Perc H310 locked SAS drives, and I don't want IT mode [Dell t7600]

MountainDew

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Just bought 4x14tb Seagate 12Gb SAS drives. 2/4 are easily detected for their correct size, the other two are blocked and only recognized as 1TB drives. And, ESXi doesn't even recognize the locked drives. Is flashing the card to IT mode the quickest way to address this? Will it even help see the two drives? The H310 came with the 7600, and the "update" Dell has for this card was 6 years ago. I tried to just apply a firmware update that wasn't specific to the 7600's H310 and the update wouldn't let me apply it.

All I really want is to ensure I have a RAID card that will recognize my SAS drives, and hopefully ESXi can see them too. What's the quickest way to address this? Buying a card is an option, but I really don't want to spend more than $100 on a card.
 
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itronin

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I think some more information is required here:
did you mean "Blocked" or "locked" ?

Sounds like you have them running normally on ESXI? Was the BIOS reporting two of the drives as 1TB?

Which OS are you comfortable using to pull drive attributes? You'll likely need to pull data from the drive's firmware to figure out what is going on.

Did you purchase these drives new or used? all from the same source or from different sources?

What are the model numbers for the drives and note which drives are blocked/locked. Seagate Exos x14 for example? a picture from the drive's labels may also help identify if these are OEM branded drives or straight up Seagate drives...

If these are used I'm wondering if you received some drives that are encrypted ala SED.

TBH I normally flash my HBA's (H310's included) to IT mode as some HW RAID cards and firmware will block the information you see and I let the OS handle the redundancy portion .. However that will not work so well in ESXI with a single system.

NB: if you flash your card to IT mode it will no longer perform HW RAID. You may have to flash it to IT mode to debug and correct what is going on and then flash it back... If you have to flash the card you might also consider flashing to stock LSI firmware either IT or R flavors depending on what needs to be done.

I have tesed H310's up to 8TB and had no problems using them though a number of drives I have received had to have the sector size reconfigured from 520 (pretty common) down to 512.
 

MountainDew

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I think some more information is required here:
did you mean "Blocked" or "locked" ?
Blocked. The PERC raid controller indicates their state is blocked, and reports their actual size as 1.6TB

Sounds like you have them running normally on ESXI? Was the BIOS reporting two of the drives as 1TB?
These drives were just placed in my ESXi box, yes. I previously had SATA drives installed, and removed them when I received the SAS drives.

Which OS are you comfortable using to pull drive attributes? You'll likely need to pull data from the drive's firmware to figure out what is going on.
I'm more comfortable in a Windows environment, but I can use centos or ubuntu if needed

Did you purchase these drives new or used? all from the same source or from different sources?
Off the same ebay seller at the same time.

What are the model numbers for the drives and note which drives are blocked/locked. Seagate Exos x14 for example? a picture from the drive's labels may also help identify if these are OEM branded drives or straight up Seagate drives...
All 4 drives are the refurbished ST14000NM0048. But:
2 drives are warranty restricted since they were purchased in a different country and region.
1 non warranty restricted and 1 warranty restricted are being shown as blocked

If these are used I'm wondering if you received some drives that are encrypted ala SED.

TBH I normally flash my HBA's (H310's included) to IT mode as some HW RAID cards and firmware will block the information you see and I let the OS handle the redundancy portion .. However that will not work so well in ESXI with a single system.

NB: if you flash your card to IT mode it will no longer perform HW RAID. You may have to flash it to IT mode to debug and correct what is going on and then flash it back... If you have to flash the card you might also consider flashing to stock LSI firmware either IT or R flavors depending on what needs to be done.

I have tesed H310's up to 8TB and had no problems using them though a number of drives I have received had to have the sector size reconfigured from 520 (pretty common) down to 512.[/QUOTE]

Thanks for the thorough response.
 

itronin

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Nov 24, 2018
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Blocked vs Locked. I don't think your issue is SED.

did some quick google fu this morning:

At a quick guess, (and I may be wrong):
you have two drives that are configured for 512e sector and two that are configured for 4kn.

Check the drive labels carefully.

There is a variant of this drive that is only 4kn... there's an extra 4. See here. (PDF download). However you said these drives are all SAS and the 4kn only is SATA - but seller may have not correctly identified the drive too. The provenance of the drives is also probably different even though they came from the same seller, the two blocked drives were likely used in an enterprise storage appliance or server that supported 4kn sectors.

SATA version with 4Kn only ST14000NM0448 <--- If you have this one I'd recommend returning the two blocked drives to the seller.
SAS version with 512e/4kn ST14000NM0048 <--- should be able to make it work.

I found this Dell Community forum thread useful. Basically the H310 doesn't support 4kn sector size.

There's also a bunch of information regarding Dell's decision to block 3rd party drives but I see no reference that the H310 does this and lots of references that the H7xx and H8xx will block non dell drives. I don't think 3rd party drive blocking is at issue.

If all 4 of your drives are the same model and then you may be able to reformat the two that are blocked.
See here

I suspect though as I mentioned in my first reply you will have to either reflash your H310 to IT mode to try and reformat the drive or buy/beg/borrow/steal an HBA in IT mode to reformat. If the problem is 4kn format then you should be able to get the two misbehaving drives reformatted you are probably golden.

There is an absolute treasure trove of information at STH about cross flashing LSI controller variants and the PERC H310 is an excellent one as well as reformatting drives (--six will be your friend).

You should be able to cross flash back from IT mode to R mode whether using the stock DELL firmware or the LSI firmware since you want to use R mode under ESXI.

If you are concerned with potentially messing up your current HBA you could pick up one off eBay ($20?) and flash that one keeping your current HBA pristine or you can spend a bit more and get one already flashed to IT mode with support from the seller.

I think the paths you take will depend on how much you want to learn/figure out and whether you will enjoy the process or you just want it "done".

I'm very interested in what drives you have. Will you please post back with your findings?
 

MountainDew

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I definitely have SAS drives, so it sounds like I may need to do some card flashing and drive formatting. I probably won't be able to get to it today (19 Oct), but I will update when I've taken any steps. thanks again for your input!
 

MountainDew

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Sorry for the delay but I've made progress.
I followed this tutorial for flashing the H310 to IT mode.

After the restart, I didn't get any option to hit ctrl-r for a RAID Card bios - I imagine that's expected.

I booted into ESXi, and it sees all 4 drives as 12.73TB, with a queue depth of 254.
As a "test," I created 4 separate datastores using each of these drives, and it completed successfully. So, it appears the drives are good with my so-called test. The end goal is to use these drives for my media storage in RAID10. But, I'm not sure if that's feasible at this point using the card. I feel safer having the card control/manage the RAID since... to be frank, I don't have experience running a RAID in an OS. That being said, I am considering UNRAID for this solution, and it looks like the OS could monitor the health of my drives.
 

itronin

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Sorry for the delay but I've made progress.
I followed this tutorial for flashing the H310 to IT mode.

After the restart, I didn't get any option to hit ctrl-r for a RAID Card bios - I imagine that's expected.

I booted into ESXi, and it sees all 4 drives as 12.73TB, with a queue depth of 254.
Edit - did you check the block size of the two drives that were locked? if they are still 4k you may want to change them to 512 so they are all the same. That may be easiest to do in Linux with sg_tools

That's great news on getting the card flashed to IT mode and seeing the expected capacity. If you did not see a "CTRL-C" to enter the Avago bios my guess is that you used a set of instructions that didn't include instructions on adding the BIOS back in.

Its pretty simple. I'm not sure if you x flashed from DOS, UEFI, or Linux. The latest BIOS should have been included in the archive package you downloaded.

Since most folks want IT mode the instructions tend to focus only on that.

Also in that package should have been the P20 IR mode - look for 2118r.bin. You can flash that instead of IT mode and get HW raid back on the card.

The DOS command is sas2flsh -o -b bios-mptsas2.rom

you can combine this option with the p20 command flash command too ala

sas2flsh -o -f 2118r.bin -b mptsas2.rom

don't forget to hang on to your SAS address.
 
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MountainDew

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Edit - did you check the block size of the two drives that were locked? if they are still 4k you may want to change them to 512 so they are all the same. That may be easiest to do in Linux with sg_tools

.
I did not. I suppose that wouldn't be too difficult since ESXi is on a thumb drive. I could remove it and do the above with a quick linux install (or live disk if it'll let me write changes).
 

itronin

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I think they are probably 4k reformat them to 512 and then reflash your PERC to P20 IR and I think you'll be exactly where you wanted to be with hardware raid.
 

MountainDew

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I think they are probably 4k reformat them to 512 and then reflash your PERC to P20 IR and I think you'll be exactly where you wanted to be with hardware raid.
Two of the drives were formatted for 4k. I'm following a tutorial to reformat to 512. I'm currently running DD on them. I'll probably be dead by the time it's done :)

At least I was able to pass the PERC card to a VM and format the drives in the virtual machine. I was afraid I'd have to bring down the whole box for this process.
 

itronin

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It will take a LONG time. Tutorial? You should be able to just sg_format then down.... why DD? To exercise the drives for bad blocks?

In your original post you mentioned HW RAID. IIRC H310 with P20 Raid is only Raid 1. However once the drives are are all 512b sectors you can reflash your H310 back to the DELL H310 RAID code and get Raid 5. With that big a drive I think R5 is might be kinda risky. Author of same tutorial you used to flash also wrote a tutorial on flashing back to original DELL firmware.
 

MountainDew

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Oct 19, 2015
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It will take a LONG time. Tutorial? You should be able to just sg_format then down.... why DD? To exercise the drives for bad blocks?
I tried to but got errors similar to what was mentioned in the tutorial I was using. It was recommended to DD first, then sg_format to get the drives back to 512 sectors.

It'd be great if I didn't have to DD... but given the tutorial I'm following, I don't think that's possible.
 

itronin

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oh... interesting. I have seen that error and used --six to resolve it - did you try --six with your sg_format? If you are not too far into your DD you might cancel it and give that shot - might save you some time if it works. the format will still take some time on a 12TB disk, just background 'em both or better use a screen for each and walk away.

see the STH thread
 

MountainDew

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Oct 19, 2015
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oh... interesting. I have seen that error and used --six to resolve it - did you try --six with your sg_format? If you are not too far into your DD you might cancel it and give that shot - might save you some time if it works. the format will still take some time on a 12TB disk, just background 'em both or better use a screen for each and walk away.

see the STH thread
dangit, I saw that and forgot about that flag. I just executed it and it's working. I'll kill DD and start that instead. Thanks!
 
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