HP SC08Ge Controller Sees 3TB Drive as 2TB

We have an HP DL585 G6 server with SC08Ge SAS/SATA JBOD adapter, attached to a Western Digital 3TB SATA drive.    Under Windows 2008 R2 64-bit, the drive is seen as 2TB, EVEN WHEN INITIALIZED AS GPT DISK!    

Online, people who have a 3TB disk get one of two results with Windows 2008 R2 or Windows 7:

* Initialized as MBR, the volume is 2TB, but you see in Disk Management an additional 768MB of unusable space.

* Initialized as GPT, the volume is 2.7TB, all usable.

In our situation, NEITHER of these happens.   Initialized as EITHER MBR OR GPT, the drive is seen in Disk Management as 2TB, and there is NO ADDITIONAL SPACE SHOWN.

Is this a limitation of the DL585 G6 BIOS?  Is there a required BIOS setting?   Is there a setting required on SC08Ge?

We have a SmartArray, and Windows 2008 R2 has no problem seeing 3TB volumes created on the SmartArray as 2.7TB, so this does seem to point to BIOS or controller firmware issues.
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Norm DickinsonGuruCommented:
Check for firmware updates for the controller.
PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
I couldn't find documentation one way or the other, and I'm sure one of the HP guys will chime in, but it is likely that, barring a firmware fix, that the controller doesn't support larger than 2TB physical disks.
Make sure you only use disks certified to work with your server. Best order the disks for that particular server directly from HP or an HP re-seller. Also make sure you only use enterprise grade disks and never consumer disks.
noxchoProduct ManagerCommented:
Seems to be a problem of the RAID controller. Either search for RAID Controller firmware update or replace if possible. Because the documentation says that it supports up to 288TB of storage.
SC08GE certainly supports SAS disks bigger than 2TB, it's used as the HBA for MSA2000sa which could easily present it with a 20TB SAS LUN. It may have a 2TiB limit for SATA disks though for all I know, it is after all only SATA-1.
westesAuthor Commented:
We are running firmware
on the SC08GE.   Does anyone know what version of firmware would support 3TB SATA drives?

As stated in other replies, the controller does work with RAID volumes greater than 2 TB.

We booted into the SC08GE controller BIOS menu.   We run MPTBIOS (2008.05.14).   There is no doubt that the SC08GE controller BIOS has the limitation.   It sees the drive as 2TB only.    Does anyone have information on what version of the controller BIOS overcomes this limitation?  

Maybe LSI publishes a list of larger SATA drives that it guarantees compatibility with?    These drives are for backups, and we may end up with 30 of them.  Price is an issue.

If there are official HP 3TB and 4TB SATA drives that are known to work with SC08GE what are those part numbers?
PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
As stated in other replies, the controller does work with RAID volumes greater than 2 TB.
Supporting logical drives larger than 2TB is different than supporting physical disks larger than 2TB.
Norm DickinsonGuruCommented:
The major difference in hard drive technology that you want to watch out for is the Enterprise Grade as stated above by Rindi. This really is important because of the retry value of the server-grade drives that is designed for production environments and RAID controllers. Consumer-grade drives allow a larger number of retries, and sometimes cause a time out error on the controllers, which they interpret as a failing drive. You can lose an array by using the wrong drives in this manner, or more commonly see your array running in a degraded state. It really doesn't matter what brand you choose, so much as whether the particular model is designed to work in a server RAID array - and thus deemed "enterprise" grade.

This article by Intel, while showing signs of age, highlights various factors that separate consumer vs. server drives. http://download.intel.com/support/motherboards/server/sb/enterprise_class_versus_desktop_class_hard_drives_.pdf

This article from Synology.com documents the timeout phenomenon. http://forum.synology.com/wiki/index.php/Differences_between_an_Enterprise-Class_HDD_and_a_Desktop-Class_HDD
westesAuthor Commented:
Norm Dickonson, thanks but we are not using the SATA drives for production.   They are being used to make images for backups only.
westesAuthor Commented:
PowerEdge Tech, from intuition I was guessing exactly what you said, so the SC08GE is able to work with logical volumes from SmartArray created RAID controllers, but apparently with standalone drives there are issues.
Norm DickinsonGuruCommented:
Westes, while that may be the case, the consumer grade drives will eventually have issues on a server RAID array and will be more trouble than they are worth over the life of the drive. (The technical term for the effect is TLER, or Time Limited Error Recovery.) Enterprise drives typically come with a longer warranty as well.

Here is the Western Digital white paper for your review. http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/library/other/2579-001098.pdf

Ultimately it is your choice. But if you are using the drive as part of a RAID array, I recommend enterprise grade. If you are using it standalone - I recommend consumer grade, regardless of the controller it is attached to or what kind of system you are using it in.
westesAuthor Commented:
Norm Dickinson, we are NOT using the SATA drives in any kind of RAID array.   That was the whole point.   SC08GE is a JBOD controller, not RAID.   We want access to individual SATA drives that are NOT in a RAID array.
noxchoProduct ManagerCommented:
Do you have a similar server which works with 3GB drives? If yes then check which firmware is used. If not then you had to contact the controller manufacturer for additional information.
westesAuthor Commented:
By the way, anyone wondering why we don't just read the HP documentation, we did.   The quickspecs, maintenance manual, and user's manuals for the DL585 G6 and SC08GE controller brag about being able to use 1120 TB of data with SATA drives, without really giving you critical information like the maximum size for individual drives.

I miss the days that Compaq owned this stuff because their documentation was amazing.
Unfortunately this card isn't even made by HP, I think it's a LSI SAS3801E.

Google for SAS 3801E 2.2TB and you'll find Ultrastar 7K300 compatibility guides,

the SAS one says of this controller - Note (1): Items marked with a * indicate the accessible capacity of a 3TB drive may be limited to 2TB depending on how your system is configured.

the SATA version says - Note: Items marked with * do not support capacities greater than 2.2TB.

So SAS only if you want to use disks bigger than 2TiB - explains why a big SAS LUN from MSA2000sa works fine.

I don't think firmware upgrade will help, it's not like Smart Array controllers where HP use someone's chip but put their own RAID stack on it, with HBAs they may tweak the firmware so it says HP but they don't write the code.

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Oh, and for "1120 TB of data with SATA drives" if you look at the quickspecs it only lists MSA2000sa etc under supported products, they only sell it for use with tapes or SAS connected RAID enclosures, they don't even support it connected to MSA60/D2600 JBODs so the 1120TB is what you can build with a fully stuffed MSA2000 RAID box on each port.
westesAuthor Commented:
andyalder, brilliant information, thanks.   So now the million dollar question is there any way we can make a standalone SATA drive into a SAS LUN in order to fake out this controller, but then later we could address the content on that drive on any ordinary SATA controller?
No solution that would be as cheap as swapping it for an up to date eSATA card.
westesAuthor Commented:
So to summarize, with the HP DL585 G6 server you might need three SAS/SATA cards:

1) P800 or other SmartArray RAID controller will directly handle physical devices and create logical disks using RAID.

2) SC08GE will be used to connect to SAS ports on standalone RAID boxes like the MSA2024.   Separately, SC08GE will handle individual SATA or SAS drives that are 2TB or under.

3) A generic third party SAS/SATA JBOD controller will be useful to correctly handle 3TB and 4TB SATA drives in a JBOD non-RAID configuration, using GPT disks under the appropriate version of Windows (Windows 2008 or later for servers).

None of this is well documented by HP.   You have to really read between the lines.
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