Converting an HP DL380e Gen8 14xLFF Server to a Disk Shelf

omegadraconis

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Oct 23, 2017
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hey question, the picture of the pin out of yellow/gray in the image you linked, is that the pin out on the backplane, or pinout on the cable connector to the backplane?
This I recall is the backplane pinout, I rotated the pinout 90 degress so it matches the other image showing the cable plugged into the backplane. I left the white color pins empty.

The first post in the thread from @amp88 shows that cable side pinout.
 
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zaudo

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Apr 21, 2022
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Thank you @amp88 and @omegadraconis for the invaluable information in this thread. I've got a couple of DL380p gen8 servers that are basically only being used for storage now (with 12xLFF cage in each). With the huge rise in electricity prices here in the UK, and with two 12-core CPUs in each server, it really is becoming very uneconomical so I'm going to try converting them to disk shelves.

I have a couple of questions which I don't think I've seen covered in this thread:
  • After removing the drive cage, is there any way to remove the buttons and cables on the side so that you can plug these in? Or can the server be powered on without these attached? Even with the drive cages out, I'd like to still use these servers occasionally if possible.
  • If you're not using caddies, is it a problem for the drives to be touching the caddy contacts on the backplane? Do they need taping up?
Thanks again and I'll post some pics of my setup when I've made some progress.
 
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omegadraconis

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Oct 23, 2017
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@zaudo,
The "Ears" do come off, I removed them from my cage. I recall the screws are under the flip down doors. Disconnect the cables from the board, then snake the cables through the body of the disk cage, just go slow. If you were in the US, I would offer to send my set as I have no need for them.

I'm using caddies so I am not clear if those pins would touch a drive or not. You can take the backplane out of the cage from the back, couple of screws, then slides up, don't force anything. You could then tape over the pins easily.
 
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amp88

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Jul 9, 2020
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Thank you @amp88 and @omegadraconis for the invaluable information in this thread.
Happy to help :)

After removing the drive cage, is there any way to remove the buttons and cables on the side so that you can plug these in? Or can the server be powered on without these attached? Even with the drive cages out, I'd like to still use these servers occasionally if possible.
Yeah, as omegadraconis mentioned, the process of removing the rack ears from the drive cage is possible, but a little bit fiddly. Just take your time and you should be able to do it, but be aware some of the cables are quite delicate. If you have a problem you should be able to buy a pair of the ears from eBay for a few quid, but hopefully that's only as a last resort.

If you're not using caddies, is it a problem for the drives to be touching the caddy contacts on the backplane? Do they need taping up?
I've run a number of drives without caddies and I never had an issue with those contacts. I think there's a reasonably large air gap between the contacts and the actual drive housing. However, if you're concerned, once you've separated the drive cage from the server you can remove the backplane from the drive cage (with a couple of Torx screws) and tape over the contacts with Kapton or some other insulating tape.

Good luck.
 
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zaudo

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Apr 21, 2022
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Thanks @omegadraconis and @amp88!

I decided to just leave the ears on for convenience. About the caddies, I already had some but I didn't want to spend about $10 each for more, so instead I've used caddies just for the middle row of bays. This way it's easy to pull any drive out (at most you have to pull the caddy out, then the drive above or below is easy to pull):

IMG_1878.jpeg

I might have been a bit naive here but I had hoped that the backplanes would support daisy chaining. I thought this was usually the case when they have an expander built in, am I mistaken here? I tried it by plugging my SAS card into "Port 1" of the first backplane (the bottom one in these pictures) and then using an internal-to-internal cable to connect Port 2 into the second backplane (the top one in these pictures):

IMG_1879.jpeg

Unfortunately, this hasn't worked and only the drives on the first backplane are showing. So it seems it cannot be daisy chained unless I have plugged this in incorrectly?

I also have some concerns about cooling. My drives are going to be mostly idle (archival storage) so they will be fine, but the expander heatsink feels pretty hot even at idle. Is there any way to monitor the temperature of this? It can be monitored via iLO so there's a sensor in there but not sure if this would be exposed through the SAS ports?

Once I have the cages mounted (to a DIY rack) I plan to use a large desk fan, instead of mounting smaller computer fans closer to the backplane. Do you think this will be sufficient for cooling the expander?

Thank you again for the great thread :cool:
 
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zaudo

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Apr 21, 2022
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A quick update. I resigned myself to the fact that you can't daisy chain these backplanes. Some backplanes do support this, so if you need daisy chaining then you'll want to look elsewhere. From what I can gather, a backplane will usually have a dual expander if it supports daisy chaining, so look out for the dual heatsinks.

Instead I've gone the route of expanding my HBA. I've got a quad port LSI 9200-16e in a consumer desktop PC, and I've also bought an Intel RES2SV240 expander which is really great - it's got 6 internal ports (so 24 effective SAS2 ports) and can be powered either in a PCIe slot or by a molex connection, so you can put it anywhere pretty much. Those two together cost me about $100 and give me 8 usable ports, so I can power 8 of these backplanes (you only need to use one SAS port on each backplane if you don't need the extra bandwidth).

Got a few cages mounted now to a DIY rack (put together from used IKEA LACK tables):

IMG_2066.jpg

Behind the cages, I'm using a desktop fan (I think it's about 9" blades), with the fan cage removed, and the drives are staying between 30C and 50C depending on load. I have no way of reading the temperature of the expander heatsinks but they feel very cool. I guess this is expected with the airflow coming from behind - expanders nice and cool, drives not quite so cool.

Once my rack is complete I'll post another update.
 
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Sean Ho

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That's interesting about the backplanes not daisy-chaining. E.g., SuperMicro BPN-SAS2-846EL1 single-expander SAS2 backplane has 3x 8087 ports: two for dual-link to the HBA and one for daisy-chaining. (All three are electrically identical.)
 

Vit K

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Feb 23, 2017
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Can you please measure depth of the 12 LFF cage? I initially planned SFF cage to install in teleco rack, but LFF looks so hoardy...
 

nerdalertdk

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::1
Did something similar with its little brother the dl360 :)
Cut the dl360 to length, was a bonus I could keep the fan mount made cooling easy
Bought some new silent 40mm fans and an aliexpress 12v fan controller

Running it of my dl20


23AB53E0-42DD-4180-8B59-DB09BFB2DEF1.jpeg

D700C61F-F5B3-414B-AC92-4DC1E53D3144.jpeg
 
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Eric.014

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Apr 17, 2022
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Hey guys, first thank you all for your discussion on the power supply pinout, it helped me a lot! I currently got a 12xLFF backplane(with SAS expander) used by the DL380P, which I have successfully retrofitted to power and get my HBA card to successfully recognize a single hard drive.

But I'm currently have some problems. When I plug in multiple HDDs at the same time, I only see one HDD in the system. If I insert them in sequence, there will be two situations. When only one SFF8087 is connected, the HDD inserted in the previous one can only be recognized when I insert the second one. If both SFF8087s are connected to the HBA card, only the latest inserted HDD will be recognized.

I am currently using diy hardware and the system is Windows Server 2016, the HBA card is LSI SAS2 2308 (forgot the specific model but this card is not an hp HBA card, I remember it seems to be IBM's). I also tried to turn on the MPIO function of the system but it didn't work. I'm a little curious, is it necessary to use the official HP/HPE HBA card to identify them all? And I don't need RAID, I just need to be able to recognize the hard drive in the system. I don't know exactly where the problem is, so I'm asking for your help.
 

faiverth

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Jul 19, 2022
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After pondering the "expander vs no_expander" issue, I now believe that I was wrong! I had NO reason to question HP's spec. Just because Adaptec uses their 24-port chip in their own 16- and 24-port controllers, and uses their 8-port chip (PMC8020) in their 8-port controllers, does NOT prevent HP from using the 8-port chip, plus an internal expander chip, in the HP P822 24-port controller. [I have amended my original posting accordingly.] Please accept my apology, @audiophonicz .
Regarding cascading of expanders, no problem for sequential loads, but max iops might drop a couple %. (I.e., negligible, but not immeasurable.)



Look at the picture. The RoC of my P822 raid card is 'SRCv 24x6g PM8015B-F3G1' .
So could you please explain the inconsistence to your conclusion?

Untitled.jpg
 
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UhClem

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Look at the picture. The RoC of my P822 raid card is 'SRCv 24x6g PM8015B-F3G1' .
So could you please explain the inconsistence to your conclusion?
Thanks very much for clearing that up!!
My "confusion" evolved from:
I knew that Adaptec (who owned PMC at the time) used the SRCv 8x & 24x chips in their own Series 7 (8- 16- & 24-port) cards; so I figured that HP, since they were using PMC chips for their own cards, would stay competitive (performance-wise) and use the SRCv 24x chip in their own 24-port (P822) card ... DESPITE the fact that HP's own specifications for the P822 [Link] (and also in the QuickSpecs [all 12 revisions!] [Link] state that:
P822 includes a PMC-Sierra SRCv 8x6G SAS RAID-on-chip featuring:
  • Eight SAS/SATA physical links, each supporting 6, 3, and 1.5 Gb/s for SAS protocol and 6 and 3 Gb/s for SATA protocol
[Also note that in the QuickSpecs, just below the Host Interface section (excerpted in the above quote) is a section titled RAID Processor and Expander.]

Then (3 days later), I had some "second thoughts":
1) HP's product engineers must certainly review/approve any published specifications (right?)
and 2) I came across a press release from PMC [Link] announcing that HP was using their RoC chips in HP's new SmartArray cards ... BUT only the P420, P421, & P422 were mentioned, NOT the P822 ... though the release didn't miss the opportunity to hype (in general [non-HP] content) both the SRCv 8x & SRCv 24x.
Thus, I doubted my original position, and posted my [in]"correction" :) .
 

audiophonicz

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Jan 11, 2021
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Odd that I only get random updates from this watched thread, not all of them..

I resigned myself to the fact that you can't daisy chain these backplanes.
Well, they are technically internal backplanes, so it kinda makes sense that functionality isnt there. From my experience the external DAS shelves usually have a pair of external expander chips not built into the backplane itself. But hey, thanks for confirming for the rest of us.
Man thats gonna be alot of weight on cardboard tables. Good luck downloading the internets! (maybe some 1/8" L-channel on the front legs?)

Can you please measure depth of the 12 LFF cage? I initially planned SFF cage to install in teleco rack, but LFF looks so hoardy...
I got 7.25". Add some for fans. I originally had mine in a network rack, so if its 10.5" deep from the rails, you have enough.


Cut the dl360 to length
Now thats my kinda modding. Awesome!


I am currently using diy hardware and the system is Windows Server 2016, the HBA card is LSI SAS2 2308 (forgot the specific model but this card is not an hp HBA card, I remember it seems to be IBM's).
Thats kinda odd. Might be your card's FW? You said it was an IBM rebrand, did you crossflash to LSI IT FW? I can see an IBM FW hooked into a HP internal expander acting a little weird. Maybe the expander/backplane itself is bad?
You shouldnt need an HP card, I use an LSI 9206 which is also a SAS2308 card and i can see all of them, and havent had any "inter-slot dependancy" issues I'm aware of. I have however burned up a slot or two so i know they can go bad. :p Ive also used a PERC H710 flashed to LSI so if youre using the stock LSI FW, id try swapping the backplane for $20.

Really clued-up guy 'scrutinous' on SpacePool Discord says;
yeah, "it just passes signal to where it needs to go" by magic. It just knows where it needs to go. it doesnt actually recognize anything passing through it right? voodoo switch because reasons --clued-up guy lmao
Great job ignoring the next comment where I backtrack on my statement btw. thanks for contributing. big help.
 
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