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DL140 G3 performance

Neil Stephens
Occasional Advisor

DL140 G3 performance

We have recently bought a couple of DL140 2GHz quad core servers (442993-425) which have been loaded up with Windows Server 2003, one 32bit (4GB memory) and one 64bit (16GB memory).

We are running the same applications on both of them (a web application with a SQL backend), but the performance of both of these new servers is very poor. Some processes are taking 5 or 6 times longer to run then they did on the 4 year old servers they've replaced. Even without our applications running, the general performance of the machines (navigating through Windows Explorer etc...) seems to lack the 'spark' of our other servers.

We've installed 2 500GB Seagate Barracuda (ST3500320AS) SATA drives in each server, connected to the LSI SAS 1068 controller.

Should these drives be OK in this machine? I don't really know where to start diagnosing the problem. Any help or pointers greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
17 REPLIES
Blazhev_1
Honored Contributor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

Hi,

you can update the controller firmware :

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=15351&prodSeriesId=1842838&prodNameId=3285485&swEnvOID=1005&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=MTX-82d363aa4fde4ab9852b87fea0

update the controller driver :

http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=15351&prodSeriesId=1842838&prodNameId=3285485&swEnvOID=1005&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=MTX-228fa3af476543678136e0535a

You have connected SATA HDDs to the SAS controller. On this controller the Drive write cache can't be enabled, there is no Battery Backed Write Cache option, so there is not much you can do to improve the performance.

You can update the MS storport.sys driver
which playse important role in the performance too and fixes bugs :

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/941276

I think this is the latest version out there.

Pac
Neil Stephens
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

I've already updated the controller driver using the latest version ( 1.26.5.0 ) from the LSI Logic website which didn't give much improvement, and I've just requested the updated storport driver from MS.

Will updating the controller firmware really make that much difference? I always get nervous updating firmware due to the potential for disaster, but if it's going to make a noticeable difference I will do.

As far as I'm aware, we have no choice but to install SATA drives in these machines without getting an additional SCSI controller, so presumably the server is meant to be used with SATA drives. I just don't understand why the machines seem to be slower than the other DL140s (dual core / 2GB memory with similar drives) that we have.

What would most people normally do? Should we go for a RAID configuration?

Thanks.
Blazhev_1
Honored Contributor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

Hi,

yes the drives are supported from the controller :

500GB SATA 7,200 rpm
Up to 2
Position supported - 1 & 2
HP Internal SAS HBA with RAID

About the controller frimware- it is the most important for performance...

What do other people do - make RAID of course. It brings performance and RAID tolerance. Since you have only 2 disks you can make RAID 0 for read/write performance
and RAID 1 for less disk space, faster read performance and fault tolerance, but it depends on your environment

Pac
Neil Stephens
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

The LSI controller firmware and driver are now both up to date and I've applied the storport driver patch from Microsoft, but unfortunately that's made no discernable difference.
Neil Stephens
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

I've updated both the driver and the firmware for the LSI controller, and applied the storport patch from Microsoft. Unfortunately, this has made no discernable difference.
Neil Stephens
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

We've managed to get the servers performing as they should by plugging the drives directly onto the mainboard rather than using the separate SAS controller.

What is the point of this SAS controller if it makes the performance so much worse?

Thanks.
final_1
Occasional Visitor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

2 Pac,
We also have the same problem on our 6 DL140G3 servers. I've upgraded drivers and firmware to the latest from this site, but it made no difference.

So I investigated...
If you read anything from this controller - everything is ok, fast speed.
But when you try to write anything - its gonna take about 30 minutes to copy 100Mb file...

So I think, the problem is in write caching of LSI controller. Even if you switch it off in drivers (FreeBSD), the controller will continue to think that the BBU is connected (or what?) and would not turn off write caching.
The problem is the same for Windows, FreeBSD and all other OSs, where LSI driver can be found.

HP, can you somehow push your programmers to solve this problem ? Its the problem of LSI controller firmware I suppose...

Thank you.
AMRIT RANJAN
Frequent Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

Hi Neil,
If u had done the diagnostic i.e updated firmware, driver and storeport driver
still same issue.
kindly let me know how you are measuring the performance ?, which application you are using ?
what is the firmware release date of storage controller ?, when the performance is getting low in read or write process .
1 more thing is recommended that is system bios, update my following below link
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=15351&prodSeriesId=1842838&prodNameId=3285485&swEnvOID=1005&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=MTX-3baf489ac801424198e6b2e73b
If possible then run off line diagnostic in 3 loops for entire h/w to isolate any h/w failure,capture survey report and share both report on my mail id .

if you want to raise this issue to HP then kindly log a case with them ask them to involve
L2 support for same , and kindly share the case id with me also on my mail id
amritranjan111@gmail.com
amritranjan111@hotmail.com

........Amrit
Neil Stephens
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

Amrit,

Other than updating the BIOS and drivers, I hadn't done any actual diagnostics or proper performance testing, it was simply that our application ran painfully slow on the new servers compared to the 3-4 year old machines they were replacing. A process which involved a lot of reading and writing to SQL databases took 5 or 6 times longer to run. Bypassing the SAS controller has brought the performance up to where it should be.

Having done some brief internet research on these controllers, it seemed that they are great for improving the performance of read operations (i.e. web servers and the like) but not good for write operations.

For now, until I have time to perhaps investigate further, we'll be leaving them as they are and just think twice before getting any more HP servers.

Thanks for your reply, Neil.
AMRIT RANJAN
Frequent Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

Hi Neil,
thanks for your prompt reply
as you told that by passing the SAS controller has brought the performance up to where it should be, so which controller you are using right now, is it the embedded controller ?
The hdd ST3500320AS which you are using does it contain HP tag on it so we can consider the compatibility ? if it is then share the
spare part no.
if you are using sata hdd on sas controller then write cache is automatically disabled
so no chance for any enhancement in data writing process.
can you share off-line survey report for further analysis

........ Amrit
Alun Webber
Occasional Visitor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

I have also bought a number of the DL140 2GHz quad core servers (442993-425) and am disappointed with the RAID 1 performance using SATA drives under RHEL5. I am using the default driver installed with RHEL. T It is definitely running as a RAID 1 mirror - messages appear in syslog relating to rebuilding the mirror when I remove and re-insert discs.

When using hdparm -t to benchmark the discs, I have noticed that the read transfer rate is approximately equal to the claimed sustained transfer rate of a single disc and not twice the rate as expected and measured on other similar systems.

I have also noticed that during the RAID rebuilds the access LEDs are not on continuously as with other servers.

One of the other responses says that the drive write caches are disabled when using SATA drives with the LSI SAS 1068 controller. Is it that case that the write caches cannot be used with SAT drives or are they just disabled by default? If so how do I turn them on?

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
Pavol Čierny
Occasional Visitor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

Hi,

I have the same problem with two HP DL145 G3 servers. 2x SATA drives in a Hot-plug SATA/SAS backplane with LSI controller.

Is it already fixed in a BIOS or should I connect the disks directly to the SATA connectors on the mainboard?

BTW do I need some special cabling or I'll just switch the cable from LSI controller to the SATA controller? (I don't have access to the servers right now, and they are already in production environment).


Thanks for any suggestions.
Neil Stephens
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

Don't know if this issue has been fixed in the BIOS, but we just connected the SATA drives directly to the motherboard using a couple of normal SATA cables.
Pavol Čierny
Occasional Visitor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

And what about the SAS backplane? Do I need to remove it? What about the power cabling? :)

I don't remember how does it look like inside the server so I have so many stupid questions :)

Thank you.
Neil Stephens
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

It was a while ago, but I'm pretty sure we left the SAS controllers in place and just unplugged the cables from the backplane the drives are plugged into. It's the backplane that provides the power for the drives.

If it's the same as in our servers, all you'll need are a SATA cable for each drive.
Pavol Čierny
Occasional Visitor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

Thanks for the answers :)...

Just last one stupid question... How long were the cables you used ... I think that I need cables that are at least 1 meter long...

Thanks.
Neil Stephens
Occasional Advisor

Re: DL140 G3 performance

Don't think they were that long - you certainly wouldn't need more than 1m.