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Should I use a SAS Controller in my new Gen8 MicroServer?


Jadog
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I just purchased HP's Gen8 Microserver and I'm wondering if the onboard B120i is sufficient for me. It will be used in my home mainly for a fileserver and to serve up some apps as well. I was planning on using either RAID 5 or RAID 10. I'll be running MS Server 2012. I am upgrading from the previous model - the N40L. And back when I bought the N40L, I also bought the P410i SAS board with an FBWC to use with it. I did that as most were recommending it due to the onboard raid being insufficient and capable of loosing my data if power was lost and there was not enough time to write files to memory. So now I'm wondering if I need to do the same with my Gen8 or if the onboard will be good enough. Others have reported success of using the P410i with the Gen8, but from what I've been reading, I won't be able to see that controller when using iLO. I would need to upgrade to a P222 for that. I guess I'm just wondering if that would be overkill for my needs.

 

I realize I won't be able to use RAID 5 with the native B120i.

 

I also have a P212 laying around...

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Depending on what the rest of the configuration looks like, you could just move the drives and P410 to the Gen8. You could also use the P212 in the Gen8 and move your drives over RAID sets intact. P222 or P420 would be the best choices, but costly.

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What would the P212 give me over the onboard B120i? And what additional features would I have by upgrading to the P222 over the P212?

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If you have memory and battery for the P212 it will support RAID5. Going to a P222 will support SATAIII drive speed and it is supported by iLo.

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I was contemplating using RAID5, but I would have to buy a battery for the P212. And buying a fourth hard drive and using RAID 10 would be a more cost effective route then purchasing a P222. From what I understand the P212 offers the full SATAIII (6.0Gbps) speed, while the onboard B120i only offers that on two of the four drives I would be using. I was planning on using the Western Digital Red drives and those are only 5400K drives. So the question is, will I even be able to utilize the speed difference the P222 offers without going to SAS drives (cost prohibitive for me)?

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The P212 runs SATA at 3Gb/s. With disk drives, you will not see a huge amount of difference between SATAII and SATAIII. You could start with RAID10 on the B120i and move the RAID set to the P212 if you are not happy with the performance.

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The P212 does not require a battery for RAID-5; it does require a cache module.

 

The P212 will be a large benefit for a RAID-5 array (not that you can run one on the B120i, but if you could, it would be very slow); it will be less of one for a RAID-10, though its caching algorithms are more intelligent, and its ability to rebuild a failing array will be improved over the B120i.  Personally, I'd be looking at a P222 for the reason that you will get support in your iLO on the Gen8 for it, which you will not get for the P212; having used both, I've seen this.  The P222 also has a larger cache than the P212; however, the P212 is a usable option, I have one in my Gen8 right now.

 

Don't worry about the 3Gbps vs 6Gbps throughput; with mechanical drives, it won't matter in the least.

Edited by LoneWolf
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EDIT:  Nm, the seller doesn't have them any more..

 

Some of the HP controllers are going for better prices as used pulls these days though.

Edited by LoneWolf
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