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DrivePool on a Server with 16 Bay Extender

edited April 2013 in DrivePool

I'm presently running WHS 2011 on a standard PC with DrivePool. I just got my hands on a rack mounted server along with a 16 bay extender.  The server has an Adaptec ICP 5805BL controller which is supposedly capable of JBOD which I have not yet been able to find during setup. My real question for those who have a similar system, will I be able to move my drives over to the server without having to initialize each drive?

 

Ron 

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Comments

  • Hi,

    It's hard to say but I doubt it adaptec controllers tho extremely good can be a little difficult I have the 5xxx 24port raid and I had to replace it with a cheap high point hba and a chenbro 36port controller

    My reason for this was in order to use the adapter I had to partition my drives for it to allow each drive through as a single drive this was safe to do with data on however try it at your own risk. Then that allowed me to put each drive in the pool then came the next snag adaptec controllers don't pass through smart data which ment scanner could not manage the drives for failure so I ended up swapping it over and tbh it was the best decision I have made everthing has been running brilliant.

    All I can say is get a large mug of coffe and try it.

    Start with a test drive partition it say 1x 100mb then whatever is left copy some data to the main partition then connect it to the server go into the raid config and select single drive not jbod and go through the process then it should work,

    Jbod on a raid controller means u can group together different sized drives via the controller not pass single drives to the desktop for dp to use

    Eg... 1tb 2tb 500gb in jbod means your desktop will see 1 drive at 3.5tb.



    Hope it helps

    Lee

  • I have heard conflicting definitions for JBOD. I call your definition spanning.

    In my testing so far I found that I can create a 1 drive array, the only raid selection available for 1 drive in the firmware menu is called "Volume". I created 4 additional 1 drive arrays with varies sized drives and then formated them in the OS. No partitioning required. 1 TB drive = 1TB of space and no problem with DrivePool.

    To be able to select any drives, I have to initialize them which as far as I know wipes the drives free deleting any data. Is this true? I have only tested with empty drives so far.

    Someone at work posed a good question: In case of a controller failure, can each of the drives be read from any PC?  I will have to test that soon.

    MTF

    Ron

  • Forgot to mention my surprise about Adaptec controllers not passing SMART data. I'll have to test that.

     

    Ron

  • Hi,

    If you have a drive with data on it partition it 100mb is enough then if you initialize it should leave the data intact and accessible at least that's how it works on my asr-52445 if memory recalls you will only see the partition the initialisation creats if you put the drive in a another pc

    As to the question yes they can if you create a single volume under the adaptec controller. However this is not the best way nor easiest way to have it all setup which is why I took the the asr-52445 out and replaced it with 1 high point 2722 and 1 chenbro ck23601 much easer no setup required just plug & play.

    In my view raid card's need to be used for raid not a combination of raid and dp as the cards do all the work

    Hba's are best for use with drive pooling software since they don't require setting up and the drives appear to the desktop as if they are plugged into the motherboard direct

  • edited April 2013 Resident Guru
    Ron, if by "initialize" you mean the part where Windows wants to set the disk as MBR or GPT prior to creating partitions, then - while the disk is not "wiped" per se - the tables that tell the OS how the disk is organised (e.g. partitions, which in turn point to your folders, files, etc) are replaced with empty structures, and you would need recovery tools to get any data back.

    Unless someone can provide definitive information for your specific hardware, I suggest proceeding cautiously (as you appear to be doing already) and experiment with installing/replacing "expendable" disks first.
  • Thanks Lee, Shane for your responses. 

    Lee, I really do not want to invest in more hardware.  If I understand you correctly, your system allows you to pull your DP drives from one machine into your server/extender with no problems. It appears I won't be able to that but that is not a show stopper for me.  I have enough drives to populate my new server and then just transfer my data from one server to another through the network.  Once my data has been transferred do you see any problems utilizing my system?

    Shane, by initializing I meant from within the raid card.  With my card, before you can use a newly added drive you must initialize it. I proved to myself tonight that initializing is indeed destructive to the data on the drive(s).

     

    Ron

  • Hi,

    Having a server to tinker with is great fun and you won't have any problems once its all up and running they are also easy to expand and there are lots of cheap server parts on eBay I built mine for about £300 but retail puts my kvm console alone at £1699 which i bought for £27 I think I have over £10 grands of server equipment for £300.

    While using raid cards like u want to is not always the best idea you can but its not really what there designed for. If you have the spare drives go for it make sure you have a good backup or 2 of all your data just incase you change your mind.

    Also don't forget to check smart with scanner I know my card didn't pass the data maybe yours is different.

    If it doesn't tho duplication will help with redundancy you might want to consider going full blown raid, raid 6 is the weapon of choice these days providing you with the ability to lose 2 drives at the same time while still retaining all your data just be warned tho if the controller fail's it is possible to lose it all replacing the controller with the same brand is possible and then rebuilding the array does work but not every time.

    Lee
  • Covecube
    Lee, have you enabled "unsafeDirectIO" for Scanner? Sometimes it gets the data when the normal methods don't. But it's "unsafe" because it's not 100% compatible and cause issues with the controller.


    I have a RocketRaid card, and just pass the disks through (it calls it legacy mode), and I find that it works best for me.

  • Hi bud

    Yeah I tried that but the adaptec controller was having none of it, that's why I switched also to a rocket raid with a port expander that works great.

    That's what I was trying to explain using a raid controller for none raid and trying to bypass all it's functions is not the best idea there are lots of cheap hba cards around that do the job a lot better.
  • Tinkered with the new server last night including updating the driver for the Adaptec controller.

    -SMART data is being passed through;

    -According to others I have talked to, selecting 1 "VOLUME" per array is Adaptec's method for selecting JBOD. This only takes seconds to do per drive; and

    -Something that was important to me in case my controller ever died was being able to pull the drives out the new server and read them from any PC...confirmed today that I can indeed do this.

     

    Ron

     

  • Covecube
    @Lee1978: yeah, controllers can be very finicky. And HighPoint RocketRAID cards are *very* nice indeed.

    @rjbreton:  That last bit is arguably the most important. But it is nice to have the SMART data passed on too.
    If you ever need to get a new controller card, I would definitely recommend a RocketRAID card. They're the lower end of "enterprise quality", but they're great for home usage if you have the money to throw at them.
  • I spoke too soon.  The SMART data is not being passed through after all.

     

    Ron

  • Covecube
    @rjbreton: have you tried using the "unsafeDirectIO" option? It may get it to pass on the SMART data, but like it says.... "unsafe"

  • Drashna, I tried it but it didn't make any difference.

     

    Ron

  • Hi,

    Sorry to hear you also have the same problem as I had there is no workaround for it there is nothing wrong with your setup your just gunna have to think about the best way to do it raid or none raid.

    In raid the adaptec controller will take good care of your drives and I think scanner is still able to scan the disk for errors it just won't report pending drive problems but the controller should do that for you.

    Keep asking if you need anything else

    Lee
  • Non-raid was always the intention. The server is now up and running.

    A big plus for me was being able to pull a drive out of the server and being able to read it on any PC.

    Unfortunately no SMART data.

    I will live with this for now.  Maybe one day I'll try another controller.

     

    Ron 

  • Covecube
    Lee is absolutely correct about Scanner.

    rjbreton, are you "directly" passing the disk through, or setting up "JBOD" arrays? That definitely makes a difference.
    And are you using the most up to data drivers, and BIOS for the card? It may make a difference.

    Also, if you are really intent on getting that smart data, that RocketRAID card I mentioned is a great choice. And I can verify that it definitely does work with SMART data (if you leave the disks in "legacy" mode, as well as enable the unsafeIO).

    And sorry that you've had so much trouble with that controller.
  • Drashna, what RocketRAID are you using?

    Lee1978, Drashna,

    I'm out of my element here and would appreciate advice as to what card I should get if I wanted to replace my Adaptec 5805BL.  Presently my system is working fine except for SMART data.

    On eBay the HighPoint 2722 is $300 which is pricey just to get SMART data.

    The card would require at least 1x SFF-8088 Mini-SAS to connect to my 16 bay expander. The 5805BL that it will be replacing is a low-profile 8x PCI Express.

    Any sources for used equip would be appreciated.

     

    Ron

  • Covecube
    The card I have is the 2720SGL, but it's internal only. 2x SFF-8087. And was $160.  But it's PCI Express 2.0 8x, and supports SATA/SAS 6.0gbps.

    There are adapters though (8087 to 8088). (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816321027). That would total about $200 new. Still pricey, but it's an option. 

    However, the 2721 may work. It's one internal, and one external.

    And from the looks of it, that Adaptec card definitely doesn't even both with SMART data...
  • Hi, Ron

    There are a few cheaper cards that support 1 external input only from high point I think I'll have a look later and post I would like to know what outputs the 16 bay has to make sure I give you the right advise also it may not be just the controller that is hiding the smart data is there a way you could borrow a different controller to test and check.

    on eBay there are always cheap parts popping up there everyday keep scanning it for what u want

    Lee
  • Thanks Drashna, Lee1978.

    My 16 bay is an SE3016-SATA-AC / SE3016-SAS-AC. It has 1x SFF-8088 Mini-SAS O/P and another 1x SFF-8088 Mini-SAS for daisy chaining another expander.

     

    Ron

  • I have asked around about borrowing a controller but no luck.

    The HighPoint 2721 looks interesting and would be prepared to buy one if I can confirm it will pass SMART data.

    One point I want to make is that you guys are stating that using a RAID card for none RAID use is not a good idea yet the 2721 is a RAID card.

    Does the 2721 require you to initialize each drive when you attach it to the server?  It would be a bonus if the new card allowed you to attach a pooled drive without harming the data.  I thought that was a capability of one of the cards mentioned earlier or was that if you created a small 100mb partition on each drive?

    Sorry for the possibly dumb questions, I have little experience  with this stuff.

     

    Ron 

  • I also noticed there is a HighPoint 2711 but it brings up a question. Specs state it will only support 4 drives, the 2721 only supports 8 drives. I assume this means only 4 or 8 drives in my 16 Bay expander can be used or is there something in the expander itself that allows the use of all its bays?

    Wait! While Googling I noticed that there is both a HighPoint 2722 RAID and a HighPoint 2722 HBA card. Were you referring to the 2722 HBA?  I may have answered one of my questions. LOL

     

    Ron

  • Member
    Hi Ron I can't get near a computer at the moment so I'll try my best on the iPhone

    The controller I have this

    http://www.scan.co.uk/products/highpoint-r2722-sas-sata-6gb-s-2x-external-mini-sas-(sff-8088)-connector-with-8-external-ports-via-p

    There are 2 versions of it raid and hba I got the hba version and I don't need to do anything I just connect the drives and it works I can confirm the controller does pass smart data however I don't know if the port multiplyer in your 16 bay array will I would take a guess and it does but don't hold me 2 it

    Lee
  • Member
    Lol we must have posted at the same time lol

    Anyway it will support the 16 drives and more they work by using port multipliers the 2722 will support over 200 drives using port multipliers in a daisy chain setup
  • Lee1978, Drashna,

    I bit the bullet and ordered a HighPoint 2722 HBA card.

    Hopefully it will work with my expander. I found 1 user commenting that this card did not work with an HP expander.

    Thanks for all the help

     

    Ron

  • Member
    No problem let us know how it goes


    Lee
  • I received the card today and installed it.  There appears to be a conflict with my usb attached DVD drive and the card.  The DVD was very slow.

    The good new is the card is performing as advertised.  It saw all the drives with no tinkering on my part and has access to SMART data once again.

    When I entered the card's BIOS I noticed that my 3x new WD Red 2TB drives were listed at 1.5GB speed while 2 older Seagate drives were listed at 3.0GB speed.  I'm a little puzzled at this. In the old days SATA drives came with a jumper installed to inhibit speed to 1.5GB and 3.0GB with jumper removed. The WD drives have no jumper and should be running at 3.0GB. Anyone have any ideas?

     

     

    Ron

  • Member
    Hi Ron

    Glad it works did the reds show up right with the old card in I don't have any reds test mine with might be the port multiplier I have greens in my array and they all show up fine 6gbs

    Lee
  • Covecube
    rjbreton, have you upgraded the firmware on the card?  If not, you may need to do that. IT should be the 1.5 for the most recent. It adds stuff like fixes for 3TB drives and such. So you may definitely want to consider doing that.

    I have a RocketRAID 2720SGL, and it is very similar. Two internal SFF-8087 connectors, instead of the two external SFF-8088 connectors. Apparently, it uses the same drivers and chipset.


    I can't confirm the WD Red issue, as I don't buy WD. I only buy Seagate (personal preference).
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