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B120i Raid 5


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Hi Guya, 


First post.... Haven't really had much of a look around yet, and picking brains already, probably the worst type of member!


I will try to input where i can, however maybe my problem will provide others some assistance.


I have two of the following, brought when first released, can't remember when but a few years back....


Both running a E3-1240v2, 16GB Ram, 4x3Tb drives and a pci-e card for 2 additional nics and a 480GB SSD.


Running ESXi 6, and various bits ontop, one is my lab, the other running the house....


After lots of reading i see that raid 5 isn't possible? Strangely i have both of mine configured with Raid 5... and i cannot remember how i did it?? 


Since the upgrade to the ILO, i am now getting storage degraded errors because it cannot initialise parity (assuming this is because it shouldn't support raid 5?)


Everything is still running great so no real concerns right now but would be good to iron out the problem if possible?


Anyone any insight? Maybe one of the more technical would like access to have a poke around to see why and how its been done?


(oh and as a heads up, one of the units will be for sale soon at above spec, as I'm looking at something more powerful now and have just managed to pick up 20x SAS drives at amazing prices)



Edited by Joereynolds89
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After lots of reading i see that raid 5 isn't possible? Strangely i have both of mine configured with Raid 5... and i cannot remember how i did it??

You're the first person I've heard of that has managed to get RAID5 on a Gen8 Microserver using the B120i controller.


Some background on what the B120i actually is first. It is actually just the Intel chipset SATA controller but with an HP firmware + HP driver. It is just doing software RAID as there isn't any storage processor. The main advantage of the B120i controller is that it uses the same RAID metadata format as the proper HP Smart Array cards as HP intend for you to do a seamless upgrade by just adding in the card. You wouldn't need to reformat the drives.


The B120i has an optional flash cache module (FBWC) which goes into a special slot on the motherboard. This extra module is required for the B120i driver to enable RAID 5. If the module is missing then you only get RAID 0, 1 and 0+1. The Gen8 Microserver doesn't have the slot at all which is why it doesn't do RAID 5.


In your particular case, it appears you had an old version of the firmware and/or driver which did allow you to run RAID 5 without the FBWC module. There isn't any technical reason why the FBWC must be required for RAID5 since software RAID5 doesn't require one normally. There is a higher chance of data loss and you will get lower performance without one though. Whether it is actually doing RAID5 properly is another matter entirely. I wouldn't recommend doing it though as the ESXi/Linux hpvsa driver is pretty buggy anyway and you're venturing into completely unsupported territory by doing RAID5 without the FBWC module.

Edited by GotNoTime
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I am trying to remember how I did it, is it possible I just moved both arrays from one of my rack servers?


They have both been running RAID5 for years, I have had failed drives and replacements without any issues.


Thinking about it I have also built a new array entirely as I moved from 2TB to 3TB disks.


It's just the degraded iLO status now which is annoying, I had noticed in the previous iLO complaints in system health about the parity initialisation but never alerted me to degraded.


I would upgrade to something better but I'm also in need of the additional network points for my ESXi configuration so I've lost the PCi slot :(


Maybe looking at and building a quiet rack server is going to be the only way!




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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That is possible. In the early days of the Gen8 MicroServer I was playing with migrating RAID sets. I had a RAID5 array on a HP P420, I moved it to the B120i and it appeared to work fine. I didn't test it with much as I was concerned that the B120i would not be able to manage the RAID5 array.

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