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Storage Replacement for Perc H200

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by gcwebbyuk, 19 Apr 2015.

  1. gcwebbyuk

    gcwebbyuk Dib Dabbler

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    I have a Dell PowerEdge T110 II server, which has a Perc H200 RAID controller.

    The controller is very slow, and I am considering replacing it. However, I'm not sure what would be a good replacement.

    There are currently two SATA hard drives attached, and I can see no reason to add more, so I really just need a 2 port RAID controller.

    I back the server up using Acronis 11.5 with universal restore. So the RAID controller doesn't have to be the same chipset as the Perc H200, as I would back the server up and then restore as if to new hardware.

    Is this going to be an expensive upgrade/replacement, or are there controllers that aren't big bucks but still perform better than the PERC H200?
     
  2. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    I have a Perc 310, which also uses the same LSI2008 chip. It too had poor performance initially with the Dell firmware... and since I wasn't going to use it's raid mode anyway I crossflashed it to the plain LSI IT firmware and got a significant performance boost. I suggest you do that as it's free and these cards are just fine in HBA mode.
     
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  3. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon New Member

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    A. Starting with free options -

    1. have you tried using the Dell OpenManage Server Admin s/w to enable disk caching on the virtual drive(s)?

    Simply that the default setting is disabled on the H200 & it will improve (esp) write performance.

    i 'think' the setting is in System -> Storage --> PERC H200... ---> Virtual Disks.


    2. Now, if that doesn't improve things enough, the next thing to try 'might' be cross-flashing it with the LSi 9211 f/w - as the H200 is a f/w crippled OEM version of it.

    Now, obviously there's some potential risk - but no more than, say, upgrading your motherboard's bios - although it's obviously outside of the warranty for the H200...

    ...however, as you're atm seeing the H200 as being junk, why not give it a go?

    So, you could choose to try something like the guide here - or simply do a google search for crossflash h200 to lsi 9211 & find an alt guide that works better in your head.


    B. Otherwise, for replacement it depends on what features you want... So do you want a big cache & battery backup or just a HBA?

    Sorry - i didn't mean to post as though i was suggesting something different... Just distracted with phone calls & whatnot, & so what i'd written sat for a bit before posting.
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2015
  4. gcwebbyuk

    gcwebbyuk Dib Dabbler

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    Thanks for the info.

    I'm a bit uneasy about flashing the BIOS really, as the card is in a production server.

    As far as I am aware, the disk caching option is not available on the H200 cards - I seem to remember reading about this before.

    Any replacement card would need to support RAID1 on 2 SATA disks (potentially 3TB).

    I don't think the H200 even has a battery backup in it's standard form, so that is a potential upgrade too.
     
  5. dinoscothern

    dinoscothern Member

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    Silly question, but is the the h200 running the latest latest recommended dell fw?
    If not, then its defintely worth a go upgrading it. Going by a quick google search, there a few stories of dreadful h200 performance, helped by upgrading the fw.
    If you are not happy flashing the card, consider adding an equivalent card (though check for slot space): http://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/lsi-raid-controller-hba-equivalency-mapping.19/ for a list of LSI controllers and cards. the h200 is sas2008 based like others have said.
    if you look around the ibm m1015 can be found for around £100 or less, but i don't know your budget.
     
  6. gcwebbyuk

    gcwebbyuk Dib Dabbler

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    Yeah, I upgraded the firmware last month.

    To be fair, it doesn't run like a dog, but it seems to run slower than a similar specced server using Windows RAID with the disks connected straight to the SATA ports on the mainboard.
     
  7. gcwebbyuk

    gcwebbyuk Dib Dabbler

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    Just run HDTune Pro benchmark on the array and got the following results:
    Minimum: 1.2MB/s
    Maximum: 194.6MB/s
    Average: 107.8MB/s
    Access time: 15.5ms
    Burst rate: 232.5MB/s
    CPU usage: 5.7%

    Run it on a similar server with the drives plugged into the main board, and running Windows RAID:
    Minimum 84.4MB/s
    Maximum: 185.1MB/s
    Average: 155MB/s
    Access time: 15.8MB/s
    Burst rate: 124.4MB/s
    CPU usage: 8.1%
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2015
  8. dinoscothern

    dinoscothern Member

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    Well if your requirements are not for high performance and you have spare sata ports, then using them is probably the cheapest option. If you want, you can then flash the h200 with a real lsi bios and see if that makes a difference without worrying if its doesn't work or not. I agree though it feels a bit strange that a raid controller can be slower than the on board sata, but server raids often default to safety instead of speed, disabling disk caches etc (hp p300i I'm looking at you).
     
  9. gcwebbyuk

    gcwebbyuk Dib Dabbler

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    Would I see much faster speeds with the LSI BIOS though?
     
  10. dinoscothern

    dinoscothern Member

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    In a perfect world the answer would be no, the speed of the H200 with dell fw should be the same as with lsi firmware.

    In IT mode it should behave like like separate disks and you would use sw raid.
    In IR mode you would hope that the features that Dell have enabled/disabled have a performance hit and using the lsi fw will set them to your advantage.

    The best way to know would be to test it, but I've not found any readily available comparisons, though others might know of them.
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2015
  11. IvanIvanovich

    IvanIvanovich будет глотать вашу душу.

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    While it's an apples to oranges comparison... as I have my setup with storage spaces parity 3x4TB with journaling ssd on my HBA mode perc 310


    Transfer Rate Minimum : 223.0 MB/s
    Transfer Rate Maximum : 7498.4 MB/s
    Transfer Rate Average : 1913.5 MB/s
    Access Time : 10.4 ms
    Burst Rate : 200.8 MB/s
    CPU Usage : 7.0%

    SINGLE DISK (ST4000DM000):
    Transfer Rate Minimum : 76.7 MB/s
    Transfer Rate Maximum : 173.2 MB/s
    Transfer Rate Average : 139.1 MB/s
    Access Time : 17.6 ms
    Burst Rate : 206.9 MB/s
    CPU Usage : 2.7%

    No idea if that is of any use to you, but maybe give you an idea?

    [EDIT] Stuck a pair of WD10S12X-55J (1TB 2.5" SSHDs) on and created storage space mirror.. is as close as I can get to making you a raid1 comparison...

    Transfer Rate Minimum : 7.4 MB/s
    Transfer Rate Maximum : 209.4 MB/s
    Transfer Rate Average : 167.2 MB/s
    Access Time : 57.3 ms
    Burst Rate : 221.7 MB/s
    CPU Usage : 3.1%
     
    Last edited: 19 Apr 2015
  12. PocketDemon

    PocketDemon New Member

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    Just going back to this bit - it's not enabled by default, but you can enable it using the method described...

    Oh, & obviously, if you flash it with the LSi f/w then you'd need to use the megaraid s/w.


    Otherwise, my point was that if you're looking to replace the card anyway, then why not try cross flashing beforehand...

    Absolute worst case then something goes awry & you need to replace anyway - but it 'should' be problem free &, being significantly faster, may save you from spending any extra money.
     

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