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SAS-LTO connectivity problems

 
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Occasional Advisor

SAS-LTO connectivity problems

We purchased an LTO-7 internal tape drive (BB873A) a while back with the intention of installing it in the StoreEver 1U rack chassis (BC029A). The drive arrived, followed by the chassis a couple of months later but when I went to install the drive I found a part of the chassis missing.

Looking in our identical existing chassis which has two LTO-6 drives installed, I found the part missing was the "SAS Signal Conditioner" card with the part number 012769-002. This card screwed into one of the gaps in the back of the chassis and provided two SFF-8088 ports on the back.

When enquiring with HP about the absence of this part, they didn't seem to know if the part should have been included or not and looking at the HPE website, there is no indication on the chassis page either. HP then got back to me and said that this part had been replaced with another part (876804-001 or 876805-001) as there was "a shortage" of the conditioner cards. The new part is essentially a single cable connecting the tape drive directly to the server. This seemed like a bodge to me as each SAS port in our cards can support up to four physical devices with the fanout cable but HP's replacement meant that each port could only use a single device. When asked what their solution for this problem was, there was no reply suggesting they simply didn't care. Adding insult to injury there was also an additional charge for the replacement cable meaning we would have to pay for the priviledge of reduced functionality. Rather than pander to HP's change in tack, we decided to source a conditioner card ourselves. On installing the card with the LTO-7 I found it doesn't work, the HP Library and Tape Tools utility and the Windows Device Manager will not even see the drive. In the other chassis with the LTO-6's it works fine however.

Can anyone recommend any course of action to get this working?

11 REPLIES 11
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Trusted Contributor

Re: SAS-LTO connectivity problems

have you tried pluging the LTO7 into the LTO6 chassis to see if that detects the drive?

looking on part surfer it does say "1U Rack Mount Chassis – Cabling FRUs for USB, SAS or SCSI (LVD/SE) interfaces are not included and must be ordered separately"

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Occasional Advisor

Re: SAS-LTO connectivity problems

I haven't although the physical chassis should not matter in the slightest, it's just a metal box, plus I've already tried swapping the cards. We have an LTO-7 autoloader and a standalone LTO-5 drive at the same site as the problematic LTO-7 and these can be seen fine by the server.

In relation to your Part Surfer reference; are you sure this doesn't mean the interfaces at the server end, an HBA card for example?

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Trusted Contributor

Re: SAS-LTO connectivity problems

i did think that but that part number BC029A just states a "HPE StoreEver 1U Generic Rack Mount Kit"

but anyway it looks like the LTO7 may be faulty if other devices can be seen, the LTO7 is physically an IBM drive unlike the LTO6 whih is HP, but i dont think that should cause an issue detecting it. the drive boots ok?

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Re: SAS-LTO connectivity problems

HPE regrets not being able to offer the SAS signal conditioner any longer.  Unfortunately the 012769-002 card became impossible to build because a key component on it was discontinued by the manufacturer and there is no company offering a part that came close to being a suitable replacement.  HPE purchased as many parts as we were able to but we had to come up with some other method of connecting the tape drives in the rack enclosures.  Some of those cards will be around for a while but there are no more parts.

Single port SAS signal conditioners didn't end up being too popular as most of the designs where that capability was needed had many SAS drives inside the enclosure and used a SAS expander instead of an active SAS signal conditioner.  A SAS expander is too expensive for a simple device like the rack mount enclosure.

When we first designed that SAS signal conditioner card we investigated having a passive connector on the rack enclosure but it caused too much degradation in the SAS signal.  The only options that worked well were the SAS signal conditioner and or a single cable fed through the mounting plate.  We felt the SAS signal conditioner was a better solution but now we aren't able to build them any longer and we had to change to the cable option.

Not being able to use the new cable solution with the fan-out cable is an unfortunate limitation of the new design.  HPE considered adding the ability to connect 2 SAS drives from one cable but that possibly limits a customer wanting to connect to HBAs on different servers. Therefore the single cable to a single drive was viewed as the most flexible alternative.

Regarding the SAS conditioner card that you source yourself and that doesn't seem to be working with the LTO-7 drive.  Do I understand correctly that same card works with your LTO-6 drives but is not working with your LTO-7 drive?

Can you confirm that you have a 012769-002 and not an 012769-001?  The older '001' card was designed for LTO-5 and older drives but LTO-6 drives are frequently able to connect through that card, often by negotiating for a low interface speed.


I work for HPE

Accept or Kudo

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Occasional Advisor

Re: SAS-LTO connectivity problems

Thank you Curtis for your response, this is more information in a shorter amount of time than I have received from the rest of HPE to date!

I can confirm that both of the cards we have are the '002' model. The newer chassis and LTO-7 drive both power up and I can insert and eject a tape without any problem. Both cards work fine with the LTO-6 drives in the older chassis so I know they are both functional. I've also installed he latest LTO drivers on the server but this has made no difference.

On the server (Windows Server 2016) under Device Manager, the LTO-7 autoloader and the LTO-5 drive are both showing but the LTO-7 standalone is not and it's the same story with the HP Library and Tape Tools utility. I'm wondering if there is something either wrong with the tape drive or something built-in which is preventing it from being used. Like the last poster mentioned, the LTO-7 drive might be an IBM unit?

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Occasional Advisor

Re: SAS-LTO connectivity problems

Hi tapelibraryfixr. The LTO-7 powers on and I can insert and eject a tape without any problems. I may have to bite the bullet and purchase the replacement HP cable for this. If the drive still does not work it'll be a warranty problem and I can get it replaced.

Thanks for your input.

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Trusted Contributor

Re: SAS-LTO connectivity problems

it would be an ibm drive rebadged to hp using hp firmware

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Occasional Advisor

Re: SAS-LTO connectivity problems

Just out of interest (I'm not doubting you), what's your source for this?

Thanks

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Trusted Contributor

Re: SAS-LTO connectivity problems

i work in a repair centre, if you think HP, IBM, Tandberg, Quantum, Dell, Overland and spectralogic all sale LTO's, but theres only been 2 manufactorers of LTO's since the LTO5 came out, HP and IBM everyone else just rebadges. Quantum and tandberg used to make them but dropped out. and now HP have leaving just IBM.