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Smart Array compatible with Debian 6.0.7

Occasional Advisor

Smart Array compatible with Debian 6.0.7

Hi guys..


We would be buying some new servers proliant. We know the series Smart Array B110/120 are not compatible with debian.  During installation, debian cant see the raid we created, instead it see each disk.. 


Reading in the this community I found that for this cards to work,  I should install a driver which is available for windows, redhat or suse..(for the B110/120)


I think the Smart Array P series are compatible with debian, right?


what versions should works flawless? P410, p410i, p420, p420i?


The server we are getting could be DL360 probably Gen7..


not sure if other proliants series below the 360 support debian..


any advice?


we should run debian 6 on the server, that is what the app developer required, no red hat , no suse..






Honored Contributor

Re: Smart Array compatible with Debian 6.0.7

Basically everything except the Smart Array Bxxx series (and possibly the absolute newest SmartArray models whose autodetection PCI strings are not yet in the Debian kernel) are known to work well.


In general, G7 hardware sounds like a good fit for Debian 6.0.7. Gen8 might be a bit too new for Debian 6.x.x.


Here is the original Linux Smart Array driver information page:

The current situation is that there are three different Smart Array drivers around:

  • the non-free hpahcisr driver for the Smart Array Bxxx series only, which is not available for Debian.
  • the open-source cciss driver for the classic ("just a number") and early Pxxx and Exxx series Smart Array controllers, which is known to be very reliable. It presents the Smart Array logical disks as /dev/cciss/cXdY.
  • the open-source hpsa driver for the new generation Smart Array Pxxx series. It presents the Smart Array logical disks as /dev/sdX.

(I think there used to be yet another driver for the ancient Compaq Smart Array controllers, but that is not relevant with modern hardware.)


The standard kernel version for Debian 6.0.x is 2.6.32-5 at this time.


The "News" item on the above-mentioned information page says that the hpsa driver was added to the vanilla kernel in version 2.6.33, but looks like Debian has backported it to their 2.6.32-N kernels. However, the cciss driver will by default claim the new generation Smart Array Pxxx controllers too, unless you use the "cciss_allow_hpsa=1" cciss module option to explicitly allow the new hpsa driver. This overlap was removed at kernel version 2.6.36.


So, on Debian 6.0.x you have the option of using the hpsa driver, but by default the old reliable cciss driver will handle pretty much all SmartArrays that are not Bxxx series. However, if use the defaults with a new generation Smart Array Pxxx and you later upgrade to Debian 7 or anything else that runs kernel version 2.6.36 or later, you may have to deal with the cciss -> hpsa switchover at that point.


(I hope you and your app developer are both aware that the release of Debian 7 will probably happen quite soon.

See for the number of remaining release-critical bugs. On March 20, there was only 100 RC bugs to fix: now the number is down to 52.)

Jimmy Vance

Re: Smart Array compatible with Debian 6.0.7

To expand a bit on what Matti was saying



Open Source drivers are "cciss" and "hpsa", both of these drivers are in the kernel tree and picked up by all major distribution vendors.


"cciss" is a block device driver

"hpsa" is a scsi driver


both "cciss" and "hpsa" work with the "P" series Smart Array controllers.


refer to the link below for a document showing what driver works with what controller and known overlap. (Sorry doesn't include Debian, but still good info)



Closed source drivers


"hpahcisr" driver is for B110i controller G7 systems

"hpvsa" driver is for B120i/B320i controller Gen 8 and a few G7 systems



No support by private messages. Please ask the forum! Accept or KudoI work for HPE
Goran Koruga
Honored Contributor

Re: Smart Array compatible with Debian 6.0.7



There's also a 3.2 kernel available via the backports repository.




Occasional Advisor

Re: Smart Array compatible with Debian 6.0.7

thanks guys.


I think we will get the DL36Op gen8. whiche come with the p420i... I went to the hp page for this model and it looks like it should work with debian 6.0.7, as you mention above..


hopefully this p420i is not sooooo new that we could get problem with it..