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r0bbie

Attempting to add additional drives to Microserver Gen8 via PCI-e SATA controller card and ICYCube drive enclosure; drives not being detected

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r0bbie

I've had a Microserver Gen8 (1610T) for a few years now, and till now my setup has been four 6TB drives in the bays (setup as a single RAID 10) for data storage, and a 240GB SSD in the ODD slot with the OS etc. I'm currently using the provided B120i RAID controller.

 

I've been running low on capacity and looking to expand with additional drives. After a bit of research online to see how others had achieved this, I went with the following setup which was recommended in a few different places:

 

 

I've installed the card, and hooked up the ICYCube containing a further four 4TB drives. When I boot up the Microserver and go into HP Smart Storage for the B120i RAID controller none of the additional four drives in the ICYCube are currently detected. Booting into CentOS and listing unmounted drives etc also shows nothing.

 

If I go into the Intelligent Provisioning interface at boot it does detect the Syba PCI-e card, but lists it as "Marvell Technology Group Ltd: Unknown Device 9235". Booting into CentOS and listing PCI devices correctly detects and lists it as "SATA controller: Marvell Technology Group Ltd. 88SE9235 PCIe 2.0 x2 4-port SATA 6 Gb/s Controller (rev 11)".

 

Having a bit of a read up to get my head around where I may be going wrong. A few immediate possibilities:

 

  • Limitations with the B120i RAID controller. On further reading today I've seen note in some forums posts that the B120i potentially has a limit of 6 drives, which potentially I can't workaround with the PCI-E card expansion? Is this likely to be a limit I'm hitting with the B120i (essentially looking to move to 9 total physical drives)? Should I look into upgrading to another HP RAID solution?
  • Missing drivers for Marvell SSE9235 cards? CentOS seems to detect it correctly but the fact HP Intelligent Provisioning interface lists as "Unknown Device 9235" made me wonder if this is a possibility
  • Faulty ICYCube. Don't think this is likely but in case it's worthwhile ruling this out. Or faulty SATA card.
  • (Note I've replaced the eSATA cable going to the ICECube already just to rule that out as a possibility.)

 

Would massively appreciate any advice on the above anyone may offer, and what my best solution is to resolve and expand my Gen8 drive capacity via the ICYCube!

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schoondoggy

The HPE SSA is not going to see the Marvell controller or the new drives. The SSA only supports HPE RAID and HBA. Intelegent Provisioning will not do much with the card as it is not HPE.

Drivers that support the port multiplying function of eSATA vary. You should search for details from someone that has used that Marvell chip with the OS you are using. 

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r0bbie

Thanks for taking the time to respond! Appreciate it. So just to make sure I'm getting my head around it - the HP Smart Storage Administrator for the B120i won't detect the Marvell controller (or attached drives) at all, as that can only detect and list supported HP products (HP RAID card or host bus adapter). Am I understanding correctly though that with the Marvell PCI-e card those drives should technically be detectable by the OS assuming the necessary drivers were supported by CentOS 7 and installed? The fact I'm using the B120i controller for the other drives won't impact this?

 

Going to research driver support for CentOS now. Assuming no issues there.. would the following options be open to me then:

  • If CentOS can see the drives attached via Marvell 88SE9235 card with correct drivers, use a software RAID solution for the drives in the ICYCube, independent of the RAID previously setup using HP SSA for the internal drives
  • Instead of the Marvell card, swap this out for a supported HP HBA. From various forums posts I noticed the HP H222 (https://h20195.www2.hpe.com/v2/getpdf.aspx/c04111514.pdf?ver=6) come up recurringly, but I couldn't see a definitive answer if this was fully supported by the Gen8 Microserver. Would that in theory work? Would that mean that the SSA for the B120i would then see those drives, or would a drive limit on the B120i be a blocker there too? (I'd read somewhere there was potentially a 6 physical drive limit with that controller, which I'm not sure if the H222 HBA gets around..)
  • Instead of the Marvell card, swap out for a proper HP RAID card and move away from using the B120i altogether.. I'm assuming this would be the more expensive option!

 

Is that accurate or are there any other good options you'd suggest exploring / anything I'm getting completely wrong there? Apologies understand there's a lot of questions there no one person may have all the answers to, any guidance anyone can offer appreciated anyway, feel a little in over my head on this one at present..

Edited by r0bbie

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schoondoggy

You have lots of options. With the proper drivers you should be able to get the ICYcube to work with eSATA and you could use software RAID to configure the drives. None of that should effect the existing configuration on the B120i. You could get a HPE P222 RAID controller and move the existing RAID10 to it and still have four external ports to use with something like this:

http://www.sansdigital.com/tr4x6g.html

After installing the P222 you could use the B120i with a SATA break out cable to add more drives inside the MS Gen8 or RAID1 your boot SSD. If you wanted to get away from using the B120i or hardware RAID, you could move to a HPE H222 and use the SANS Digital external the front drives internal and use the onboard SATA for booting the SSD, but that would require a wipe and reconfigure.

If you have an old MS you can use it for storage as well:

 

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r0bbie

Thanks for guidance on this! Just a note on the solution I settled with in the end for anyone else who might come across this thread looking to do the same thing -

 

Tried a couple different cheaper eSATA cards with no success having the drives in ICYCube detected in CentOS. Looked into driver issues and again with no luck. The USB connection did work fine, but I wasn't overly happy with that as a solution.

 

I instead got this HBA (10Gtek Host Bus Adapter - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01M9GRAUM) with Mini SAS connection, and swapped the ICYCube for an alternative external enclosure with compatible Mini SAS connection (SilverStone SST-TS431S-V2 - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0771S45X3). On setup this worked perfectly, with the drives properly detected. I'm actually also a little happier with the SilverStone unit in general so far, it feels of higher build quality and fan also seems a little quieter.

 

I also decided to move away from using the B120i RAID controller, and hardware raid in general, and am now using ZFS / RAIDZ.

 

Thanks again for help as I was working through this!

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