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Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

 
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Frequent Advisor

Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

I've been running a G1610 for some years and (aside from my first one that died for no obvious reason and it was cheaper to replace than to purchase support!) it's been great, but I think my needs have outgrown it - So I've got my hands on a G8 DL360e, 1U, LFF.

I'm somewhat new to the world of servers so please bear with me while I ask what I assume are some basic questions with pretty obvious answers.

The server comes with the B120i controller, but after some conversations with people who know far more about this stuff, I've been given to believe that if I can upgrade to one of the smart array controllers (presumably a p420i) then I'll see a significant boost in performance.

I've tried to find out a bit more about all this, but there seems to be little information for the beginner, so given that I have 4 x 6TB SATA drives, and my aim is to keep this as low cost as possible, I'd like to know:

1) Will there genuinely be a noticeable increase in performance that would warrant the extra expenditure? (I accept this is relative, but some insight would be helpful)

2) Which card should I be looking for? I've read the 420i is the one, though I originally got hold of a very cheap 400i which physically won't fit in the server due to the position of the SAS ports.

3) I note that Mezzanine cards appear cheaper, but from what I can tell they won't fit in the DL360e - am I correct in this assumption?

4) Will I need to get an FBWC module separately, or can the card work without one?

5) Is it possible to build a RAID 10 array using the B120 controller, and then migrate to a p420i at a later date without losing data?

Thanks in advance for any help.

14 REPLIES 14
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Frequent Advisor

Re: Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

Well, I've found a bit more information that suggests the following:

1) I probably need the P420, not the P420i

2) It should be possible to migrate an array from the B120i to the P420 if I get it at a later date

I'd still appreciate some input before I blow more money on a card and cache.

Thanks

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Frequent Advisor

Re: Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

Anyone?

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Honored Contributor

Re: Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

If you look at this quickspec you can see a list of supported option controllers for this server starting on the bottom of page 38 https://h20195.www2.hpe.com/v2/getdocument.aspx?docname=c04128167

You probably want a P420 with FBWC, the Zero Memory card provides no perfomance gains

You will likely need this cable also

HP 1U Gen8 Smart Array Cable Kit 672242-B21
NOTE: This cable kit is required when using the P222, P420, P822 Smart Array controllers, and H222, H220 HBAs.
NOTE: If P420 is installed in Slot 1 of 8SFF model, this cable is not required. 

RAID configuration created on the B120i can be moved to the P series Smart Array controllers.  THe B120 controller is software RAID, the RAID function is controlled by a driver and only available for specific OS releases. The P Series contriollers are harwdware based RAID controllers. THe driver is available for pretty much all mainstream OS's

 

 

 

 

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Frequent Advisor

Re: Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

Thanks for the info. I wasn't aware I'd need to get the cable kit separately - seems a bit harder to find on eBay than the cards themselves. Since the HDDs are turning up tomorrow I think I'll set it all up on the B120 and see how I get on. If it's enough of a boost in performance over what I currently have (the Microserver with an i3 processor) then I may not bother!

Just to be clear - when you say the zero memory card provides no gains, are you talking about memory on the card itself? I'm a little confused as I'd thought the FBWC referred to a separate cache module in addition to the memory module on the card.

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Honored Contributor

Re: Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

There is one slot on the card for a cache module.  I think the P420 was also offered in Zero Memory configuration, meaning it doesn't have the cache module installed.  There isn't cache on the controller, plus addiditonal cache with the module.. Keep in mind the B120i is SATA only and supports RAID 0 and 1

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Frequent Advisor

Re: Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

Ok, this is interesting...

So, on the motherboard it appears there's space for a cache module that is not attached to the p420 card - Not knowing much about these things, I'd assumed that this was different to the memory on the card itself.


Now, if I understand you correctly, the cache on the P420 would be used instead of this module. Is that correct? Looking at the spec sheet you sent over, it seems as if the module pictured would in fact be used for the B120i.

Earlier you said that the zero memory configuration of the P420 would offer no performance gains - leading me to believe that it's the cache module that makes a difference here.
Given that I'm only ever planning to use 4x SATA drives in RAID 10, would it in fact be the case that all I need to do is get a cache module to see the performance gains I'm looking for? Presumably in this situation the only benefit to the P420 would be the extra RAID options available, and the ability to connect SAS drives - neither of which are of interest to me at the moment.

If that's the case, then it's good news - and I only have one more question:
Is this the part I'm looking for, and is 512MB the maximum I can get for the B120i - ok, that's two questions, sorry. ;)
631922-B21 - HP 512MB B-series 36 inch Dynamic Smart Array Flash Backed Write Cache for ML/DL

Thanks!!

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Frequent Advisor

Re: Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

Just realised of course that the B120i is using CPU cycles, while the P420 is not, so perhaps that's another reason to go for the P420 card - but I'm hoping the B120i cache module would be a good compromise.

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HPE Pro

Re: Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

Hello Simiane,

You can refer to B120i quickspecs (attached) for more information about the controller and its cache features.,

Regards,

I am an HPE employee

Accept or Kudo

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Frequent Advisor

Re: Adding smart array card to DL360e G8

Thanks, that's helpful info - but I'm still unsure if I've understood entirely, can you confirm?

I'd like to know firstly, if I have understood things correctly. Is that cache module pictured, only for use with the B series embedded controllers, and is it the case that the P series use cache modules attached to the card instead - thus there is no need for both?

Secondly, would the addition of a cache module to the B120i provide performance increases similar to obtaining a P420 with the same amount of cache? I'm unfamilar with this stuff, so I'm not sure what to expect from the upgrade.

Thanks