HP SAS Expander Owner's Thread

PigLover

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Hey odditory, a question was raised over at AVS that actually might be interesting. Perhaps not useful, but interesting. Any idea if you could put the HP expander behind a non-raid SAS HBA? Specifically, the SM AOC-SASLP-MV8?

If you haven't sold that card yet and get bored sometime soon it might be an interesting test.
 

nitrobass24

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Hey odditory, a question was raised over at AVS that actually might be interesting. Perhaps not useful, but interesting. Any idea if you could put the HP expander behind a non-raid SAS HBA? Specifically, the SM AOC-SASLP-MV8?

If you haven't sold that card yet and get bored sometime soon it might be an interesting test.

According to SM it will not. But that doesnt mean it wont.
I will have an expander tomorrow and can test this out.
 

PigLover

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According to SM it will not. But that doesnt mean it wont.
I will have an expander tomorrow and can test this out.
According to HP pretty much everything discussed in this thread doesn't work...thanks for giving it a look.
 

odditory

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Hey odditory, a question was raised over at AVS that actually might be interesting. Perhaps not useful, but interesting. Any idea if you could put the HP expander behind a non-raid SAS HBA? Specifically, the SM AOC-SASLP-MV8?

If you haven't sold that card yet and get bored sometime soon it might be an interesting test.

Yes, of course. I already have a non-RAID HBA section in the Original Post. The Supermicro card *does* work and sees drives, the problem is it only sees the first 8 drives because its limited to *addressing* only 8 drives by design. Therefore there's no point in using the expander with that card.

I don't see that as a big deal since for $20 more than the price of the SM AOC-SASLP-MV8 you can get something like an Areca ARC-1300-4x or Adaptec 1045 which can address up to 128 drives. I'll have the Areca-1300 tomorrow to confirm but my friend says it works.
 
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odditory

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According to HP pretty much everything discussed in this thread doesn't work...thanks for giving it a look.

What does "according to HP" mean? Do you mean you asked them if their card is certified for use with something other than an HP product? :) I bet they had a good laugh if so.
 

PigLover

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Yes, of course. I already have a non-RAID HBA section in the Original Post. The Supermicro card *does* work and sees drives, the problem is it only sees the first 8 drives because its limited to *addressing* only 8 drives by design. Therefore there's no point in using the expander with that card.

I don't see that as a big deal since for $20 more than the price of the SM AOC-SASLP-MV8 you can get something like an Areca ARC-1300-4x or Adaptec 1045 which can address up to 128 drives. I'll have the Areca-1300 tomorrow to confirm but my friend says it works.

Thanks.
 

PigLover

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What does "according to HP" mean? Do you mean you asked them if their card is certified for use with something other than an HP product? :) I bet they had a good laugh if so.

It was an (obviously failed) attempt at humor.
 

tazeat

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If you have that much porn you have a problem.






Someone had to say it :p
 

pjkenned

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Still no luck with the fw 2.74 P410 flashing. I put the firmware CD (8.70) on the USB stick then added the Expander Firmware v2.02. It boots in there and starts HP SUM fine. I can see it doing the auto scan on the v2.02 .scexe file but when it hits the flash screen the only thing available is the P410.

I've used four different cables in at least four different ports on each card at this point and uninstalled every PCIe component other than the video card. I've tried six different PCIe slots for the P410. Tonight I'm going to try it on the new Intel H55 + i3 530 setup (and if need be the Gigabyte X58-Extreme) and see if the Asus P6T7 supercomputer board is somehow the issue. Anyone else have thoughts on troubleshooting?
 

treadstone

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Does anyone have any experience with the Adaptec 5805Z ?
The 5805 and 5805Z are similar but not the same controller. I'm especially interested in compatibility information between the 5805Z and the HP SAS Expander.

Any information is greatly appreciated!
 

odditory

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treadstone it hasn't worked for me at least on my Adaptec 5805, which is strange since it apparently works with the 5085. There's something about the 5805 firmware that doesn't let it see drives, even though it sees the expander and shows the correct firmware version in the CTRL-A BIOS menu. Whether the 5805Z works or not someone would have to test. Do you own the 5805Z already? I could let you borrow an HP expander if you wanted to test, since I'm interested in getting more cards verified.
 

odditory

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Still no luck with the fw 2.74 P410 flashing. I put the firmware CD (8.70) on the USB stick then added the Expander Firmware v2.02. It boots in there and starts HP SUM fine. I can see it doing the auto scan on the v2.02 .scexe file but when it hits the flash screen the only thing available is the P410.

I've used four different cables in at least four different ports on each card at this point and uninstalled every PCIe component other than the video card. I've tried six different PCIe slots for the P410. Tonight I'm going to try it on the new Intel H55 + i3 530 setup (and if need be the Gigabyte X58-Extreme) and see if the Asus P6T7 supercomputer board is somehow the issue. Anyone else have thoughts on troubleshooting?

Do you happen to have one of those SFF-8087 to SFF-8088 converter brackets? Longshot but I would try connecting one of the SFF-8087 on the P410 to the external port of the HP expander. For the record I do my flashing with a P411 attached to the external port on the expander. It shouldn't matter though.

As for motherboard: In my testing I *have* noticed the expander not working right on some older motherboards, strange as it sounds. This is when I was trying to determine which old motherboard to use in a spare 4220 chassis to serve as a glorified power supply for the expander, since it requires an x4 PCIe slot. Even though the LED's lit up on the expander when power was applied, the raid card didn't see the expander. When I moved the expander back onto another motherboard it was fine. Bizarre, may have been coincidence or cabling issue, it needs more testing.

If I were you I'd try it on a different motherboard just to rule that out, and worst case I'm happy to cross-ship expanders with you, or you could try my P411. Also note the P410/P411 are PCIe 2.0 cards, so while they're supposed to be backward compatible to PCIe 1.0 slots, who knows. I only ever tried my P411 in a PCIe 2.0 slot - that *could* be an issue, again a longshot but find a PCIe 2.0 slot to run it in. I realize HP firmware update sees the card, but try anyway.
 

treadstone

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treadstone it hasn't worked for me at least on my Adaptec 5805, which is strange since it apparently works with the 5085. There's something about the 5805 firmware that doesn't let it see drives, even though it sees the expander and shows the correct firmware version in the CTRL-A BIOS menu. Whether the 5805Z works or not someone would have to test. Do you own the 5805Z already? I could let you borrow an HP expander if you wanted to test, since I'm interested in getting more cards verified.

Thanks for your offer to borrow an expander card. Very much appreciated. I don't have the 5805Z yet. I'm still trying to figure out what RAID controller card to go with. My first choice still is the 5805Z however I am also looking at the Areca ARC-1680i as a possible alternative. Haven't made up my mind yet.
 

pjkenned

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Thanks for the thoughts odditory. I won't quote to save space.

I have both 2x and 4x lane SFF-8087 to 8088 converters so I'll give external a shot and hook them up to different motherboards (I bought a mobo just to do this).

As for PCIe I'm fairly sure that the WS Supercomputer has 2.0 slots my only thought is what if somehow the NF200 chips did something odd which is a longshot. I will try a few different motherboards over the next 24 hours and see what happens. If it isn't looking good I may see what you can do with my expanders. I have lots of cards to test them with :) I would be pretty excited if they worked with the Perc 5/i since it is super cheap and LSI based :)

Update: Have the SAS Expander in an AMD mATX motherboard (bare motherboard), P410 in a brand new Intel mATX H55 board (really like the thing actually)... mouse does not load now on the Firmware CD/USB. I'm guessing I just need to turn on the legacy mouse-USB option in the BIOS... wait the Intel board doesn't have that option! Now I just need to find a PS2 mouse... Not my day.
 
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treadstone

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odditory, I have a suggestion/request for your OP. Would it be possible for you to add the firmware version of each RAID controller card used for the compatibility test?
 

pjkenned

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Sure update is that the HP SAS Expanders aren't being detected by the HP P410 raid controller so I can't test them on anything else. Still no luck :-(
 

odditory

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I have my doubts about the Dell Perc 5/i being able to address more than 8 drives, and the Perc 6/i being able to address more than 16, at least based on documentation, and that's assuming they're able to see the drives on the expander to begin with. I'd love to be wrong since documentation and hands-on testing are often two different stories.

In non-RAID HBA news, I still have not found a non-RAID HBA that will address more than 8 drives, even the Areca ARC-1300-4x did not, despite the vendor claiming up to 128 drives. There are more than a few worth trying though:

HP sc44ge: Rebranded LSI card, someone on another forum mentioned it works with the HP expander, however HP docs state its limited to 29 drives. Not keep on the HP branding since it means firmware flashing headaches.
LSI SAS 3081E-R: Supposedly will address up to 128 drives
Intel SASUC8I: Intel's rebranded version of the LSI 3081E-R (and half the price), appears to be selling for around $150 online (Provantage). Claimed support for 122 drives.
Adaptec 1045: Adaptec claims support for up to 128 drives. Who knows.
 
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mikesm

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I have my doubts about the Dell Perc 5/i being able to address more than 8 drives, and the Perc 6/i being able to address more than 16, at least based on documentation, and that's assuming they're able to see the drives on the expander to begin with. I'd love to be wrong since documentation and hands-on testing are often two different stories.

In non-RAID HBA news, I still have not found a non-RAID HBA that will address more than 8 drives, even the Areca ARC-1300-4x did not, despite the vendor claiming up to 128 drives. There are more than a few worth trying though:

HP sc44ge: Rebranded LSI card, someone on another forum mentioned it works with the HP expander, however HP docs state its limited to 29 drives. Not keep on the HP branding since it means firmware flashing headaches.
LSI SAS 3081E-R: Supposedly will address up to 128 drives
Intel SASUC8I: Intel's rebranded version of the LSI 3081E-R (and half the price), appears to be selling for around $150 online (Provantage). Claimed support for 122 drives.
Adaptec 1045: Adaptec claims support for up to 128 drives. Who knows.

Supermicro says their AOC-USAS-L8i supports 122 drives in IT (JBOD) mode. It's LSI 1068e based. I have an extra couple of these from when I ran linux software raid that I might be able to test in HBA mode...
 

odditory

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Mike that'd be great if you could test the SM card with the expander, I really want to get at least one non-RAID HBA certified with this thing. I'm also curious about the AOC-USAS-L4I since its the 4-port version of the 8-port SM card you mentioned. Then again they look to be selling for about the same price-wise on ebay and price search engines, so maybe the point is moot.
 
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odditory

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Here's another potential low-cost option: The Adaptec 2045. There are a few open-box on techforless.com for $80.31 with coupon code "mcoupon10off". While it uses the same IOP348 as the rest of the 5th gen lineup, firmware appears to have been crippled to do only Raid 0/1/10 in addition to JBOD, but unlike the 1045 which has no raid functions, no cache and a peashooter SAS chip, with the 2045 you get 128MB cache, you can use Adaptec Storage Manager for management, you get staggered spin-up and power management features like array or drive spindown, plus Adaptec has arguably the broadest driver support of any brand.
 
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pjkenned

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Hmmm.... I'll give it a shot maybe after I try the cards I have on hand. With no raid 5/6 the IOP348 is less important (since 0/1 don't require much power). Also since the BBU costs $130, or more than the card, it makes the 2045 an expensive external controller. If you end up using SW raid, you are almost at the point where a plain non-raid HBA makes more sense (I bid on the 1045 on ebay just for fun). That's why I think the 3085 (if you want external ports) is a pretty good deal right now. Used on ebay for $200 or less, and it actually supports raid 6 and has twice the ports.
 

odditory

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Good point, $149 for an Adaptec 3085 on ebay is a killer price for RAID6 capability. However I'm still interested in finding an HBA for under $100 that allows up to 32 drives in JBOD on the HP expander. The non-RAID HBA's I've tested so far all maxed out at 8 drives, so the Adaptec 2045 may fit the bill.

As for internal/external ports, I've come around to preferring the external SFF-8088 connector. The connectors are sturdier than internal (consider that all the drives attached to the expander are depending on that one connection), and its less cable clutter and airflow blockage inside the case. Most importantly it gives me greater flexibility connecting say an array controller in one server to an expander in another server, without having to open the case. Right now I have a couple servers that each have an Areca 1680X and HP expander. I needed to copy about 20Tb from array in server #1 to an array in server #2, so I simply removed the SFF-8088 cable from Areca card in server #2, and swung it over to Areca card in server #1, to direct attach the array and get 400-500MB/s on the transfer instead of 90MB/s over ethernet.
 
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pjkenned

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Yea I can imagine!

The new WHS build was contemplating that since my thought was with tons of PCIe x16 slots I could just add new dummy cases. The next question is, of course, how does one power the SAS Expander in a random Norco case, and manage to fit additional drives in it so you can use all of the expander ports. Seems like you need mini-ITX boards with PCIe x8 or x16 to have a chance as the mATX boards I have are too big.
 

nitrobass24

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Got mine working with an Areca 1680X and 5x Hitachi's in Raid6

Carved out 2TB volumes for WHS :)
 

nexusalt

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Good point, $149 for an Adaptec 3085 on ebay is a killer price for RAID6 capability. However I'm still interested in finding an HBA for under $100 that allows up to 32 drives in JBOD on the HP expander. The non-RAID HBA's I've tested so far all maxed out at 8 drives, so the Adaptec 2045 may fit the bill.

The other nice thing about that 2045 is it looks like the HDD compatibility list is much more current, even lists the WD Greens. Not sure if the 3085 supports them also, but that could be a nice perk for the 2045 if they really do stay functional on that controller.
 

pjkenned

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My experience with the 3xxx series has been that they are slow (well compared to the dual IOP348 cards), but work with everything. The only time I had a 7200.11 drop from the array was when I stupidly pulled the wrong drive from a hotswap bay (luckily the one I pulled was one of the Raid 1 drives so it wasn't too dramatic).

The WD Greens on Adaptec controllers need to be set to 1.5gbps. Seems to work pretty well if you do that.
 
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xnoodle

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Did any of you guys acquire your expanders from the guy on fleabay currently selling them for $190 + S/H? If so, did you get a green PCB?
 

odditory

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xnoodle: yeah I've bought 9 expanders from that seller so far -- bought the first one through ebay and then communicated with him directly after that to purchase two at a time and he offered better pricing. i can PM you his details. His cards are green PCB with firmware 1.0, but I'm happy to flash update the firmware for you if you send me the card.

UPDATE: I was wrong about the Areca ARC-1300-4x and Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 maxing out at 8 drives. In fact they do see all 32 drives on the expander, after booting into Windows. I didn't go far enough in my testing the first time- after the boot-time BIOS only saw 8 drives I had stopped my testing there. Meantime an Areca tech wrote me back to explain the discrepancy, he said they limited the Int13 BIOS support to 8 drives to save resources. Sure enough once inside Windows Server 2008 it saw all the drives in Disk Management. The OP has been updated accordingly noting both these cards are compatible.
 
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pjkenned

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Did any of you guys acquire your expanders from the guy on fleabay currently selling them for $190 + S/H? If so, did you get a green PCB?

I did also, and used the same guy as odditory. Also got the green PCB, I'm now awaiting a flash on my cards to see if they work since the P410 I ordered didn't work. Stay tuned.
 

Kettchxxii

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UPDATE: I was wrong about the Areca ARC-1300-4x and Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 maxing out at 8 drives. In fact they do see all 32 drives on the expander, after booting into Windows. I didn't go far enough in my testing the first time- after the boot-time BIOS only saw 8 drives I had stopped my testing there. Meantime an Areca tech wrote me back to explain the discrepancy, he said they limited the Int13 BIOS support to 8 drives to save resources. Sure enough once inside Windows Server 2008 it saw all the drives in Disk Management. The OP has been updated accordingly noting both these cards are compatible.

Awesome! I just picked up the 1300ix openbox from newegg for 260 so I could consolidate my servers, and was wondering if that external port would play nice with one of these. Do you know how many more cards the ebay guy has? Are you sure you don't want to order all of them from him, flash them and then save one for me when I actually have a positive bank account? :) Amazing work by the way. Finding a expander that is affordable and functional is a huge service to everyone here.
 

mikesm

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The other nice thing about that 2045 is it looks like the HDD compatibility list is much more current, even lists the WD Greens. Not sure if the 3085 supports them also, but that could be a nice perk for the 2045 if they really do stay functional on that controller.

My 31605 supported the 2 TB GP drives just fine. RAID computation is lower than the 5XXX series, but for software raid/whs use that's not really an issue.
 

PigLover

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...UPDATE: I was wrong about the Areca ARC-1300-4x and Supermicro AOC-SASLP-MV8 maxing out at 8 drives. In fact they do see all 32 drives on the expander, after booting into Windows. I didn't go far enough in my testing the first time- after the boot-time BIOS only saw 8 drives I had stopped my testing there. Meantime an Areca tech wrote me back to explain the discrepancy, he said they limited the Int13 BIOS support to 8 drives to save resources. Sure enough once inside Windows Server 2008 it saw all the drives in Disk Management. The OP has been updated accordingly noting both these cards are compatible.

Thanks. Good to know there are non-RAID HBAs to use with these things too (though point well taken on your prior comment that the low port count RAID HBAs really aren't all that much more expensive anyway).
 

nitrobass24

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Yea but if you are not going to use RAID whats the point of getting the expander?
3x of SASLP's will cost about the same as 1x SASLP and an Expander.
Plus with using just SASLP's you have less cable clutter, and dont have to worry about compatibility issues.

The only thing i can see is if you wanted to daisy chain external cases.
But as long as you are confined to a single case, then i think additional HBAs is more cost effective.
 

odditory

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Awesome! I just picked up the 1300ix openbox from newegg for 260 so I could consolidate my servers, and was wondering if that external port would play nice with one of these. Do you know how many more cards the ebay guy has? Are you sure you don't want to order all of them from him, flash them and then save one for me when I actually have a positive bank account? :) Amazing work by the way. Finding a expander that is affordable and functional is a huge service to everyone here.

I don't know if the 1300ix is going to function correctly. I've only tested 1300-4x. The "ix" designation on that card means it has an Internal eXpander, which is inferior to the expander chip on the HP, and would mean you're daisy chaining an expander to an expander, which should work, but no guarantees it won't have problems, based on the problems that onboard Areca expander chip created with some harddisks at least in RAID arrays. I would suggest you return that card, especially at that pricepoint. Check your PM.
 

PigLover

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Yea but if you are not going to use RAID whats the point of getting the expander?
3x of SASLP's will cost about the same as 1x SASLP and an Expander.
Plus with using just SASLP's you have less cable clutter, and dont have to worry about compatibility issues.

The only thing i can see is if you wanted to daisy chain external cases.
But as long as you are confined to a single case, then i think additional HBAs is more cost effective.
Unless you are using a MB with limited PCIe slots...which is highly likely.
 

nitrobass24

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Unless you are using a MB with limited PCIe slots...which is highly likely.

Chances are if you board has 2x x4slot or greater than there are at least three.
Also the HP expander takes up a PCIe slot.

I guess it depends on the situation.
 

odditory

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Yea but if you are not going to use RAID whats the point of getting the expander?
3x of SASLP's will cost about the same as 1x SASLP and an Expander.
Plus with using just SASLP's you have less cable clutter, and dont have to worry about compatibility issues.

The only thing i can see is if you wanted to daisy chain external cases.
But as long as you are confined to a single case, then i think additional HBAs is more cost effective.

That may be true unless you keep an eye out on ebay and price search engines for the non-RAID HBA's that have been tested compatible, that's why I'm trying to build a list. Example the Adaptec 1045 sitting on ebay right now for $50. If that card ends up compatible then for $225 total you have 32 ports of connectivity together with the expander.

More importantly, I think there's a lot of value in "offloading" your harddisk connectivity to an expander, because then you have less invested in HBA's and can interchange them more easily. If someone has 3 x non-RAID HBA's driving 24 harddisks, and then decides "you know I really want to get into RAID", it's a lot more hassle trying to get rid of all the extra HBA's than having only one with an expander. So you make one investment in the expander and your longterm costs go down - swap HBA cards in and out any time you want, when technology changes, when you decide to move to or from RAID or JBOD, etc.

In my case since I know Areca's SAS2 RAID controllers are coming in April, the expander approach works great because it will be a lot less headache trying to sell and recoup cost on an 8-port RAID card I paid $350 for, than the 24-port version I paid $1300 for before I knew better.
 
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