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RAID configuration - advice request


geoprea1989
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Hi guys,

 

I'm a happy owner of a HP Microserver Gen 8 for over a year and for it's first Birthday in our family I decided to give him an upgrade.

 

So after reviewing these topics I finally went to the store and bought two WD Red 4 TB to configure them as RAID 1 to store all my important projects and documents.

 

If you're asking yourself what OS is being installed, our "family member" was running ESXi from microSD just a couple of hours after it was unboxed :)

 

On this setup, beside other VMs I'm running like CentOS, GNS3, and so on, I also am running an XPEnology VM as my NAS.

 

All my VMs are running from a HDD of 320 GB configured as RAID 0 trough the B120i controller due to the past fan speed control BIOS issue.

 

Recently I installed the latest HP SPP [2015.06.0] and the BIOS was also updated, thus if someone can confirm the speed issue in AHCI mode was fixed and will drop to a "normal" value of 6% as my current Smart Array setup I'd really appreciate it.

 

The big question is now, should I configure the RAID 1 still by HP Smart Array [b120i controller] and pass the virtual drive to XPEnology or should I switch over to AHCI, pass both HDDs to XPEnology and make a Synology Hybrid RAID?

 

If I switch to AHCI mode, I read that everything I had on my 320 GB RAID 0 HDD will be lost, along with all my VMs, so what should I do to migrate them or at least back-up them temporary [i have an external HDD, but unfortunately I can't repartition it to configure a secondary datastore]?

 

I'm hanging between these two choices because first i want to be covered in case the Smart Array or the VM running XPEnology fails for no reason and second because I'm not sure if the new Red WDs will be happy spinning their motors all day long because of Smart Array or if they'd be happier if they rest if AHCI mode is used.

 

Also, as far as I know, but I'm not yet very sure here, if one of the HDDs from the RAID setup fails, if configured by Smart Array the status LED of the Microserver should turn red and blink and if configured by DSM [in an AHCI setup] I suppose I will be able to read the SMART info to find which HDD failed.

 

Given these, how would you easier recover data, from a failed Smart Array or from a failed Synology Hybrid RAID and what would you chose to fulfill this safe RAID setup and monitor the health of your drives?

 

In case I'm wrong with my above knowledge or you require other info regarding my current setup that could ease your choice just let me know.

 

Well, hope I haven't got you already bored with my first post and looking forward for your POV :)

 

Thanks,

George

 

 

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If I switch to AHCI mode, I read that everything I had on my 320 GB RAID 0 HDD will be lost, along with all my VMs, so what should I do to migrate them or at least back-up them temporary [i have an external HDD, but unfortunately I can't repartition it to configure a secondary datastore]?

A single drive RAID0 array on Smart Array is just a regular drive. You're fine to swap to AHCI with no data loss.

 

Also, as far as I know, but I'm not yet very sure here, if one of the HDDs from the RAID setup fails, if configured by Smart Array the status LED of the Microserver should turn red and blink and if configured by DSM [in an AHCI setup] I suppose I will be able to read the SMART info to find which HDD failed.

iLO and the HP SSA tool will know what drive has failed. If you used the HP custom ESXi image then ESXi itself will also know what drive has failed. You can't access the SMART attributes without using smartctl on the cut down service console.

 

Given these, how would you easier recover data, from a failed Smart Array or from a failed Synology Hybrid RAID and what would you chose to fulfill this safe RAID setup and monitor the health of your drives?

You're using single drive RAID 0 so just move the drives. The "benefit" of the B120i controller is that you can move the drives to any other Smart Array controller.

 

What version of ESXi are you using? Also, what version of the hpvsa driver are you using? The recent hpvsa drivers have significant performance issues so you have to downgrade to version 88.

 

I've found that the AHCI drive in ESXi 5.5/6.0 doesn't like the SATA controller inside the Microserver Gen8. You'll find it having a large number of timeouts and constant port resets if you look in the logs. Running the SATA controller in B120i mode and the downgraded hpvsa driver was fine however. Be aware that the B120i controller is actually the Intel SATA controller built into the Intel chipset but with a custom HP firmware and driver. It requires significant resources to operate and it has an extremely short I/O queue so don't expect good performance.

 

I'm using a HP P222 card in my Microserver Gen8 with ESXi 6.0 and performance is very good.

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Hello GotNoTime,

 

First of all, thanks for your time and answers.

 

I checked and these are the ESXi and hpvsa versions:

 

~] vmware -vl
VMware ESXi 6.0.0 build-2494585
VMware ESXi 6.0.0 GA

~] vmkload_mod -s hpvsa | grep Ver
 Version: Version 5.5.0-90OEM, Build: 1331820, Interface: 9.2 Built on: Sep  3 2014

 

I first installed the HP's custom ESXi version 5.5, then upgraded to U1 and then to 6.0. Everytime I used the custom images that HP provided.

 

From this output I assume that the hpvsa driver version is 90 so if you say that it affects performance maybe I should also downgrade to version 88.

 

 

Hmmm, "large number of timeouts and constant port resets"... that doesn't sound very good at all so maybe I should stick to the B120i controller if it also supports an easy migration to a future P222 controller.

 

Yeah, I read a lot of good reviews for the P222 controller, but unfortunately it is very expensive here in Romania as it costs almost the same price for the Microserver and the two 4 TB HDDs together so for the moment I can't afford it :(

 

What about the drives spin time? Can they rest their motors when using the B120i controller or are they running all day long?

 

If they're running 24/7, should this be okay for the Red HDDs?

 

Regarding disk monitoring, I checked and seems that smartctl isn't installed, but hpssacli is... even I can't run it, it is still installed

 

~] /opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli

   ERROR: This application cannot be run in interactive mode under this environment.

 

I know, there are a lot of gaps in my knowledge, but hope to fill them as soon as possible to skip bothering you with my questions ^_^

 

So, if you have other tips for me regarding my questions, I'll be glad to accept them.

 

Thanks again,

George

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From this output I assume that the hpvsa driver version is 90 so if you say that it affects performance maybe I should also downgrade to version 88.

Yes. 88 is the last one that works properly. 

 

Hmmm, "large number of timeouts and constant port resets"... that doesn't sound very good at all so maybe I should stick to the B120i controller if it also supports an easy migration to a future P222 controller.

I don't know why it does that with the AHCI driver. I'm not sure if it is a problem with the HP BIOS or whether it is something to do with the AHCI driver in ESXi.

 

What about the drives spin time? Can they rest their motors when using the B120i controller or are they running all day long?

It won't spindown.

 

If they're running 24/7, should this be okay for the Red HDDs?

WD Red drives are designed to be spinning 24x7. They have the spindown timers disabled as constant spinning down and spinning up will cause the drive to fail very quickly.

 

Regarding disk monitoring, I checked and seems that smartctl isn't installed, but hpssacli is... even I can't run it, it is still installed

 

~] /opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli

 

   ERROR: This application cannot be run in interactive mode under this environment.

This is normal. You're not able to run it interactively. You need to specify the commands as arguments when you run hpssacli. e.g. "hpssacli controller all show status

"

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  • 10 months later...

Yes. 88 is the last one that works properly. 

 

I don't know why it does that with the AHCI driver. I'm not sure if it is a problem with the HP BIOS or whether it is something to do with the AHCI driver in ESXi.

 

It won't spindown.

 

WD Red drives are designed to be spinning 24x7. They have the spindown timers disabled as constant spinning down and spinning up will cause the drive to fail very quickly.

 

This is normal. You're not able to run it interactively. You need to specify the commands as arguments when you run hpssacli. e.g. "hpssacli controller all show status

"

 

hi, did you get hpssacli to work?

 

I'm getting this with B120i in RAID mode (all disks as single raid0 disk):

[root@esxi:~] /opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller all show status

Error: No controllers detected. Possible causes:
        - The driver for the installed controller(s) is not loaded.
        - On LINUX, the scsi_generic (sg) driver module is not loaded.
        See the README file for more details.


I'm on ESXi 6.0u2 (HP customized) and:

[root@esxi:~] vmkload_mod -s hpvsa | grep Ver
 Version: Version 5.5.0-88OEM, Build: 1331820, Interface: 9.2 Built on: Jun 12 2014

Edited by icest0rm
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Hello icest0rm,

 

Well, it seems that it's working on my G8:

 

] vmware -vl
VMware ESXi 6.0.0 build-2494585
VMware ESXi 6.0.0 GA

 

] vmkload_mod -s hpvsa | grep Ver
 Version: Version 5.5.0-88OEM, Build: 1331820, Interface: 9.2 Built on: Jun 12 2014

 

] /opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller all show status
Dynamic Smart Array B120i RAID in Slot 0 (Embedded)
   Controller Status: OK

 

I don't remember doing something else except from the initial install of the customized HP ESXi and applying the further updates.

 

George

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mmm....very strange....

 

maybe depending on ESXi version?

[root@esxi:~] vmware -vl
VMware ESXi 6.0.0 build-3620759
VMware ESXi 6.0.0 Update 2

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  • 1 month later...

I had a similar problem "Error: No controllers detected" on:

[root@localhost:~] vmware -vl
VMware ESXi 6.0.0 build-3620759
VMware ESXi 6.0.0 Update 2

Verssion of hpssacli:

[root@localhost:/tmp] esxcli software vib list | grep hpssacli
hpssacli                       2.40.13.0-6.0.0.1854445              HPE              PartnerSupported  2016-09-18

Solution - downgrade to previous version hpssacli. 

HP ESXi Utilities Offline Bundle for VMware vSphere 6.0 in hp-HPUtil-esxi6.0-bundle-2.4-5.zip has hpssacli-2.30.6.0-6.0.0.vib

 

Start ssh, copy hpssacli-2.30.6.0-6.0.0.vib to /tmp

Install:

[root@localhost:/tmp] esxcli system maintenanceMode set --enable true
[root@localhost:/tmp] esxcli software vib remove -n hpssacli -f
[root@localhost:/tmp] cp hpssacli-2.30.6.0-6.0.0.vib /var/log/vmware/
[root@localhost:/tmp] esxcli software vib install -v file:hpssacli-2.30.6.0-6.0.0.vib --force --no-sig-check --maintenance-mode
Installation Result
   Message: The update completed successfully, but the system needs to be rebooted for the changes to be effective.
   Reboot Required: true
   VIBs Installed: Hewlett-Packard_bootbank_hpssacli_2.30.6.0-6.0.0.2159203
   VIBs Removed: 
   VIBs Skipped:

Reboot, Exit maintenanceMode.

[root@localhost:~] esxcli software vib list | grep hpssacli
hpssacli                       2.30.6.0-6.0.0.2159203               Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2016-09-20
[root@localhost:~] /opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller all show status
Dynamic Smart Array B120i RAID in Slot 0 (Embedded)
   Controller Status: OK
Edited by malish
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  • 6 months later...
Thanks for this post.  I had the same issue with VMware-ESXi-5.5.0-Update3-3568722-HPE-550.9.5.0.33-Apr2016.iso

 

vmware -vl

VMware ESXi 5.5.0 build-3568722

VMware ESXi 5.5.0 Update 3

/opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller all show config

 

Error: No controllers detected. Possible causes:

        - The driver for the installed controller(s) is not loaded.

        - On LINUX, the scsi_generic (sg) driver module is not loaded.

        See the README file for more details.

 

 

esxcli software vib list | grep hpssacli

hpssacli                       2.40.13.0-5.5.0.1198611                HPE              PartnerSupported  2016-06-16

 

 

update all HPE VMware packages to latest

 





 

esxcli software vib list | grep hpssacli

 

hpssacli                       2.40.13.0-5.5.0.1198611                HPE              PartnerSupported  2017-04-03

 

/opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller all show config

 

Error: No controllers detected. Possible causes:

        - The driver for the installed controller(s) is not loaded.

        - On LINUX, the scsi_generic (sg) driver module is not loaded.

        See the README file for more details.

 

No dice.

 

Rolled back to suggest version

 

esxcli software vib remove -n hpssacli -f

 

cp hpssacli-2.30.6.0-5.5.0.vib /var/log/vmware

 

esxcli software vib install -v file:hpssacli-2.30.6.0-5.5.0.vib --force --no-sig-check --maintenance-mode

 

esxcli software vib list | grep hpssacli

hpssacli                       2.30.6.0-5.5.0.1198611                 Hewlett-Packard  PartnerSupported  2017-04-06

/opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller all show status

 

Smart Array P400 in Slot 1

   Controller Status: OK

   Cache Status: OK

   Battery/Capacitor Status: OK

 

Working!   :)

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