Low IOPs using LSI adapter

valorouswon

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Apr 30, 2014
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Hello,

I'm getting low random read/write IOPs in between 40k -60k (sata 2 speeds), as soon as I plug a SSD back into my motherboards SATA 3 ports I get the advertised speeds. However, Sequential read/write speeds are high across the board, only the IOPs are being affected.

Specs:

New IT Mode LSI 9211-8i SAS SATA 8-port PCI-E 6Gb/s Controller Card
3930k
GA UD5 x79
Samsung EVO 840/850, 256gb and 500gb
Samsung 840 PRO 500gb

Not sure why this is happening. I tried "optimizing" in Samsung Magician but that did nothing. I also tried switching Windows to "Performance" in control panel. The control Utility for the LSI also gives no options except order.

Any ideas? This one is completely out of my comfort zone.

Thanks!
 
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valorouswon

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Apr 30, 2014
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Maybe I need a firmware update of bios flash? I'll probably get a response here way before I get through technical support at LSI
 

iamwhoiamtoday

Limp Gawd
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Oct 29, 2013
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I'd highly recommend upgrading the firmware to the latest and greatest, along with the BIOS. Also, make sure to go to "IT mode" over "IR", doing so fixed my own IOPS issues in one of my ZFS servers.
 

valorouswon

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I'd highly recommend upgrading the firmware to the latest and greatest, along with the BIOS. Also, make sure to go to "IT mode" over "IR", doing so fixed my own IOPS issues in one of my ZFS servers.


I'll try the firmware for the adapter, as for BIOS I'm always told not to unless it's a last resort. This IT mode, in the Bios?

Device manager says I'm up to date in terms of software (2012), then on their site there's an update from 2015 for windows 7. Also ran the Firmware insatller, didn't do shit just like all their other installers. Usually they just crash.

"SAS2FLASH is stand-alone binary and can be executed from any location on a file system"
 
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valorouswon

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Nice but that sounds like something I really don't want to screw up. I'm wondering if LSI tech support would have a more user friendly way of doing this since the files are already online. I've flashed my boards bios before, but Gigabyte sent me an installer to update AND revert back to my motherboards F12 bios, using their utility tool and without the traditional usb flash

I should have researched this card better, I knew $100 was too good to be true. Are there any inexpensive LSI adapters that will definitely not bottleneck IOPs? Might just buy one sligthly more expensive to avoid headache

This post should point you in the right direction for updating the LSI 9211 8i adaptor.
Flashing an LSI 9211-8i RAID Card to IT Mode for ZFS/Software RAID (Tutorial)

There is a specific IT mode firmware package.

SAS2FLSH.exe works well within DOS for flashing purposes, that's how I got my systems updated. Booted from a flash drive and flashed the IT firmware
 
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iamwhoiamtoday

Limp Gawd
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Oct 29, 2013
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There should be a user friendly way to do it from within Windows, by all means reach out to LSI Support. All of my servers are BSD / Linux, hence the USB - DOS approach.

A good number of those cards that I purchased shipped with the IR firmware, not the IT firmware. You can't flash the IT firmware over the IR firmware without having to erase the firmware first.

Personally, I'm running 4 of these cards without an issue. All of the performance issues that I see can be directly pointed by my rotating drives. They even play nice with HP SAS Expanders.
Flashing IT Firmware to the LSI SAS9211-8i HBA - brycv.com
 

drescherjm

[H]F Junkie
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At work I flash my LSI cards in linux directly with the OS running using linux flash utils. All the work servers are running linux. Although this is the case for when the OS is not on the LSI controller. If it is I use a systemrescue iso off a USB stick and run the linux tools from that.
 
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Zedicus

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just a note, the firmware version needs to match the driver version you are going to run. if you are using a prebuilt distro life freenas or nas4free or some version of linux you need to verify what driver version you will be using before willy nilly flashing.
 

valorouswon

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So should I uninstall the driver before I flash? I just plugged it in and windows automatically installed driver from 2009, cant see there being a newer one. Im trying to get technical support to show me an easier process within windows. First guy never emailed me back after speaking on the phone, 10/10 service

just a note, the firmware version needs to match the driver version you are going to run. if you are using a prebuilt distro life freenas or nas4free or some version of linux you need to verify what driver version you will be using before willy nilly flashing.
 

valorouswon

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Well a tech support was really nice and walked me through it. I currently have the latest IT firmware installed (2118it.bin / v20.00.00.00) and the newest driver from 2015 (2.0.76.0) opposed to the initial 2009. However, he told me this is a SAS 2.0 device and I will only get sata 2 speeds. This makes no sense to me, because my sequencial read/writes hover around 550mb, its only the IOPs that are low. Any idea what's going on? Should I be using SAS 2.1? My IOPs went from max of 60k to 70k, but I should still be getting 90k+

Running out of time to return this thing, my last idea could be that it should be in a PCI 3.0 slot, although it's technically PCI 2.0



just a note, the firmware version needs to match the driver version you are going to run. if you are using a prebuilt distro life freenas or nas4free or some version of linux you need to verify what driver version you will be using before willy nilly flashing.

There should be a user friendly way to do it from within Windows, by all means reach out to LSI Support. All of my servers are BSD / Linux, hence the USB - DOS approach.

A good number of those cards that I purchased shipped with the IR firmware, not the IT firmware. You can't flash the IT firmware over the IR firmware without having to erase the firmware first.

Personally, I'm running 4 of these cards without an issue. All of the performance issues that I see can be directly pointed by my rotating drives. They even play nice with HP SAS Expanders.
Flashing IT Firmware to the LSI SAS9211-8i HBA - brycv.com


Check your IOPs, according to tech support this model is SAS 2 and should only be getting SATA 2 speeds

just a note, the firmware version needs to match the driver version you are going to run. if you are using a prebuilt distro life freenas or nas4free or some version of linux you need to verify what driver version you will be using before willy nilly flashing.
There should be a user friendly way to do it from within Windows, by all means reach out to LSI Support. All of my servers are BSD / Linux, hence the USB - DOS approach.

A good number of those cards that I purchased shipped with the IR firmware, not the IT firmware. You can't flash the IT firmware over the IR firmware without having to erase the firmware first.

Personally, I'm running 4 of these cards without an issue. All of the performance issues that I see can be directly pointed by my rotating drives. They even play nice with HP SAS Expanders.
Flashing IT Firmware to the LSI SAS9211-8i HBA - brycv.com
 
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sixpac

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SAS 2.0 drives run at 6 Gbps. SAS 3.0 supports up to 12 Gbps.

That card should be just fine.
 

valorouswon

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Well I'm not sure what to do then, I'm still being bottlenecked at 70k IOPs, most of the time it's around 60k for all my drives. I also tried changing my power options in windows.
 

iamwhoiamtoday

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Not sure that bumping is gonna get you the answer you want. You've already done what I've suggested and talked with LSI directly. If LSI tech support wasn't able to boost your IOPS performance further... not sure what we can do. You might be looking at a hard limit in the HBA. I've only ever used the 9211's for HDDs, not SSDs.

Might be time to either hook your SSDs up directly to the motherboard, or to look at a different HBA.
 

valorouswon

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Well since the thread is about ssds I thought that's what you had, not sure how your HDDs are relevant given their low bandwidth. Also, you would think it would bottleneck my sequential reads and writes as well.

I guess I will start looking for a new product, this was a bigger scam than my "6 GB" Marvel controllers that actually have sata 2 speeds.

Thanks for all the help

Not sure that bumping is gonna get you the answer you want. You've already done what I've suggested and talked with LSI directly. If LSI tech support wasn't able to boost your IOPS performance further... not sure what we can do. You might be looking at a hard limit in the HBA. I've only ever used the 9211's for HDDs, not SSDs.

Might be time to either hook your SSDs up directly to the motherboard, or to look at a different HBA.
 

olavgg

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This may be because you're using consumer SSD's which an enterprise SAS controllers will perform badly on as it executes ATA_CMD_FLUSH for writes aka SAFE_WRITE.
 

valorouswon

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Well, it's been a while, thought the bottleneck coudl have something to do with my ssds being formatted as mac journaed (past hackintosh). Formatted everything back to NTFS and uninstalled HSF+, still getting low IOPs.
 

_Gea

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If you are yet on firmware 20.0.0.0:
This one has bugs especially with SSDs.

Update to IT firmware 20.0.0.7

btw
The best enterprise SSDs are at around 50-80k raw write iops under steady load while desktop SSDs are at 10-40k. If you see write values like 90k+ on desktop SSDs think of it like the max speed of a car (from a free fall experiment).

If you get higher values on a benchmark, this is for a short time on a new SSD or some sort of OS optimisation or a cache is involved.
 
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