HPE MSA 1040 SFF Dual Controller Storage added to my ProLiant DL380 G7

Hello,

I've arrived at a scenario where I want (need) to add more space to my HP Proliant DL380 G7 running Windows SBS 2017 R2 server and I read a lot about the MSA range and managed to pick up a cheap(ish ex demo-no drives) HPE MSA 1040 SFF Dual Controller Storage Array... but this is my first 'Storage Array rodeo', so before I purchase / configure any drives... I was going to ask the community here about some pros and cons and best practices.

Please let me know your thoughts about how I could achieve a best performing throughput and data integrity connection between my server and this storage array, whether or not that's a good idea to connect directly via iSCSI,  or should I access the MSA via a swtich?!  because I was thinking iSCSI looks more robust, but is that actually the theory?!

I was hoping to get some performance, so was hoping to achieve a RAID1+0 to achieve 2.4TBs in this storage array via 8 x 600GB 15k SAS 12G DP 2.5" drives.

So, any do's and dont's would be greatly appreciated.


Thank you very much,



DD
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DamianIT incAsked:
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
For best performance I would add a dual port NIC and dedicate that to iSCSI without a switch, I'm assuming it's a 1Gb iSCSI model, if it isn't an iSCSI model then it doesn't make sense to swap the controllers for iSCSI ones as most of the cost is the controllers.

Oh, BTW there's a cheaper way to add 8 more drives to a DL380 G7 (except you've bought the MSA now), you can put a second drive cage in it.
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Hi Andy,


Thanks for your quick response.

My DL380 already looks quite full, there is 8 drives over 2 cages.. not sure if I could get another in there, the front exhaust under the DVD-ROM looks like it's all quite snug.

And FYI the MSA 1040 is a 2 Port 10G iSCSI SFF
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
The DVD and grill below it come out for the second tray but that's by the by. There's no sense in buying one (or two for redundancy) 10Gb switches as direct attached works just as well if not better.
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andy,

So I'm assuming I need to get a 10gb iSCSI cable (CAT6a?) from HP for the DL380 G7... and then check whether or not the DL380 G7 has an iSCSI port on it, it's been a while since I looked behind it.. not sure if they come standard or not.
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
Probably cheaper to take the SFPs out of the controllers and use DAC SFP+ copper cables but let's see what NICs you have in your server first. Also if you could get me the part no of the SFP+ transceivers we can check if they will run at 1Gb as that's fast enough for 8 disks.
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
(without being on site at this moment) I took a look at HPs "quick specs" for the NICs on the DL380...


Two HP NC382i Dual Port Multifunction Gigabit Server Adapters (four ports total) with TCP/IP Offload Engine, including support for Accelerated iSCSI

I'll have to get back to you on the SFPs later today though, I'll need to go for a drive, I'll take a couple of photos of the rear of the MSA 1040.


Thanks Andy
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
You will have to unplug the transceivers for the part numbers, HPE don't provide as much info as they normally do as these are OEM from Dot Hill.
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Yeah, I read about those, apparently they're hot swappable (not that mine is in an ON-state) but I'll make sure I get a photo of the part number.
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Ok, it would appear the previous owner has left me with empty Host Ports.   But I guess, that's probably the correct thing to do.

I contacted him about it and he advised "The 4 SFP ports are dual use Iscsi or Fibre channel. You use the type of SFPs which go with your storage network. For example I use 10Gb DAC cables into my 10Gb switch for iSCSI and it works well"

So now, I'm wondering what kind of Transceivers to purchase.


IMG_7117.JPG
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
I hadn't realised that the 1040 had converged iSCSI/FC ports as HPE's spec lists two separate controllers with SFPs pre-fitted. HPE only list the 2040 as having dual use ports. Even the spare parts list has two separate controllers so maybe Dot Hill didn't tell HPE ;)

Still makes sense to use 10Gb iSCSI over FC as the adapters are much cheaper and you won't have to reconfigure the ports.

You'll need dual port SFP adapter from https://h20195.www2.hpe.com/V2/Getdocument.aspx?docname=c04199811 such as NC522SFP and a couple of 10Gb SFP DAC cables, you don't need transceivers as they are built onto the ends of the cables.

https://h20195.www2.hpe.com/V2/Getdocument.aspx?docname=c04227623 lists 3 sets of DAC cables, those marked as "HP BladeSystem c-Class 10GbE SFP+ to SFP+" are also listed in the quickspecs of the NC522SFP so as they're in both they're guaranteed to work.

DAC cables can be a pain if not supported by both bits of kit, the inbuilt transceivers have ROMs in them so the device at each end read the ROM and decide whether it's supported or not. For example Cisco only work with Cisco branded SFPs and "brand-X" only work with "brand-x" SFPs so getting a cable with Cisco on one end and "brand-x" on the other can be difficult. In this case so long as both quickspecs list the same cable you'll be OK.

You can use fiber cable and transceivers to get away from the compatibility problem but not necessary in your case. So now you probably have to find a dual-port SFP NIC unless you already have one. Bear in mind that 2nd hand NICs may not have full and half-height PCIe brackets included.

As far as dual Vs single port SAS is concerned nobody makes single port drives any more, in your server only one port is used but in the SAN one port connects to one controller and the other port connects to the other so single port disks would not fail-over in the event of controller A failing.
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Thanks Andy.

I'll post my findings here as I progress in case it helps others.

PS. so given those ports are compatible looks like the 1040 is almost identical to the 2040 spec for spec, apart from larger scalability of the 2040.
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
I haven't pulled a 1040 or 2040 controller apart but judging from the port locations I would suspect a dual-use mainboard where they solder the interface chip and socket to the board for the 2-port model and use a 4-port daughter-board for the other, it cuts down design and production costs,
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Ok, just to update things here, I have purchased 1 NC522SFP adapter and a pair of SFP DAC cables.. (waiting for the bits to arrive) but then the rear of the MSA 1040 has 2 sets of ports... I'm assuming this is for redundancy?!
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
Each controller has two ports but you only need to use one port per controller in your case. If you had two servers and wanted to cluster them then those extra ports would come in handy. Redundancy is provided by the two controllers.

If you wanted to cluster four servers then a 2040 would probably be cheaper than a 1040 plus two 10Gb Ethernet switches.
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Thanks for all your input, Andy.  I have now got the necessary features on order.  At this time of year it may take a couple of weeks before I get it all assembled.

Best regards
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Progress update:

All parts have arrived, but there is a strange issue installing drivers for the HP NC522SFP on Server 2012 R2.

So far I am diagnosing this as a Windows Update issue, I am unable to flash the firmware on the NIC, and the Device Manager report mentioned it may be a firmware / driver issue.

Screen-Shot-2018-01-04-at-5.22.52-PM.png
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
If the cards are brand new then I would update firmware via the HP boot DVD, if the server is out of warranty you would have to talk to HPE support to get that assuming server is out of warranty as it's behind a paywall.
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Yup, I've been doing a lot of research on this, it appears... according to the Firmware utility docs... if the driver isn't compatible, then there is no way of actually communicating with the NIC.   But, i found another person suffering the same consequence on the HPE community site, from a few years ago.  He mentioned his support call with HP at the time advised him that if the card behaved in this way it was 'faulty'.

So, I think I will treat it as faulty, I have exhausted everything on this, even changing the motherboard fan speed... which was said to also be a concern for the NC522 if not set to the premium cooling setting... there is still quite a few driver updates that have occurred for this NIC in the last year or so, so.. I'm sure there are a few running on 2012 R2 successfully.

May even be worth taking a look at the version of the BIOS and consider an update there prior to throwing in the towel.
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
The firmware DVD runs Linux so would bypass any Windows driver issues.
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
Oh Ok, well earlier, in the panic, I went to QLogic's website and downloaded a USB firmware updater utility for the NC522 so I might take that down to the office and see what that looks like, because I am keen to learn what firmware is actually in this NIC... learning which firmware is on there will shine some light on whether or not the firmware is pre 2012 R2, which could be the reason for upsetting the Device Manager .
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
So, to update the saga, turns out my NC522SFP server adapter was faulty, that has since been replaced and the replacement went in to the ProLiant without even needing a driver, although I did update it to the latest, so we're good there now.

Next drama I encountered was the MSA 1040 had a faulty "midplate", after replacing 2 controllers, I went back to HP and a new chasis was deployed and now we're all 'green' there, finally!

It's taken this amount of time to get to this stage, so now I am in the SMU v3, and am not exactly sure of the connection between Pools, Disk Groups, Virtual Disks,  But I've decided to go with a "Linear" RAID 10 array, but the thing I am currently stuck on is.. this "create initiator" on the 'Hosts' page...?

Does it want me to key in iqn.1991-05.com.microsoft:dc-fs01.server.local ?!  (which is what I retrieved from the 2012 R2 iSCSI Initiator util)

Or does it want me to provide a name for the MSA's adapter?! ...  There doesn't seem to be any talk on this anywhere. :(
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andyalderSaggar maker's framemakerCommented:
>Does it want me to key in iqn.1991-05.com.microsoft:dc-fs01.server.local

Yes but you shouldn't have to key it in if the MSA can see it on the network you should be able to pick it from a list.

Your MSA is a target (or multiple targets), it is never an initiator. Hosts are initiators (or with the right software they can also be targets).
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DamianIT incAuthor Commented:
argghh... I just saw this last post, that would have saved me 2 days of head scratching if I had seen that earlier, darn it...  

Thanks HH !
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