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HP Smart Array RAID Controller P420 and P420i + external disk bay

Posted on 2013-06-20
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Last Modified: 2013-06-21
Hi,

Two questions.

My DL380 Gen8 server is equipped with a 1GB HP Smart Array RAID Controller P420i.

What's the difference between the P420 and P420i ?
Any doc link comparing the 420 and 420i ?

I would like to connect an external disk bay to the server.

I don't have access to the server right now. Does the server's controller provide one or more external SCSI ports to do so ? If not, what controller should I ideally add in the server and what external disk bay would you advise (rack mounted) ?

Regards,

David
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Question by:Urbantrax
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by:dlethe
dlethe earned 50 total points
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Pick up a nice used HP expansion unit on ebay, or, better yet, at a local used equipment dealer.  Many of those SCSI expansion units end up being sold as scrap metal as they are noisy, take a lot of valuable rack space, and are obsolete.

They don't even make SCSI disk drives anymore.   So what does that tell you?

As for the specs, look for U320, and just go to the HP online store and see what is compatible and compare with what you can get at a dealer.  I would be amazed if whomever you called didn't have stacks of them gathering dust that you could pick up, complete with disk drives, for a few hundred dollars.
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andyalder earned 150 total points
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P420i is soldered on the motherboard, P420 is a PCIe card, otherwise no difference. Both have only 2 internal connectors. Both are proper classic Smart Array controllers rather than the 'dynamic' Smart Array controllers which are a BIOS mod to the chipset fakeraid controller.

Quickspecs for your server are at http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/14212_div/14212_div.pdf, ( or http://h18000.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/productbulletin.html#spectype=north_america&type=html&docid=14212 )

HP's external disk enclosure options are D2600 (12*LFF) or D2700 (25*SFF), you need either a P421 (2 external connectors) or P822 (4 external + 2 internal connectors); with the P822 you can combine the internal and external disks in one array and ignore the P420i).

Another option is a 2nd internal drive tray of 8 disks, that needs a P420 to control it and with the Gen8 there's no SAS expander option or 4 internal port option so you have to have two separate arrays rather than one of 16 disks (yes, that sucks, thanks for nothing HP). The 2nd internal cage goes in place of the DVD, it's quite easy to fit and includes the required cables.
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by:Urbantrax
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Thanks andyalder for the clear explanations.

A D2600 is too expensive. A P822 controller is also very expensive ...
Removing the DVD and adding 8 additional disks is effectively an idea.

About the external solution, am I stuck with HP or can I use a third-party SAS disk enclosure and still benefit from the the controller's RAID utility ?

I'm a little confused about which technology to use: eSATA, SAS, iSCSI or even USB.
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by:andyalder
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As dlethe said any external disk shelf ought to work although the "3D sea of sensors" might put the fans on higher speed if the controller doesn't have the correct temperature sensors onboard.

Which technology you need to use depends on how much reliability and how much speed you want.
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