NexentaStor Server – Part 1 – The Build

Hardware Upgrade

Time to replace the original internal Dell PERC 6/IR RAID card with a Non-RAID SAS HBA. This is important since NexentaStor takes care of all RAID functionality and requires direct access to the drives. In theory it is possible to use the PERC with NexentaStor by creating 6 Single-Drive Raid-0 Arrays but the setup is not ideal.

Luckily, I have a few Dell SAS 6/ir cards, so I’ve replaced the Dell PERC with the SAS HBA. It’s a quick, direct replacement as the headers are in the exact same location even though this SAS 6ir came from a Dell PowerEdge 2950 which sits at the front of the server on top of the drive bays.

Unfortunately, on boot-up with the Dell SAS6/IR card installed I was greeted with this message on the screen.
“Invalid PCIe Card found in the Internal Storage slot!” “System halted!”
Well that can’t be right. According to the Dell web site, the SAS 6/IR card is compatible with the R710 series servers.

I decided to flash both the server and the HBA with the latest version of the Firmware/BIOS. Flashing the HBA solved the issue and the system booted fine. But it’s important to know that only the Internal versions of the SAS 6/IR can be flashed with compatible firmware.

2 thoughts on “NexentaStor Server – Part 1 – The Build

  1. 1) Are you using Dell H200 external to replace PERC 6/E that connects MD1000?
    What is the model?
    2) Do you have an update on how the setup is going and performance?

    • Yes. I’m using the H200 to connect to the MD1000.

      I’ve been very happy with NexentaStor performance in general. On the R710 the thing absolutely flies, especially if you combine with it 4 Lane iSCSI Round Robin MPIO. With the caching system of Nexenta, VM’s on the ESXi host absolutely fly. It’s actually funny watching VM’s reboot because it happens almost instantaneously. I do have a 10Gbe project brewing as I want to switch to NFS and get an additional boot in random performance and simplify my network setup. Right now I have 4 NIC ports going to every host just for iSCSI traffic.

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