HP Smart Array P410 & HP SAS expander card

BENN0

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Hi,

has anyone used a HP Smart Array P410 RAID controller (maybe even in combination with the HP SAS expander card) or considered it for a DIY storage server project?

I'm currently researching a 16 or 20 drive Windows based storage server and am very interested in using the HP card for the following reasons:
-low initial purchase price (~$300-$400 on eBay).
-can be expanded beyond 8 drive connection limit with the compatible HP SAS expander card (PCIe 8x card) (~$200 on eBay).
-can be updated with a licence key to allow for RAID6, 60 and HP's ADG RAID (~$200 on eBay)
-I already have experience with Smart Array controllers in HP Windows server environments.

Although the total price (512MB + battery card, SAS expander, RAID6 license) will come close to a 16+ drive capable Areca or Adaptec card, the HP SAS Expander card and RAID6 license can be added when needed, spreading the costs.

Unfortunately I can find very little information on using this card in a home storage server.

Is anyone using this card (and the SAS expander card) at the moment or has anyone considered it and decided against it? Could you please share your experiences?
 
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BENN0

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Well, despite not finding much information about this card I decided to order it anyway.
I opted for the P410/512MB with BBWC (Battery Backed Write Cache), model number 462864-B21.

To answer some of my own questions; it does work in non HP hardware (I used a Dell Precision 380 workstation).
The HP driver, Smart Array tools (array manager, CLI tool and diagnostic tool) all install without problems. The online Windows firmware update utility also runs without a problem (all on Windows 2003 Server R2, 32bit).
It also accepts my Seagate Barracuda LP ST32000542AS drives (2TB low power consumer SATA drives).

I did have some problems at first when I was using the Windows standard driver (Write Delay Errors, card not responding to management tools, disks disappearing all at once) but now that I installed the latest HP driver all seems fine.
 

aitoribarra

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BENN0,

I for one am very interested in this combination (well, probably I would want the P411 controller instead) so once you've started using it with the SAS expander please post your experiences)! Especially if you don't need the RAID modes that the license unlocks, it looks like a cost effective way to get a lot of drives on one system.

I'm interested in using the SAS expander in an external JBOD box (would probably have to use a low power Atom motherboard just to give it power via PCIe).

cheers,

Aitor
 

BENN0

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I think you can get away with powering it directly from a power supply, just soldering the +3.3 and ground directly on the SAS expander board and hooking that up to a power supply.
I don't think the PCIe bus is used for anything other than providing power. A.f.a.i.k. all communication is done via the SAS bus.

It could take a while before I can report back as the whole idea of this setup is to spread the costs by buying the different components over time.
I can now hook up 8 disks directly to the P410 card (it has 2 internal mini SAS connectors). I'm currently testing with four 2TB Seagate low power disks and probably will be waiting until they hit a price/GB similar to the cheapest 1.5TB disks now before I buy any more.

If I remember correctly the HP SAS Expander Card is only officially supported with the P410 and P410i RAID controllers though, not the P411 you mentioned. Although the only difference I can see is that the P411 has its two SAS connectors external and it supports a maximum of 100 drives to the P410's maximum support for 24 drives.

Another thing that is not clear to me is the maximum drives I can use per array and the maximum size a volume can be (with the P410). The information about this on the HP site is contradicting and is also different for the P411 I just noticed. The problem is the HP site only mentions compatibility with their own products and the largest disk they currently have is a 300GB SAS disk and a 1TB SATA disk so the mentioned maximums may be just based on that. Same with the maximum drive support. The maximum of 24 drives with the P410 may be based on the maximum number of drives that currently fit in the largest supported HP server, not a limitation of the card itself.
 
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BENN0

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I was able to pick up a used HP SAS expander card for $150 + shipping so I can report back in a week or so on its functionality. By then I will also have 2 more 2TB Seagate LP disks (6 total) to play around with.

I've also requested a 60 day trial key (HP Smart Array Advanced Pack or SAAP) for the advanced features including RAID6 and RAID60.

I found several conflicting specs. / limitations for both the Smart Array P410 and the SAS Expander Card. Keeping in mind that HP currently only offers 1TB SATA and 300GB SAS drives the limits seem to be:
Up to 12TB of total internal storage using 24 x 500GB SFF SATA drives or up to 7.2TB of total internal storage using 24x 300GB SFF SAS drives.
RAID6 can handle a maximum of 56 disks (assuming the SAS expander card and SAAP Advance License Pack).
With the SAS Expander Card 14TB (14x 1TB SATA) seems to be the logical drive limit.
 
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simplesam

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If I remember correctly the HP SAS Expander Card is only officially supported with the P410 and P410i RAID controllers though, not the P411 you mentioned.

It works with the p411. I've used the combo.
 

aitoribarra

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I guess these are all my most burning HP expander questions:

q) Is it tied to only using drives with HP custom firmware
a) no!

q) Does it work with non P410/P410i RAID cards - in particular LSI and Areca cards
a) yes - with the HP P411, and possibly with other cards

q) Does it need to use 2 SASx4 connectors to the raid card? As SAS-2 gives you 2400MB/sec over a x4 connector, you could potentially connect two expanders to one raid card
a) unanswered AFAIK

q) Does it support daisy chaining? E.g. hang a couple of expanders off the expander. With 3 expanders in total, this could give you a max of 64 drives, assuming each secondary expander uses a single connector on the primary, so you have 24 drives off each secondary and 16 off the primary.
a) unanswered AFAIK

Availability of this expander, as well as the price, makes it very attractive. Chenbro LSI-based expanders are hard to get hold of in the UK, Areca ones don't seem tobe available at all, and Supermicro ones are tied to their chassis/backplane, so you can't use them in a non-supermicro chassis.

cheers,

Aitor
 

BENN0

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q) Does it need to use 2 SASx4 connectors to the raid card? As SAS-2 gives you 2400MB/sec over a x4 connector, you could potentially connect two expanders to one raid card

I found this on the HP site:
* If attached via 2 cables to a Smart Array P410 Controller or Smart Array P410i Controller the total available bandwidth is 2.4GB/s.
* If attached via 1 cable to a Smart Array P410 Controller or Smart Array P410i Controller the total available bandwidth is 1.2GB/s.

(http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/Document.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&objectID=c01734817)
 

BENN0

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Guess I found a possible problem today.
Up to now all the HP Smart Array drivers and utilities installed on my Dell test system no problem (including the Smart Array controller Windows based firmware update utility).

Today I tried the Firmware Update CD (the only way to update the firmware on the HP SAS Expander Card). This utility does a supported hardware check and will not run on non HP hardware.
So if you need to update the firmware on the SAS Expander Card you'll need to move your Smart Array card + SAS Expander Card to a compatible HP server to enabe the firmware update.
Unless there is another way to force the update somehow.

Edit: and there is :)
I created a bootable USB pen drive from the Firmware Update CD (as described on the HP site). In the root of the USB pen drive there is a file 'blacklist'. I edited out all the values between the "<ids> </ ids>" tags (the file is read-only so change its attributes first). It now boots with a lot of errors but allows me to update the Smart Array card from the current firmware version 2.50 to the recently released version 2.72 that I put on the USB pen drive.
I did no go through with it as I didn't want to risk destroying my RAID controller card (I can always update its firmware from Windows) but once I received the SAS Expander Card I will try to updated the firmware for the expander using this method as it seems to be the only way for the SAS Expander Card.
 
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BENN0

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Funny thing, it seems that you can keep re-using the demo license key for the RAID 6 functionality.
I requested a demo license key a month ago and removed it today to see what happens. If you have a RAID 6 set running that will not be removed, all that happens is that it will turn off the array acceleration so that the write speed drops considerably (to 30MB/s in my case, with the read speed still at a very expectable 250MB/s). Of cause all other advanced functionality will be disabled again (advanced migration options etc.) but any running advanced migration jobs will be completed.

After removing the license key I added the same key again and the start date was set to today so I have another 60 days to do with the demo key. Not sure what happens if the 60 days actually run out but you could always request another demo license key at that point.
 
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Bookmage

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Thanks for the information. I was wondering how the new HP controllers worked. I was looking at the HP P212 but wondered about performance and how well it worked w/the HP SAS expander.

I just need to figure out the total cost including the memory cache and the BBWC and see if its cheaper than an areca or something else w/raid 6 capability.

Hows performance on that thing? Rebuild times? hows it hold up when a drive fails?
 

BENN0

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I'm doing some bechmarks right now on a 4 disk RAID5 (2TB SATA low power Seagate drives) that is still busy with parity initialisation and I'm looking at 450MB/sec and more on large sequential reads/writes and 150+MB/sec on random 512K read/writes. More than enough to saturate two or more gigabit Ethernet connections. The array expansion seems to be rather slow compared to Areca. Expanding a 4 disk RAID5 or 6 with one or two drives takes several days (up to 6 if I remember correctly) on a lightly utilized array with the priority set to high. On a completely idle array it does it in two or three days.
Haven't had to do a rebuild yet.

Also check this topic for lots more information on this controller and the HP SAS expander card.
 

Tahoe916

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I just got one of these cards really cheap, but it has no memory module, any idea where I can find one? I don't need BBWC, but I'd love to have some extra cache on there. Google has been fruitless so far =/
 
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MrFuzzy

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I got one of these too but cant get it to boot it sits at the detecting arrays screen
 

jjseppa

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I got one of these too but cant get it to boot it sits at the detecting arrays screen

Hello, same thing here.

If I unplug the cables ( HP P410 <-> Expander ) before booting, I can get past "detecting arrays screen". Immediately after that I connected the cables and disks show up correctly in my OS.

Now I'm just wondering what the heck to do, should I return the expander as a DOA? Unplugging and plugging the cables every time I have to reboot doesn't sound good.

I've tried the expander in three different PCIe slots ( Two x16 and one x8 ) and it's the same thing every time. Is it really x4 dependant?
Also, tested with P410 firmwares 2.50, 2.74b, 3.00. No help.

Update 13.05.2010

Configured the array with ACU, rebooted, jammed (again) in boot, unplugged cables, rebooted, attached cables after P410 detected no drives, ran ACU again just to see all the drives unassigned and array gone.... *sigh*
 
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nicholasfarmer

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We have a bunch of the HP Raid controllers running great in our 200+ HP servers. The issue I've found is getting the HP controllers to run in non HP hardware.

The P800 Controllers are great. I can push 400MB+ easy with two 15K SAS drives.
But getting it to work in non HP hardware is hard, possible, but hard.

I would not recommend the HP controllers in a desktop build. Areca will not let you down!
 

DieTa

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Hey guys,

I'm also planning to acquire a HP P410 w/ BBU and 512MB of RAM + the HP SAS Expander (v2). I currently have those HDs and wonder if they would work with the HP Controller (had some bad issues with Areca 8 Port controller in the past):

All are desktop class HD's
3x WD 1.5TB EARS
2x Samsung 1.5TB
6x WD 1TB Green
2x Hitachi 1TB
3x 640GB WD Blue

Wanted to create these RAID Sets:
5x 1.5TB = 6TB usable / 7.5TB
8x 1TB = 7TB usable / 8TB
3x 640GB = 1.2TB usable / 1.9TB

But of course it does not make sense to invest if those HDs are not supported by the controller.

Thanks!

Ciao
Dennis
 

haileris

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Personally, I have not had any issues with any disks used on P400 / P800 and I've used a range of sizes (300Gb - 2TB) from multiple vendors (WD, Maxtor, Samsung, Hitachi).

The word of warning is that HP will offer no support if there are any issues (not that I have found any vendor to be particularly good at supporting me with an issue!). The config is functional but the cards don't offer any "nice" features like spin down or MAID. I find that in a custom case they have a tendancy to overheat so make sure you have cooling to prevent this. As someone else pointed out, they are slow to rebuild RAID sets so I wouldn't go RAID-5 unless I am monitoring these things pretty closely.

Bottom line is should work, but then of course you would sat that of the Areca!
 

DieTa

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Hi again,

many thanks for this useful information! I think using the HP P410i would be too much of a compromise. So I decided to go the "regular" way and ordered an Adaptec 51645 with all the other needed stuff. Calculated all stuff together, it was 50&#8364; less this way, because I don't need to buy SFF-8087 cables for 40&#8364;/Pc.
 

nerdalertdk

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I'm planning to run my home storage server using this combo with raids 4x500 raid10 for esxi and 8x3tb raid 6 for storage

But can't find any information on disk spin down
 

BENN0

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I'm planning to run my home storage server using this combo with raids 4x500 raid10 for esxi and 8x3tb raid 6 for storage

But can't find any information on disk spin down

You can't do that with the HP controllers a.f.a.i.k.
The are very limited in terms of 'tweaks' like this.
 

BENN0

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Just some tips on using this controller:

I have now set "Surface Scan Analysis Priority" in the controller settings to "High" (I think this is a new setting since a relative new firmware, maybe since ~6 months or so).
This causes a forced surface scan on every I/O. Since I'm running about ~2000 Torrents on the array there is almost never idle time on the logical drive. The performance of the logical drive will drop with the setting in "High", but is is still more than enough for streaming HD video files etc.

Another problem I had was when a drive was reporting SMART predictive failure, after swapping the faulty drive with a new drive I got:
"Code 776 (Ready for recovery) Logical drive 1 is queued for rebuilding"
After waiting for a day the array was still not rebuilding. I tried a lot of things to get the rebuilding going, including upgrading the firmware to the latest version but nothing would help.
In the end I solved it by shutting down the machine, swapping back the faulty drive, powering the machine back on and hot-swapping the faulty drive with a new spare drive. This did the trick.
I used a bootable CD from HP with the Array Configuration Utility for this but I guess this should also work from within the OS.


Does anyone know how to generate a pop-up or email warning where there is a SMART predictive failure or any other problem with the array? I now only can find messages in the Array Config Utility or in the eventlog. Note that I have the P410 in a non HP server so I probably can't install Insight Manager.
 

sho92

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Since this thread has come back to life, I figured I'd add my experiences and see if anyone has any insight or ideas.

I have the P410 with 256MB cache and battery in a Jetway motherboard. The problem I keep having is the array randomly crashes, which I'm starting to think is from the drives spinning down. I also can't format any logical drives in 2008R2, no matter the size, after they've been created with the Smart Array utility. I'm currently running RAID5 with 5 2TB Samsung Spinpoints. I'm using a separate drive connected to the onboard controller for the boot drive with the P410 option-rom disabled through the BIOS.

I thought the motherboard was part of the issue, so I bought an Intel S1200KP. That board will not boot at all, and there's no way to disable the option-rom on expansion cards. I've tried every combo I can think of, even disabled the onboard controller completely. The RAID controller initializes then the system reboots. Pull the card, and there's no problem.

At this point I'm not sure if the problem lies in the P410 or the motherboards. I'd really like to stick with this card if possible, but I'm starting to think it's not meant to be.
 

cantalup

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Since this thread has come back to life, I figured I'd add my experiences and see if anyone has any insight or ideas.

I have the P410 with 256MB cache and battery in a Jetway motherboard. The problem I keep having is the array randomly crashes, which I'm starting to think is from the drives spinning down. I also can't format any logical drives in 2008R2, no matter the size, after they've been created with the Smart Array utility. I'm currently running RAID5 with 5 2TB Samsung Spinpoints. I'm using a separate drive connected to the onboard controller for the boot drive with the P410 option-rom disabled through the BIOS.

I thought the motherboard was part of the issue, so I bought an Intel S1200KP. That board will not boot at all, and there's no way to disable the option-rom on expansion cards. I've tried every combo I can think of, even disabled the onboard controller completely. The RAID controller initializes then the system reboots. Pull the card, and there's no problem.

At this point I'm not sure if the problem lies in the P410 or the motherboards. I'd really like to stick with this card if possible, but I'm starting to think it's not meant to be.

try to disable onboard SATA and RAID,
 

Deeeebs

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Hello peeps,

I am having some trouble with my setup:

Xeon X3450
EVGA P55 Micro SLi
64GB SSD
4GB OCZ Reaper 1600Mhz
HP P410 + 512MB BBWC + Battery
4 x 1TB Western Digital Enterprise drives

I origionally started off with 3 of the above drives all working GREAT in Raid5 and just added a new one this past weekend. The problem I am having is getting the new drive space available under Windows 2008 R2 Enterprise. In the ACU I have already expanded my array and logical drive to the 2.7TB maximum for the drives. However in windows i still see 1.8TB and not the full 2.7TB. The new drive shows up but I can not do much with it at this point. So how do I go about expanding the logical drive in windows?

Thanks

242efld.png


rc6jut.png
 

cantalup

Gawd
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^^^

I see you new logical drive is ~2.7G.
you need to resize your windows partition to utilize the whole logical drive.
 

Deeeebs

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^^^

I see you new logical drive is ~2.7G.
you need to resize your windows partition to utilize the whole logical drive.

Thing is I dont understand why it is showing up as two unallocated drives and not one big free space.

Under the expand logical drive wizard nothing shows up to add to the drive for expansion...

I got this drive from a friend and I did not check to see if it had any partitions on it. I thought the ACU would wipe the drive when expanding the array. Or am I wrong to assume this?
 
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cantalup

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Thing is I dont understand why it is showing up as two unallocated drives and not one big free space.

Under the expand logical drive wizard nothing shows up to add to the drive for expansion...

I got this drive from a friend and I did not check to see if it had any partitions on it. I thought the ACU would wipe the drive when expanding the array. Or am I wrong to assume this?

no Idea in windows :p

in my linux system. expanding does not wipe data :) with ACU or CLI. the only I have to do is resizing the partition to claim all availabe free space. the data does not wipe out :D after expanding logical drive
 

pezosandor

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Hi ewer one
Can somebody help me out in this matter ?
I wish to bay and install the P410 array controller, to the Asus Striker II extreme motherboard .
Becouse the Nvidia Raid controller is sucks .
The question is , can I boot win 7 from a created array, and is there any Win7 64bit driver for the card , or I can need to use the Win2008 server driver (theoretically it should be compatible.)

Please replay me via Email if its possible: pezosandor@hotmail.com

Thanx a lot for replaying the post
 

mwroobel

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Hi ewer one
Can somebody help me out in this matter ?
I wish to bay and install the P410 array controller, to the Asus Striker II extreme motherboard .
Becouse the Nvidia Raid controller is sucks .
The question is , can I boot win 7 from a created array, and is there any Win7 64bit driver for the card , or I can need to use the Win2008 server driver (theoretically it should be compatible.)

Please replay me via Email if its possible: pezosandor@hotmail.com

Thanx a lot for replaying the post

For your card, here is a link to all the available drivers
Asus has a history of making motherboards that can be flakey with PCIe HBAs, YMMV depending on board and HBA.
As to driver crossbreeding, many Win7 drivers do work in WS 2008, but it is not always as simple in the reverse. Some some hardware manufacturers do a check in the installer whether the PC is running WS2008 and will error out of not. The P410 is bootable in WS, I have no idea whether it would be in Win7 though.
 

pezosandor

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Actually I got a Asus Striker II Extreme motherboard ..
And I wish to replace the Nvidia Raid controller , wit some more powerful raid controller.
Because the Nvidia Raid controller, is unstable with Sata3(WD5000AAKX) hard drive in Raid 0 ()it is fast I admit..
I made some test, and the 2hdd Raid 0 and the 3hdd Raid 0 has a same speed (160MB/s), and 3hdd Raid 5 had worse reading speed, as my old Sata1 raid 0 array :(

Ther is another option ..
I can choose between 2 Raid controller:
1, is HW raid (HP 410) as earlier.
2. is SW raid RocketRAID 2720 SGL http://highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/CS-series_rr272x.htm

The remaining SAS/Sata controllers, are to expensive :(

Which one you are preferring ?
 
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Whats the max drives with a HP P410 and the HP sas expander?
Documentation on the web says 24 drives, but post 1 of the HP expander thread says its been tested with 32 drives?????
 

mwroobel

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Whats the max drives with a HP P410 and the HP sas expander?
Documentation on the web says 24 drives, but post 1 of the HP expander thread says its been tested with 32 drives?????

HP specs the expander for 24 drives. It is meant for internal installation in a proliant, where you would dual-link the expander to the controller, and leave one port for tape. That would leave you 6 available ports which will yield you 24 drives. That said, it is physically capable of more if you choose to utilize all ports.
 

DeGlucker

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Hi all! Is there a way to update HP SAS Expander firmware in completely non-HP environment ? My expander card connected to the LSI Megaraid 9280-24i4e card. I tried to use method described on first page of this thread, but HP's update program couldn't find any components to update. Current FW version is 2.08, tried to update to 2.10
 

mwroobel

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Hi all! Is there a way to update HP SAS Expander firmware in completely non-HP environment ? My expander card connected to the LSI Megaraid 9280-24i4e card. I tried to use method described on first page of this thread, but HP's update program couldn't find any components to update. Current FW version is 2.08, tried to update to 2.10

No, the SAS card must be one of the supported HP adapters listed in the flash upgrade documentation.
 
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