Dell H830 SAS RAID and Dell PowerVault MD1200

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prisoner881

New Member
Nov 12, 2016
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I have a Dell R710 home server with a Dell PERC H830 SAS RAID adapter in it. I'm looking to add an MD1200 to my collection and trying to figure out whether it will work. I'm not concerned if it's supported. I only want to know if it will work at all.

First off, Dell says the H830 won't work in the R710. I beg to differ. I have it working right now hooked up to my white-box eight-bay SATA enclosure. It's fast and reliable. So strike one for Dell's sales team trying to tell me it won't work in an attempt to make me buy a new R730 server for my H830.

Now Dell tells me the MD1200 won't work with the H830 (I didn't tell them the H830 was in an R710 because they'd retreat to their prior "but the H830 won't work in an R710" argument). But why won't it work, I ask? The H830 is a 12Gb/s SAS card. The MD1200 is a 6Gb/s enclosure. SAS is backwards compatible by design so it's supposed to work. The MD1200 is nothing more than a big, dumb box to stuff drives in. The MD1200 controllers are little more than SAS expanders. There isn't any controller failover support. There isn't even any out-of-band management on the MD1200. Why in the hell shouldn't it work other than Dell wants to sell me a $7k MD1400 instead of letting me get a $400 MD1200 off eBay?

Given Dell's prior claims that stuff won't work when it actually does I'm not inclined to believe Dell. Does anyone have any experience with this? Has anyone gotten this combo to work?

Thanks,

Eric
 

i386

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2016
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Short answer: it "doesn't work" becuase it's an untested configuration. Dell can't tell what happens when you connect the controller and that das.

With controller using stock lsi firmware I would say it should work. But with the custom dell firmware you have to test it.
 

prisoner881

New Member
Nov 12, 2016
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I purchased the MD1200 and installed it a couple of weeks ago. It has 12 3TB Western Digital RED SATA drives each with a SATA-to-SAS interposer. I configured it with RAID50 and can report it works like a charm with my Dell PERC H830 SAS RAID controller. I originally planned to try it without interposers but since I had them already I figured no harm in using them. Performance is excellent, by the way.

So, for the record, the H830 will work in an R710 (despite what Dell says) and the MD1200 will work with the H830 (also despite what Dell says). Granted it's not officially supported by Dell but this is an out-of-warranty R710 server bought off eBay for $150 running (among other things) my Plex media server. It's not like I could call Dell about anything in the first place. But with two hex-core 3Ghz Xeon's, 96GB of RAM, and now with 30TB of 6Gb/sec DAS storage it's got more than enough horsepower to run my setup. Hell it'd be enough for a small business with 10-20 VM's.

Next idea: I have an old MD1000 SAS enclosure sitting here gathering dust. I wonder if it will work daisy-chained off the MD1200? Pity I don't have any decent drives to put in it to find out.
 

NetWise

Active Member
Jun 29, 2012
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Edmonton, AB, Canada
Hi! I'd like to poke the zombie and see if this remained operational long term or had any issues or if anyone else who might see this again now has any feedback.

Looks like an H830 in an R630 will physically connect to an MD1200/MD1220 using an "HD Mini SAS" to "Mini SAS" connector. Outside of any "validated configuration matrix support" from Dell, there should be fundamentally no reasons for this not to work. But I'd be a fool to not check with the collective wisdom of the internet to confirm...