I bought two Dell T110 II for a customer and was under the assumption they would use Intel's Storage Matrix RAID capabilities (given the Chipsets these servers use). I was wrong. Instead I got the Perc S100. I created a RAID 5 Array on that and it seems painfully slow. Turns out the S100 does not support write caching unless you have a battery (or something).
Anyways... what are my options to upgrade to a better controller? I asked Dell, they said they would send me an email with details, but they never did.
What I need:
A good and solid RAID controller that supports RAID 5 and write caching. I certainly don't need the top of the line controller, nothing fancy here, but it should be reliable and reasonable fast. Main requirement: It should support SATA drives and it would be nice if I would not have to do a lot of cabling. I imagine something that plugs into the SATA bus and takes it over.
The onboard S100 controller is a software (S) RAID controller and does not have write cache as an option.
The H200 is the only "supported" hardware RAID controller for the T110 II ... it DOES support RAID 5 but does not have write cache capability.
The T110 is as low-end as Dell does, and as such, their higher-end controllers are not "supported" on the T110. It may be because they didn't bother to test the higher-end cards (PERC H700 and PERC 6/i) in it, or the T110 simply does not have the ability/resources to support those cards.
Safe bet: H200 (hardware RAID, RAID 0/1/5/10, but no cache)
May be ok: PERC 6/i (hardware RAID, RAID 0/1/5/6/10/50/60, 256MB battery-backed cache, but may not work on T110)
thanks a lot for the information, much appreciated.
do you happen to know the differences between the H200 and the S100, other than the obvous hardware vs. software RAID? If I don't have a write cache on either one, I figure the speed gains from the H200 over the S100 would be minimal at best...
also... how about thrid party raid controllers?
Third party controllers are also unsupported - and can be kind of hit/miss. If you are going to use an unsupported controller, I think you have a better chance of success with the PERC 6/i. Someone here put a PERC 6/i into a T110 (version I) and reported no obvious problems.
And my apologies ... the H200 does RAID 0/1/10 (no RAID 5), so if RAID 5 is a requirement, you'd need to stick with the onboard S100 or go with an unsupported controller. The differences (other than hardware vs. software (which I wouldn't consider insignificant)) is the H200 is a 6Gbps controller, and the S100 is 3Gbps, and the H200 supports more drives.
again, thank you. I will consider the PERC 6/i. There is also a PERC 6/e. What's the difference here?
And does the PERC 6 allow me to connect SATA drives directly? Or would I have to re-cable everything?
E = External, I = Internal
PERC 6/E is for connecting external enclosures, PERC 6/i is for internal storage.
The PERC 6/i has two SAS ports:http://www.ebay.com/itm/PERC-6-i-SAS-RAID-Controller-PCIe-256MB-Cache-T954J-/110665497851
You would just need like a 4-drop SAS cable ... something like this (although I couldn't find a part number or the cable by itself with a "quick" search):http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-PERC-6-i-PCI-E-SAS-RAID-CONTROLLER-Inc-Bat-Cables-/270804376535
Did the PERC 6/i work in that T110?
I never tried. We settled with the internal pseudo-RAID controller for now.
How can I set the H200 up as RAID-5? When I go into it's configuration I've only got RAID-1, RAID-10, and RAID-0 options. Is there something else that needs to be set to "unlock" this capability?
The H200 simply does not support RAID 5 (0/1/10 only). You must choose a different RAID configuration or a different RAID controller (if RAID 5 is absolutely required).
cryptochrome, when you indicated poor performance, could you give more details? How many drives in your RAID 5 array, and what kind of read/write speeds on average approximately? I'm considering using the S100 for a four drive RAID 5 array. I don't need earth shattering performance, but really want to exceed 50mbps on average. Can you help me with some details?
I've installed an H700 controller running in my PE T110 II (RAID 5 and BBU), it's been running fine since Feb 2012. I'm running Windows 2008 R2 Hyper-V with SVS 2011 and 2008 R2 guest VMs.
The particular controller I'm running is the 'PERC H700 Integrated RAID Controller, 1GB NV Cache'. I had to order the battery separately from Dell and had a bit of a problem getting the battery to controller cable (as it didn't come with the battery!). I sourced the drive cable loom elsewhere.