     000f    0009   SATA Target
 0  16  5001438010ebce8f    15     0010    0009   SATA Target
 0  17  5001438010ebce90    16     0011    0009   SATA Target
 0  18  5001438010ebce91    17     0012    0009   SATA Target
 0  19  5001438010ebce92    18     0013    0009   SATA Target
 0  20  5001438010ebce93    19     0014    0009   SATA Target
 0  21  5001438010ebcea5    36     0015    0009   SAS Initiator and Target
 0  22  5001438010ebce8b    11     0016    0009   SATA Target

Type      NumPhys    PhyNum  Handle     PhyNum  Handle  Port  Speed
Adapter      8          0     0001  -->   35     0009     0    6.0
                        1     0001  -->   34     0009     0    6.0
                        2     0001  -->   33     0009     0    6.0
                        3     0001  -->   32     0009     0    6.0
                        4     0001  -->   31     0009     0    6.0
                        5     0001  -->   30     0009     0    6.0
                        6     0001  -->   29     0009     0    6.0
                        7     0001  -->   28     0009     0    6.0

Expander    37          9     0009  -->    0     000b     0    1.5
                       10     0009  -->    0     000c     0    1.5
                       11     0009  -->    0     0016     0    1.5
                       12     0009  -->    0     000d     0    1.5
                       13     0009  -->    0     000e     0    1.5
                       14     0009  -->    0     000f     0    1.5
                       15     0009  -->    0     0010     0    1.5
                       16     0009  -->    0     0011     0    1.5
                       17     0009  -->    0     0012     0    1.5
                       18     0009  -->    0     0013     0    1.5
                       19     0009  -->    0     0014     0    1.5
                       28     0009  -->    7     0001     0    6.0
                       29     0009  -->    6     0001     0    6.0
                       30     0009  -->    5     0001     0    6.0
                       31     0009  -->    4     0001     0    6.0
                       32     0009  -->    3     0001     0    6.0
                       33     0009  -->    2     0001     0    6.0
                       34     0009  -->    1     0001     0    6.0
                       35     0009  -->    0     0001     0    6.0
                       36     0009  -->   36     0015     0    6.0

You can see the HBA negotiates to 6.0 with the expander, and the expander negotiates to 6.0 with the empty bays in the backplane of the Habey/Norco 4220 case...but the populated bays (11 of them) are all negotiating at 1.5

Any ideas on how to rectify this? I would suspect they should negotiate at least at 3.0
 

mwroobel

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Im using the HP expander with an LSI-9211-8i (SAS2008) HBA in IT mode.
All my Hitachi 7k3000 2TB drives are negotiating at 1.5gbps as per LSIutil:

You can see the HBA negotiates to 6.0 with the expander, and the expander negotiates to 6.0 with the empty bays in the backplane of the Habey/Norco 4220 case...but the populated bays (11 of them) are all negotiating at 1.5

Any ideas on how to rectify this? I would suspect they should negotiate at least at 3.0

This is a relatively common problem with the HP Expander. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme nor reason as to why it happens. I have an 1880 and 1882, each with HP expander. Both expanders are at 2.06, both were purchased about the same time, and seem to be physically identical from an external view. One negotiates at 150 one at 300 with the drives (both negotiate 600 with the Areca). I have read a number of people having similar issues. In all honesty, unless you are running the SSD's or latest 1TB/platter HDD or 1TB Vraptor that is capable of >150MB/s, you will not see any perceptible difference. In any case, HP will do nothing for you on replacement (for this reason at least) because they do not warrant this product to work in anything but an HP server, connected to an HP SAS controller and HP certified drives.
 

Jerkson

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This is a relatively common problem with the HP Expander. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme nor reason as to why it happens. I have an 1880 and 1882, each with HP expander. Both expanders are at 2.06, both were purchased about the same time, and seem to be physically identical from an external view. One negotiates at 150 one at 300 with the drives (both negotiate 600 with the Areca). I have read a number of people having similar issues. In all honesty, unless you are running the SSD's or latest 1TB/platter HDD or 1TB Vraptor that is capable of >150MB/s, you will not see any perceptible difference. In any case, HP will do nothing for you on replacement (for this reason at least) because they do not warrant this product to work in anything but an HP server, connected to an HP SAS controller and HP certified drives.

Thanks for the info.

That's extra strange that one works and the other doesn't for you. I was wondering if there were some settings that should be changed on the LSI HBA using lsutil to assist in proper negotiation.

My concern is that if I add an SSD for a read cache that it's going to negotiate down to 1.5 and its a 575MB/sec sata3 SSD. Im just trying to be proactive and fix an issue before it becomes a problem.

Im curious if another LSI controller would co-operate with the HP expander or if its a different HP expander I need to co-operate with the LSI. Hmmm :confused:

NINJA EDIT: I found a post here about Hitachi setting the 7k3000 2TB's to 1.5gbps from the factory and the Hitachi Feature Tool v2.15 doesnt allow you to change it. I must re-read the H thread on the Hitachi's for more info...
 
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mwroobel

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NINJA EDIT: I found a post here about Hitachi setting the 7k3000 2TB's to 1.5gbps from the factory and the Hitachi Feature Tool v2.15 doesnt allow you to change it. I must re-read the H thread on the Hitachi's for more info...

It's not that, the Hitachis negotiate at 3.0 directly connected to the Areca.
 

Jerkson

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It's not that, the Hitachis negotiate at 3.0 directly connected to the Areca.

You can't say that definitively. This was apparently the case with certain batches of drives. I will connect them direct to my lsi and see what they negotiate at
 

mwroobel

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You can't say that definitively. This was apparently the case with certain batches of drives. I will connect them direct to my lsi and see what they negotiate at

Well, I can say definitively that with the ~30 Hitachis I have at home, they all negotiated at 3.0 directly, I checked some time ago.
 

Jerkson

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Well, I can say definitively that with the ~30 Hitachis I have at home, they all negotiated at 3.0 directly, I checked some time ago.

I'm not going to argue but it doesn't really matter if you had 100 of these, if they were all AFTER the time/batches where they were setting them to 1.5 this would not pose an issue to you. My drives were manufactured in Dec 2010. I will plug them in directly again tonight and check. The Hitachi feature tool doesn't allow many changes on these drives for me (which is another common complaint)
 

JensS

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If you want your expander to be replaced by HP because of this negotiating issue you "just" need a HP server that still got hardware support on it and claim that the expander in this server is broken.
I know that this is quite a big "just" for most people...
Just wanted to mention that it is actually possible!
 
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Has anyone tried HighPoints DC7280 HBA with the HP SAS Expander, I am looking at this card and based on its chipset (Marvell SE9485) it should jive with an expander card such as the HP.
 
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How do I tell the difference? This card has SAS ports and an SAS/SATA controller chip. I'm sure it's obvious but I'm new to this type of hardware.
 

mwroobel

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How do I tell the difference? This card has SAS ports and an SAS/SATA controller chip. I'm sure it's obvious but I'm new to this type of hardware.

That particular card has SFF-8087 connectors. They can either be used for SAS or SATA implementations. In most cases they are used on SATA cards because they are higher density connectors and easier to have 9 of them on that card than 36 SATA connectors. Also, the card is sold as a SATA RAID card, not a SAS card, that is the best way to tell.
 
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reimann3

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How do I tell the difference? This card has SAS ports and an SAS/SATA controller chip. I'm sure it's obvious but I'm new to this type of hardware.

I;m new to this type of hardware as well. I currently have about ten disks spread across 4 usb cases. I'd like to buy a cheap server and start moving stuff to raid. This SAS expander looks to do what I want namely to consolidate every into a single case. I have a Cisco 881w router at home so I know I'm not lacking in that area. So far what I've gathered by reading is that I'm going to need a main server and one of these expander cards. What I haven't figure out is whether I need a second case.


Can I just the SAS expander or do I need another card to use it?

Any recommendations for OS? I've been toying with the idea of FreeBSD/ZFS but could have a license for Windows 2k8 if needed.

has anyone tried it with 3tb drives? The Documentation from HP says it's compatible with their 3tb drives.
 
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