IBM M1015 in IT mode still the go to card? Need SATA controller for FreeNAS

Alfa147x

Member
Feb 7, 2014
132
21
18
I'm looking to repurpose my Intel Xeon X5650 + Supermicro X8ST3-F system to consolidate two ReadyNAS devices. From my research it seems like the IBM M1015 flashed to IT is the most recommended card for $100 budget.

Most of the posts I found are 3 years old, are there any other recommended cards for ZFS? I feel like a child but I'm looking to find the coolest, most feature packed card in my budget.

I currently have 3TB WD Red drives and 4x 1TB WD Red drives and looking to pick up 48GB of memory to feed FreeNAS's deduplication and cache features.

Thanks!
Alfa
 

EffrafaxOfWug

Radioactive Member
Feb 12, 2015
1,339
465
83
I think so yes; simple fact of the matter is they're cheap, readily available and work. If all you're hooking up is platter drives then there's no benefit in going for the faster 12Gb/s HBAs (which also slurp more power/need better cooling as far as I'm aware).

Edit: just trawled the LSI/avago site to see what power consumption figures they listed. Not sure how accurate they are but I clocked my 9211-8i's at being in the ~10W ballpark.

6Gb/s
9201-16i 16W
9207-8i 10W
9210-8i 7W
9211-8i 7W
9217-8i 9W

12Gb/s
9300-8i 13W
9300-16i 27W
9302-16i 27W
9311-8i 13W

How many drives are you looking to hook up in total? You're only using five at the moment? In which case the 8i's almost certainly a no-brainer... using 48GB of memory seems a tad overkill for such a small array though.
 
  • Like
Reactions: T_Minus

T_Minus

Build. Break. Fix. Repeat
Feb 15, 2015
7,118
1,630
113
CA
Yep, I just got a handful more for my builds! The "GO TO" budget card :)
 

Alfa147x

Member
Feb 7, 2014
132
21
18
I think so yes; simple fact of the matter is they're cheap, readily available and work. If all you're hooking up is platter drives then there's no benefit in going for the faster 12Gb/s HBAs (which also slurp more power/need better cooling as far as I'm aware).

Edit: just trawled the LSI/avago site to see what power consumption figures they listed. Not sure how accurate they are but I clocked my 9211-8i's at being in the ~10W ballpark.

6Gb/s
9201-16i 16W
9207-8i 10W
9210-8i 7W
9211-8i 7W
9217-8i 9W

12Gb/s
9300-8i 13W
9300-16i 27W
9302-16i 27W
9311-8i 13W

How many drives are you looking to hook up in total? You're only using five at the moment? In which case the 8i's almost certainly a no-brainer... using 48GB of memory seems a tad overkill for such a small array though.

I have 7 drives on hand that will go into the NAS and that should be enough for the time being. I want room to easily grow in the future too.

From some quick research it seems like ZFS likes direct access to the drives vs hardware RAID. Would spending $ on a fancy card be a waste of money?

A user pinged me offering up a Dell Perc H310 which can be flashed to a LSI SAS 2008. When comparing the card to the IBM M1015 what should I look for?
 

neo

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2015
672
362
63
From some quick research it seems like ZFS likes direct access to the drives vs hardware RAID. Would spending $ on a fancy card be a waste of money?
Yes, fancy RAID cards all have features pertaining to hardware RAID. Which you won't be using when it's flashed to IT mode. ZFS handles all the RAID functions as it is basically a very complicated software RAID.

When comparing the card to the IBM M1015 what should I look for?
Both are LSI SAS2008 chipsets. I would look at cable routing.

IBM M1015



Dell H310

 
Last edited:

EffrafaxOfWug

Radioactive Member
Feb 12, 2015
1,339
465
83
From some quick research it seems like ZFS likes direct access to the drives vs hardware RAID. Would spending $ on a fancy card be a waste of money?
In my opinion, yes. I'm not a ZFS user (pretty much 100% linux mdadm softraid) but the same principle applies and I've had no experiences in the last decade to steer me away from the softraid route.

"Growing easily in the future" is one of those things where you could spend a month talking about it; personally I try and stick within my port limit (my biggest RAID array is 8 drives) and simply increase the capacity of the hard discs... but AFAICT this isn't as simple with ZFS as it is with mdadm.

Edit in light of Neo's post: Yep, the M1015 is somewhat unusual in that its 8087 ports face vertically up from the card whilst most vanilla 9211-8i's and variants have the ports facing forward.
 

Alfa147x

Member
Feb 7, 2014
132
21
18
Thanks everyone for the help

I picked up the Dell H310 with two sets of breakout cables (Thanks Neo!). Now I need to find a case since I've outgrown my old $35 Corsair box.
 

Terry Kennedy

Well-Known Member
Jun 25, 2015
1,072
513
113
New York City
www.glaver.org
Most of the posts I found are 3 years old, are there any other recommended cards for ZFS? I feel like a child but I'm looking to find the coolest, most feature packed card in my budget.
Any card that has a large enough quantity of ports to handle your drives, with interfaces that can support the expected data transfer rates from your drives, will be fine. These days that's still the LSI SAS2004/2008 chips (which are used on lots and lots of cards, including the one you're looking at). If you had a SSD, then you might benefit from the faster 12Gbps transfer rate of newer cards. However, if that is the case you'd probably be better served by a SSD that attaches to the PCIe bus, or one with an NVMe interface if your host system supports it.

I have traditionally used the 3Ware 9xxx-series cards in my systems. For ZFS, I create single drive volumes on the controller and export them to the OS. This lets the controller optimize the actual writing of data (and caching, since I have a BBU installed) while still providing all of the advantages of ZFS. Plus, you get the nifty web-based 3Ware Disk Manager to manage the drives, along with 3-LED support (online / activity / fault) for the enclosure (if your enclosure supports that). But the 3Ware cards are rather out-of-date at this point, and Avago seems to feel that the LSI chips are the way forward on new products. So my future builds will likely be based on those instead of the 3Ware ones.