9265-8i Desktop and Dell C6100 Testing Cachecade for Photo Editing


New Member
Apr 4, 2013
Just wanted to start a blog on this in case anyone has any tips or questions. Moving from Intels onboard IRST to an LSI 9265-8i with 1GB ram cache and planning a 512GB Cachecade for workstation use. Goal is to be able to flip quickly through photos stored on a hard disk array as fast as I can on SSDs. Typically copy from a camera SD card to the array, then start flipping through, am hopeful this will be considered hot data and have faster access time to move quickly between 100s of photos at a time. If not at least I’ll end up with a couple SSD’s as a scratch drive. Let the adventure begin...

Recap the below in a nutshell
1. Bitlocker fails if array is initialized at the default of 256k block size, works at 64k.
2. Copying alot of data between 2 arrays on one controller is slow.
3. Anytime dealing with Raid5 expect the gods to kill at least one drive before you are done.
4. The list for SSDs that are approved for the older Cachecade 2.0 seems to be a part of the chip, in testing Crucial MX500 drives the option for CacheCade is grayed out.

1. System 1 - Desktop
a. 3 x 5TB Toshiba X300 drives (out of warranty) in Raid5 on the IRST
i. Bitlocker enabled to be automatically unlocked on successful login
b. I7-6700K, 16GB 3200mhz ram, Z170e motherboard, H115i AIO Cooler, PCI x1 to USB 3.1, ASRock RX580, Supernova 1300 G2 PSU.
c. Planned Cachecade 2 x Crucial MX500 512GB SSDs
d. Windows 10 Pro

2. System 2 – Backup Server
a. Dell C6100 with 2 nodes.
i. Each node populated with 48GB ram
ii. 2x Xeon 4 core 8 threads each. Total 8 core and 16 threads per node
iii. LSI 2865-8i with BBU (Ebay purchased 3 of these cheap)
iv. CacheCade Key (Ebay purchased 3 of these cheap)
v. New 8087 1 Meter cables for all nodes and desktop
vi. 6 drive max capacity each node for total of 12 drives (what fits in the case vs the LSI 8 sata capable)
vii. modded out with 6x140mm fans in place of the stock fans with the case left open with the fans direct on the Xeons heatsinks with zipties for a fan rail on the top empty nodes, allows the bottom nodes to slide in and out below the fans in place.
viii. 4 x 5TB Toshiba X300 drives (out of warranty) in Raid5. I’m using just for backups from my desktop and laptops to the server. I only turn the server on once a month and run Microsoft SyncToy from my desktop.
ix. Drives are already initialized and bitlocker successfully enabled with password to unlock.
x. Windows 10 Pro installed to each node on a partition of the array on the LSI controller.

b. Moved the controller and drives (originally just moved the drives to the desktop controller but it was slow copying between arrays) from one node to the desktop to run the backup direct on the desktop rather than run the backup over the network.

3. Plan
a. Move the array from the server to the desktop, shows as VD_0 and is operating as expected. Can unlock the bitlocker encrypted drive using password and can successfully access the drives contents.
b. Backup all data from the desktops IRST array to VD_0 disk
c. Remove existing IRST array and attach the drives to the LSI controller
d. Create new array using the previously attached to IRST disks after formatting them and initialize them as VD_1 on the LSI controller.
e. Enable bitlocker
f. Backup all data from VD_0 to VD_1
g. Put the VD_0 back into the server and call it a day.

Issue report

1. Jan 2nd - Raid drops drive on VD_0
a. First attempt to run full backup of desktops data to VD_0 over the network while the drives were still in the server caused one of the drives to drop, tested and found bad sectors on one of the drives. This specific drive cannot complete a full disk check using Seagate Seatools.
b. Jan 4th Purchased new 5TB x300 drive to replace the failing one.
c. While I had all the disks out for testing, figure I would just run them directly into the desktop on the desktops LSI controller.
d. Rebuilt the array from the desktop controller, 12 hours later, success.
2. Bitlocker Jan 27th
a. Created VD_1
i. Enabling bitlocker with automatic unlock on Windows login on this VD_1
1. Machine will crash like a reset button was pushed after a couple minutes, enough time to disable bitlocker.
a. Event viewer logs
i. IAStore errors
1. Uninstalled Intel RST
2. Still crashed on bitlocker enabling
ii. Enabling bitlocker with password.
1. Machine will crash like a reset after a couple minutes, enough time to disable bitlocker.
iii. Jan 29th running a consistency check on the VD_1 array get the following error popup.
1. “The virtual disk has not been initialized. Running a consistency check may result in inconsistent messages in the log. Are you sure you want to continue?”
2. Apparently, it may have been possible to not initialize the VD_1 array and start using it.
a. Copied 7TB of data to it.
b. Works fine until trying to enable bitlocker.
3. Testing consistency check, then will attempt on turning on bitlocker.
b. Running consistency check. Successful.
i. Turn on bitlocker.
ii. It failed, as in reset the machine.
1. Initialize array (again)
a. Compared the other array that is working, it’s using 64k block size vs the default LSi controller 256k block size. I set the array to use 64k, initialized the array, and just like that the bitlocker completed.
c. Windows Defender Updates even when updates are turned off. - I have set windows update to disabled during this. Somehow Windows Defender decides to update anyways. If it does this while I am moving data between drives, as I am moving some TB of backups to the new array, the machine resets.
i. I have turned off Defender protection to prevent this and unplugged the ethernet.

3. Performance
a. Copying from one array to another array on the same controller was only writing at about 50MB second while watching task manager.
b. Installed a second controller to the desktop, initialized the 3 drives there and the writing to them is about 3-400 MB second watching task manager. 7TB copied with SyncToy in about 8 hours so that’s closer to about a steady 250MB second, 5x faster than the onboard and having the 2 arrays on the same card.

4. CacheCade Pro 2.0
a. After the restore of the data, I will be installing a Cachecade key to install the SSDs, in the mail now. Then test performance of opening photos. Crossing fingers that the controller will accept the newer SSDs on the market. The SSDs in the compatibility report list are going on 2 generations back and those drives are becoming tough to find on the market.
i. MegaRAID CacheCade Pro 2.0 Software
ii. Will the Crucial MX500 drives work? One way to find out…
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