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HBA and Direct Attached SAS


Dimitrios
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Hello all,

So, I'm interested in turning my HP G8 microserver into a small DAS. Please bear with me while I explain what I'm trying to achieve.

Storage: HP G8 microserver with HP P222 RAID controller (4x3TB in a RAID array) - this will be the storage for the VMs

Host/Workstation/Hypervisor: Dual Xeon with 64 GB of RAM.

Instead of connecting the storage and the VM host over the network, I want to directly present the raid array to the host machine.

Now, from what I know and have researched, I will need an HBA card on the host machine and then I can connect the P222 and the HBA card with an SF-8088 cable.

Essentially, what I want is to remove the network bottleneck and have the full performance of the array directly available to the host.

Is the above correct and if yes, what kind of HBA card do I need? Will any brand HBA 6G card with an external SAS connector do the job?

Thank you in advance.

 

Edited by Dimitrios
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I am not sure if the P222 can be a RAID controller and a SAS target at the same time. It may be possible to set this up, but I do not think it will work as you are expecting. If I can ask a couple of questions, why do you want the storage in a separate unit? Is there space for four drives in your VM server? Do you have a PCIe slot for a RAID controller in the VM server? 

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Hey schoondoggy - thank you for the reply. I always thought an HBA card could do that, apparently I was mistaken. :)

I am currently using the G8 as the main storage unit so all the disks are there. The VM server has both a PCIe slot and space for four drives - so technically I could duplicate the setup directly on the server, but I want to keep using the G8 as the main point for storage while at the same time avoid the additional cost of getting a 2nd controller plus a second set of disks.

I mean if I have to place storage on the VM server, I will probably drop 2 SSDs in RAID 0 on the C202 integrated controller. However, I wouldn't mind experimenting a bit.

If we assume that the P222 or any "plain jane" HBA can't do this, then what kind of hardware can?

Thanks in advance.

 

EDIT: From what I see now, I bet the best and cheapest solution might be FC HBAs between storage and server - problem is that the micro G8 has only one PCIe which is occupied by the P222... Oh well..

Edited by Dimitrios
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Some HBA can, but the P222 is not an HBA it is RAID only. Most of the LSI based cards can be HBA or RAID, but I do not think they can be both at the same time. Also, the HBA in the MicroServer would need to support being a target. To use the MicroServer it would need to have two PCIe slots, one for RAID and one for connectivity, SAS HBA, Fibre Channel HBA or NIC. Will the VM server be the only device accessing the storage of the MicroServer? Do you want the MicroServer to provide NAS(file shares) or SAN(LUN/block) storage to the VM server? What OS are you going to run on the MicroServer? The easiest way of doing this would be to run something like FreeNAS on the MicroServer and set it up as an iSCSI target. You could try teaming the NIC's in the MicroServer to add to the available network throughput. You may not see a difference with the NIC's teamed unless you are running several VM's. I dont think FreeNAS likes HP RAID cards so you could pull the P222 and let FreeNAS handle the storage. That would open up a PCIe slot for a 10GbE NIC. You could go direct connect between the MicroServer and your VM server with 10GbE. I would recommend you try it with the two 1GbE NIC's on the MicroServer. You may be surprised at how fast it is.

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12 hours ago, schoondoggy said:

Some HBA can, but the P222 is not an HBA it is RAID only. Most of the LSI based cards can be HBA or RAID, but I do not think they can be both at the same time.

This depends on the card, specifically.  However, it looks like the normal RAID cards from LSI do support RAID and HBA functionality, at the same time.  But it does appear that most OEM cards (like the P222) use customized firmwares that DO NOT support HBA functionality. 

This is why "cross-flashing" is very popular on OEM cards, to allow for this.  (I'm using an IBM ServeRAID m1015 cross-flashed to "IR" RAID mode, and use the card as just an HBA). 

 

 

But I do agree, the iSCSI option may be the better solution here. 

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2 hours ago, Drashna Jaelre said:

This depends on the card, specifically.  However, it looks like the normal RAID cards from LSI do support RAID and HBA functionality, at the same time.  But it does appear that most OEM cards (like the P222) use customized firmwares that DO NOT support HBA functionality. 

This is why "cross-flashing" is very popular on OEM cards, to allow for this.  (I'm using an IBM ServeRAID m1015 cross-flashed to "IR" RAID mode, and use the card as just an HBA). 

 

 

But I do agree, the iSCSI option may be the better solution here. 

Just to clarify, HP P222 are not based on LSI chipsets, do not try to cross-flash them.

 

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