Are There Recommended HBAs Newer than LSI 9211-8i?

Discussion in 'RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters' started by darkarn, Sep 7, 2018.

  1. darkarn

    darkarn New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2017
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    3
    After what I have noticed and read about Mellanox ConnectX-2 cards being too old and not well supported despite being recommended by the community in general, I wonder if there is a similar situation for HBAs. To be exact, I noticed LSI 9211-8i (and OEM equivalent) being recommended often but they are quite old by now.

    Are there newer recommended HBAs or is it just LSI 9211-8i?

    Also, is there any legacy/age issues with these cards?
     
    #1
  2. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    233
    Lots of newer models than the 9200 series, many of which are mentioned in the stickied thread:
    https://forums.servethehome.com/ind...and-hba-complete-listing-plus-oem-models.599/
    ...and then the newer 9305 and 9400/9405 models (which support NVMe drives) after that.

    If you're not needing SAS3 or NVMe speeds for SSDs though, the old SAS2x08 chipsets are still more than adequate for any platter-based drives and most SSDs and play nice with EFI (as far as I'm aware anyway) - as long as those things keep on trucking and suit your use case, there's no reason not to use them.

    If you fancy a newer version of the 9211-8i anyway, the IBM M1215 is a good place to start (along with its Dell/HP equivalent OEM models), there's another StH guide on that here:
    https://www.servethehome.com/flash-lsi-sas-3008-hba-e-g-ibm-m1215-mode/
     
    #2
  3. darkarn

    darkarn New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2017
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    3
    Thanks! For my use case, they are more for spinning HDDs rather than SSDs so it sounds like theLSI 9211-8i cards will be fine for my case. I am more worried for sudden legacy issues popping up but it seems like there is none so far?

    I took a look at the M1215, it is about 5x the cost of M1015 (IBM's LSI 9211-8i); I can see why the LSI 9211-8i is still highly recommended up til today
     
    #3
  4. BLinux

    BLinux Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    1,685
    Likes Received:
    446
    not sure where you get that the connect-X2 cards are not well supported? :-/

    if you're using only HDDs, the SAS2008 chipset based cards are just fine. you really won't benefit much from any upgrade of the HBA; unless you're doing really high IOPS on HDDs; which would seem like not the best match.

    if you're using SATA-III or SAS-2 SSDs (6Gbps), and have a PCI-E 3.0 capable motherboard/CPU combo, then the HBAs based on the SAS2308 chipset might be a meaningful upgrade. it will consume a few more watts though, as the chip on the 2308 runs faster i believe.

    if you're thinking about a SAS3 HBA like SAS3008 and above, you should be thinking one of the following:

    1) you plan to use SAS3 SSDs, or
    2) you plan to use SAS3 HDDs that only work with SAS3 HBAs (like some Seagates)

    The SAS3 HBAs, oldest being the SAS3008 are usually significantly more expensive than the 2308 or 2008; so you'd have to decide if it is worth the expense.

    Some times legacy is good... in the case of FreeNAS, the driver for 2008/2308 is very mature and stable and because it is so broadly used by the community, if you ever ask for help about it you'll have plenty of people that can share their opinion. If you use something really modern, say like SAS3408 based controller, you'd probably hear mostly crickets from the community.
     
    #4
  5. darkarn

    darkarn New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2017
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    3
    For the ConnectX-2 cards, there is no more new firmware (even custom ones in this forum) even though Windows keep giving me warning messages in Event Viewer asking me to upgrade for certain features. There is also some confusion regarding the state of the Mellanox drivers in Linux; some newer Linux versions are said to have dropped support for these cards but I have not personally confirmed this. Granted, these cards at least do their job of transferring files much faster than Gigabit.

    Thanks, I am using SATA-III HDDs though, so it looks like I can go with either type of card? Caveat is that right now my NAS is PCIe 2.0 only due to mobo/CPU limitations; sounds like I'll have to go with SAS2008 cards to make the most out of my money.

    And I am quite surprised that legacy hardware can be better; my impressions is that usually people would advise to just upgrade to avoid wasting time on troubleshooting but this seems like a special case.
     
    #5
  6. EffrafaxOfWug

    EffrafaxOfWug Radioactive Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2015
    Messages:
    669
    Likes Received:
    233
    I'd be surprised if that were true - it's relatively rare to see hardware support removed from the linux kernel, especially for comparatively modern hardware. I see a fair few reports about newer versions of the module not properly enabling ethernet mode though so you might be on to something there.

    Maybe it's old-fogey conservatism but I generally avoid bleeding-edge kit as it normally takes a minimum of six months to iron out the kinks (and in the case of some technologies, fundamental design flaws may surfaced). HBAs and network cards are both a) very close to the metal and b) complicated, especially when you start doing server stuff, so tried and tested drivers and the like are highly beneficial especially when the underlying tech you're using hasn't changed very much.
     
    #6
  7. darkarn

    darkarn New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2017
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    3
    I saw these too: Mellanox Connectx-2 - openmediavault and Mellanox ConnectX-2 with Ubuntu 18.04? : homelab I wonder if what you mentioned is related to these two; they sound somewhat the same seeing that they mention about Ethernet not working on the X2 unlike the X3 and onwards

    And ah I see, that makes sense, having known working drivers certainly makes deployment and troubleshooting easier!
     
    #7
    Tha_14 likes this.
Similar Threads: Recommended HBAs
Forum Title Date
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters Recommended HBAs and RAID cards for my situation Feb 22, 2018
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters Recommended (current) RAID controller for both PCI-E 2 and 3 ESXi hosts with SAS and SATA SSDs Monday at 4:17 PM
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters Recommended sizes and benchmarks for CacheCade volumes Jun 23, 2018
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters Recommended HBA to add SATA3 to a Supermicro X8DTL-iF MB (for SSDs) Jan 27, 2018
RAID Controllers and Host Bus Adapters recommended 8087 to 8088 cable Mar 2, 2017

Share This Page