BUILD Promise Supertrak EX8350 installation

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by skidrash, Jun 6, 2013.

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    skidrash

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    skidrash, Jun 6, 2013

    I am totally new to BSD, though I have done some work in Linux (just enough to make BSD feel completely alien to me...).

    I have a Promise Supertrak EX8350 (8port SATA II RAID), and I can't get it visible in FreeNAS. I have set all the drives to JBOD, and the BTX loader mentions them as it fly's by (I dont' know if that is any significance), but nothing in FreeNAS.

    I've read some other people on the forum mention this card but never a solid answer. I have found the FreeBSD drivers for it here:
    http://www.promise.com/single_page_session/page.aspx?region=en-global&m=719&sub_m=sub_m_8&rsn=144
    But I haven't a clue how to load a driver in BSD.

    Following a sugestion in another post I downloaded the FreeBSD live image to see if the controller comes up in FBSD. I can't burn a disk right now, and all I had was a 1gb thumb drive, so I could only fit FBSD9.1. Booted that and it left me at a terminal (I thought FBSD had a GUI?). Logged in as root, and now I don't know what to look for to see if the controller is working...

    I trying to build my first NAS and struggling... I'm considering FreeNAS, NAS4Free, or OpenMediaVault. Right now OMV is the winner because it is the only one that loads my 8350 right out of the box. However it doesn't feel as refined as FN or N4F, and I would really like to give them a go. I would like to support 9-10 drives plus port multipliers for external expantion, hence the 8port 8350 controller. I considered purchasing a "cheap" non-raid card, but anything over 4 ports gets expensive (ITX mobo, so only one PCIE).

    Any help getting this 8350 working would be appreciated.

    Thankyou,
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    cyberjock Forum Guard Dog/Admin

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    cyberjock, Jun 6, 2013

    Here's some info and requests:

    1. In FreeNAS, with the controller installed and hard drives attached to it, paste the output of camcontrol devlist -v. Paste the output inside of [NOPARSE]
    Code (text):
    1.  
    [/NOPARSE] to keep the formatting.
    2. FreeBSD has no GUI. This is one of the reasons why FreeNAS is so popular. Without FreeNAS you'd have to do everything from the command line. Many people want ZFS but don't want to spend the next 2 years of their life learning FreeBSD command line nor do they want to learn how to troubleshoot the issue when something horrible happens.
    3. I clicked on that link, chose your controller, selected the OS and chose driver and the list is empty. I get the feeling there isn't a driver to download from the website. So either there isn't one at all or its built into FreeBSD. FreeNAS doesn't have every single driver that is part of FreeBSD, so it may be a matter of requesting your controller be supported in the future.
    4. You should be able to do a camcontrol devlist -v and see your hard drives in the FreeBSD 9.1 Live USB stick you made.
    5. That controller has on-card cache and is a full fledged RAID controller. Those are typically not recommended with ZFS configurations for various reasons. While you may be able to set them up and everything will look great now the future is not so bright. Things can start going wrong and you may not know it until its too late to save your data. If you have the option to get a different card the recommended card is the IBM M1015 flashed with the IT firmware. There's lots of info on how to do it in the forum and the card can usually be purchased from ebay for less than $100.

    I figure that your controller is already supported and something else is wrong or the controller isn't supported. If it isn't supported but a driver does exist all it will take is a ticket for support to get added. Depending on the complexity with adding the driver it could be added in a few days or take months. If it is added before the next release(no date is set for the next release yet as far as I know) you'd have to use a nightly build until the release is released. Nightly builds can be very buggy and are generally not recommended, so you may be on a road that is uphill until the next release. If your controller isn't supported in FreeBSD I wouldn't count on it ever being supported. Your card is discontinued and generally manufacturers either provide the driver when the hardware is released or turn their snobby noses at FreeBSD and tell the community its not worth their time.

    I will also warn you that port multipliers don't necessarily work as well as you might want for a reliable server. Someone else lost their entire zpool because of issues with port multipliers. Often when 1 disk starts having issues it locks up the associated port multiplier which then causes all the other disks connected to the port multiplier to disconnect. Because of the way that the port multipliers lock up and the way the OS is informed it can often corrupt your zpool and/or hardware RAIDs beyond repair. So if you are looking to build a server that will reliably store your data for years to come you may be very disappointed when a single disk starts having issues. This is a hardware issue and not an issue that can be resolved with a different OS. Port multipliers are the poor man's SAS Expander and there's a reason why they are cheaper too.
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    jgreco Resident Grinch

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    jgreco, Jun 6, 2013

    SAS expanders are not necessarily awesome either, but they are more likely to work without problems. This 24-bay Supermicro chassis attaches to an M1015 with a single SFF-8087, and that makes for easy system building and not needing to worry whether each of 24 little stupid SATA connectors might be working loose or is in a stressy orientation.
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    cyberjock Forum Guard Dog/Admin

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    cyberjock, Jun 6, 2013

    Did you forget a link when you said "This 24-bay supermicro chassis..."?
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    jgreco Resident Grinch

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    skidrash

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    skidrash, Jun 6, 2013

    Alright, you guys have given me a lot to think about... I know very little about SAS, so I begun educating myself today. To answer the questions:

    1) Here is the shell output from my FreeNAS 8.3 web interface:

    Code (text):
    1. scbus0 on sbp0 bus 0:                                                          
    2. <>                                 at scbus0 target -1 lun -1 ()                
    3. scbus1 on ahcich0 bus 0:                                                        
    4. <ST9320421AS HP14>                 at scbus1 target 0 lun 0 (pass0,ada0)        
    5. <>                                 at scbus1 target -1 lun -1 ()                
    6. scbus2 on ahcich1 bus 0:                                                        
    7. <SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series CXM03B1Q>  at scbus2 target 0 lun 0 (pass1,ada1)        
    8. <>                                 at scbus2 target -1 lun -1 ()                
    9. scbus3 on ahcich2 bus 0:                                                        
    10. <SAMSUNG SSD 830 Series CXM03B1Q>  at scbus3 target 0 lun 0 (pass2,ada2)        
    11. <>                                 at scbus3 target -1 lun -1 ()                
    12. scbus4 on ahcich3 bus 0:                                                        
    13. <>                                 at scbus4 target -1 lun -1 ()                
    14. scbus5 on ahcich4 bus 0:                                                        
    15. <>                                 at scbus5 target -1 lun -1 ()                
    16. scbus6 on ahcich5 bus 0:                                                        
    17. <>                                 at scbus6 target -1 lun -1 ()                
    18. scbus7 on umass-sim0 bus 0:                                                    
    19. <Flash Drive SM_USB20 1100>        at scbus7 target 0 lun 0 (pass3,da0)        
    20. scbus8 on umass-sim1 bus 1:                                                    
    21. <MATSHITA DVD-RAM UJ-840S 1.00>    at scbus8 target 0 lun 0 (pass4,cd0)        
    22. scbus-1 on xpt0 bus 0:                                                          
    23. <>                                 at scbus-1 target -1 lun -1 (xpt0)
    2) No GUI huh? Learn something new... Yeah, ZFS is why I'm here.

    3) Sorry about the driver link... I guess it's one of those that don't directly link. If you go to that link and search for the controller, but select OS as "Other" (instead of BSD), it will shoot back 6 or 8 different drivers for all different FBSD versions.

    4) So I ran it on FreeBSD 9.1 live and got almost the same exact thing, although there was some else after ahcich5 (I forget what, the computers are far away from each other, but it didn't look like a hdd). I than attached a forth drive to the 8350 controller and rebooted FBSD. Ran the camcontrol and got the same response. It did not add any entries... So I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that is NOT good news for me?

    5) I'm looking into the M1015 now... Definitely more $$ than I wanted to throw down. A new controller was not on the budget for the initial build.

    6) Port multipliers/expanders... I have to plan for a path forward (building external expansion chassis). Probably not part of the initial build, but I have to be able to add too later. So...
    I've been looking at multipliers mostly because of the latest Netgear and Synology NAS's... They both offer eSATA ports that can be connected to a 5-bay expansion cabinet. They don't come out and explain the tech, but the math adds up to a SATA port multiplier. My thought was: "If they think it's good enough for their products, it's good enough for my build." So you all are saying differently? Could this be the difference between a cheap multiplier (like Syba) and a more pricey one (like Addonics)?

    So I spent a lot of today trying to wrap my head around expanders. Interestingly, they end up being cheaper than multipliers on a per-drive basis. I guess you pay up front on the controller. Looking at two different ones: Intel RES2SV240 which is nice because you can run two 8087's to it to aggregate bandwidth, but I would have to get a 8088 to 8087 adapter to build it into an external case. The other was Highpoint Rocket EJ240, which is nice because I wouldn't need the 88-87 adapter, but I can't find anything that says it will work with a non-Highpoint controller. Now, the problem with either is that the M1015 only has two 8087's, so I could only have 4 drives internal to the main chassis, and run the other 8087 to the external case (meaning I couldn't use the doubled bandwidth of the RES2SV240 because only one cable). Suggestions? Thoughts? Critique?

    Thank you for all your input. I really appreciate you taking the time to answer!

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