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Any word on a new 16i or 24i LSI controller?

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#1
Hello,
I was looking at the 9361 and noticed it doesn't come in a 16i or 24i version. They haven't released a new 16i card in ages. The old 16i cards have PCIe 2.0 connections, have only 512MB of cache and old processors on them. I'm considering the adaptec but would prefer a new LSI.
 
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#2
LSI over Adaptec any day.
Beyond that, I don't have any useful input, sorry.
 

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#3
Hello,
I was looking at the 9361 and noticed it doesn't come in a 16i or 24i version. They haven't released a new 16i card in ages. The old 16i cards have PCIe 2.0 connections, have only 512MB of cache and old processors on them. I'm considering the adaptec but would prefer a new LSI.
What are you using for drives on the controller? If it's spinny disks, the older 9200-series RAID cards will work just as well. The 9300-series is nifty because it offers a 12GB PHY instead of a 6GB PHY per SAS channel. So the only advantage of having a 9300-series RAID card would be if you plan on using SSDs, otherwise the older RAID card will perform just as well. Also consider for a moment, that 4 drives per 6GB SAS channel will unlikely saturate the entire channel and even if it did, you're talking about 4 different 6GB PHYs, which is still quite a bit of bandwidth.

So I would say just go with the 9260-16i if you really need 16 drives per RAID card.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16816118135
 
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#4
Thanks - that only has 512MB of cache, has the old processor on it and is only PCIe 2.0. I'd be better off in that case going to a new adaptec 81605zq. However if LSI had a new 9361 16i model in the works, I'd be better off going LSI. Even if they had a 9271 16i in the works I'd be happy. Unfortunately LSI won't say if they are working on one or not or when it will come out if they have one in the works.
 
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Aquinus

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#5
Thanks - that only has 512MB of cache, has the old processor on it and is only PCIe 2.0. I'd be better off in that case going to a new adaptec 81605zq. However if LSI had a new 9361 16i model in the works, I'd be better off going LSI. Even if they had a 9271 16i in the works I'd be happy. Unfortunately LSI won't say if they are working on one or not or when it will come out if they have one in the works.
The problem is that all the things you're complaining about won't make a difference unless your using SSDs. The 9200-series fits the bill for what you want to do and anything faster won't actually improve your I/O performance unless you're loading every channel full of SSDs since your bottleneck will be the drives, not the RAID card.

Once again, what drives are you planning to put on the RAID card?
 
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#6
If I put spindle drives in it for now - the 1GB cache makes a huge difference over 512MB. I've built enough servers to see the difference in performance with the h700's. If I put in SSD down the road, I'd have to replace the controller, cables, BBU to take advantage of their speed. Either way the 9260 would be a poor investment of a large amount of cache (by my standards).
 
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#7
What RAID configuration will you use? I own a 9361-4i with 12 HDDs in RAID 60 and I can tell you that the processor is a large improvement over the 9200 series for RAID6 parity calculations. If you're just using RAID 5 or lower then the extra performance likely won't matter.

If you need 16 HDDs and don't want to wait, you can do what I did and buy the 9361 and use an expander card (like an Intel RES2SV240) to provide connections for all the drives. I like the configuration because the 16 port cards are usually much more expensive than the 4-port card + expander, and when you choose to upgrade you only have to replace a cheaper 4-port card.
 
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#8
Thanks. I'll go with RAID 50. I won't have a backplane for the drives so I have to go with a 16i. I'll look at the expander card - not sure if it will work in my situation but it is always good to learn something new. I honestly have no familiarity with expander cards.

I just did some reading on it - that might be a good option for me.


I just wish LSI would say - yes we are working on a 16i card or no we are not.
 
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#9
Keep in mind that the expander I referenced only operates at SAS 6Gb/s; I do own an Intel RES2SV240 and it works very well for my 12 HDDs since they'll never max out the 24Gb/s uplink.

However, I don't think you'll find a SAS3 12Gb/s expander card on the market right now since I haven't seen any product announcements for them. All those 16 or 24 port cards are is a 4 or 8 port card plus an expander on the same PCB. I think the reason there are no 16 or 24-port SAS3 12Gb/s cards (like the LSI 9300 series) is precisely because there are no SAS3 12Gb/s expander chips.

My storage server: (LSI 9361-4i, Intel RES2SV240, LSI CVM-02 Battery Backup, 120GB RAID 1 CacheCade)
http://img.techpowerup.org/140311/P10802192.jpg
 
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#10
Thanks so much for the picture!!! Do you have time to answer some more of my inane questions since you've gone where I dare to follow?
 
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#11
Sure, I can help. I was in the same situation as you when I first assembled my storage server back in 2010 and I know how frustrating it can be to configure everything.
 
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#12
SWEET! Thanks!!

That is one VERY tidy case considering how many cables you have. Very impressive!


1. What case is that? I was thinking about the Cosmos II but would consider others.

2. It looks like you have two ad-hoc fans on the cards. Mind if I ask which cards need additional cooling?

3. The new 9361 card has a different fan out cable connector - looks like it has a power connection in addition to the 4 sata cables - is that correct?

4. Where did you get those sata power connectors? I"ve never seen those before.

5. I think with the intel expander you recommended I could do 2 connectors in (provided I had an 8i card) and 4 connectors out?
 
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#13
SWEET! Thanks!!

That is one VERY tidy case considering how many cables you have. Very impressive!

1. What case is that? I was thinking about the Cosmos II but would consider others.
It's a Fractal Design XL R2, but I had to modify it by buying an additional drive cage and mounting it to the bottom of the case. I wanted the ability to expand to 16 HDDs + 4 SSDs in the future, and that case was the only one I found that gave me the option.

I actually started a thread a few months ago regarding which case to choose because I used to have a standard mid-tower case that only fit 9 drives. The thread might be helpful to you:

http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/threads/cheap-case-for-massive-number-of-hard-drives.197749/

2. It looks like you have two ad-hoc fans on the cards. Mind if I ask which cards need additional cooling?
I'm cooling the main heatsinks on the 9361-4i and the RES2SV240. The cards dissipate about 20W each, and the case doesn't any natural airflow where the cards are located so I was afraid they would overheat. The 9361 does have a temperature sensor accessible through the LSI MegaRAID storage manager.

3. The new 9361 card has a different fan out cable connector - looks like it has a power connection in addition to the 4 sata cables - is that correct?
The 9361 has no external power connector. I think you're referring to the SAS cables. The SAS port is now a miniSAS HD (high density) connector, also known as SFF-8643, which is just a smaller version of the conventional SFF-8087. It's completely backwards compatible with the miniSAS SFF-8087 connectors on expanders and backplanes through cables. I bought a SFF-8087 to SFF-8643 cable to connect the card to the expander.

The RES2SV240 has a molex power connector on it, which gives you flexibility. You can put the RES2SV240 in a PCIe slot, and it will be powered by the slot, or you can mount the RES2SV240 somewhere else and power it through a molex connector. You don't need the molex power connector when it's in a PCIe slot.

4. Where did you get those sata power connectors? I"ve never seen those before.
I just bought a few of these, took off the connectors, and reattached them closer together.

5. I think with the intel expander you recommended I could do 2 connectors in (provided I had an 8i card) and 4 connectors out?
I know it's possible, but I am not sure if it would increase bandwidth. I've only seen diagrams use two cables to provide redundancy in case one cable or port fails. I also don't think that if you're using only HDDs that the 24Gb/s uplink would be a bottleneck.
 
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#14
Keep in mind that the expander I referenced only operates at SAS 6Gb/s; I do own an Intel RES2SV240 and it works very well for my 12 HDDs since they'll never max out the 24Gb/s uplink.

However, I don't think you'll find a SAS3 12Gb/s expander card on the market right now since I haven't seen any product announcements for them. All those 16 or 24 port cards are is a 4 or 8 port card plus an expander on the same PCB. I think the reason there are no 16 or 24-port SAS3 12Gb/s cards (like the LSI 9300 series) is precisely because there are no SAS3 12Gb/s expander chips.

My storage server: (LSI 9361-4i, Intel RES2SV240, LSI CVM-02 Battery Backup, 120GB RAID 1 CacheCade)
http://img.techpowerup.org/140311/P10802192.jpg
Oh, there's chips, but you might be right in that finding a standalone product would be difficult at this time.

LSI's webpage has some information on their 24, 36, and 48 port solutions which Supermicro is using with their new 12Gb/s backplanes. Some sites do sell these backplanes solo, if anyone is up to building a rigging for the drives.
 
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#15
I tried getting info from LSI or Intel about the expander but they don't really have any info. It is a shame LSI doesn't make a 16i. I hate giving up one of my precious slots for an expander card.
 
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#16
Time flies. I replaced my drives with 6TB drives and have 27TB of disk space. Unfortunately I'm down to 4TB free and that will pretty much be gone by the end of the year. I doubt we'll see a 16 port RAID card by then or at this point ever. Chances are I'll go adaptec unless anyone has any strong recommendations about a different card you'd recommend that will be available within the next few months. I'll be putting 12 6TB drives in my next system for about 60TB of useable disk space.
 
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#17
Rumor has it LSI/Avago MIGHT be announcing something this month according to their facebook page.
 
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#18
I'm going to wait until tomorrow to believe anything posted today :)
 
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#19
I'm going to wait until tomorrow to believe anything posted today :)
LOL - I hadn't even thought of that. Their facebook post was a few days ago but it was very vague so I don't know if they are announcing something that is in the works, or ready soon or a ways off.