ZFS in Dell PowerEdge R610


Jun 14, 2019
I would like to use two Dell PowerEdge R610 with proxmox and replication support.

If I understood the docs correctly, replication is only available with zfs filesystem and zfs filesystem needs direct access to hard drives.

My Dell PowerEdge R610 machines comes with PERC 6/i Integrated RAID Controller which, again if I understand what I read correctly, doesn't support non-raid HBA mode.

I did quite some research but I have very little knowledge about hardware raids and controllers so I don't know exactly what I should bye to make those Dell Servers compatible with zfs.

In Dell List of Controllers -I can't post the link because this is the first post- I see on series 6 & 7 Family that H200 both modular (I suppose this means to be installed on one of the rear slots) and integrated controllers support non-RAID. But I read a lot of people flashing that controller to make it work as what they call JBOD.

I'm quite confused because I understand very little about this subject.

If I bye H200 am I going to deal with all that flashing staff?

If that's true. Isn't there any controller that I can just install on the system, replacing the Perc 6/i or just installing it on one of the rear slots that works from scratch and let's me install proxmox in zfs filesystem directly?

Ok, I have read about the JBOD concept and its difference with non-RAID.

non-RAID will be still between the drives and the OS, showing to OS only one drive with the size which will be the sum of sizes of all the installed drives. While with JBOD the OS will have direct access to all drives and will see all of them individually.

So, is there something that is JBOD controller from scratch compatible with Dell R610?
The H200 and H310 are compatible from scratch, but you have to flash them to IT Mode to get an better queue Depth. In R610 you need to install the Controller to an correct PCIe Port (maybe the H200 works there, the H310 definitely not) and not to the Storage Slot where the current one is installed. You need to replace the existing SAS Cables, the plugs are different.

There might be another problem, it's possible you can't flash the Controller in your server, therefore you need an different computer to do that. I need to install the controller to an older and not updated R610, in my R710 it was not possible. Maybe it's a BIOS problem, so newer not work. On my R610 there was an BIOS v 1.x.x installed (IIRC) , so it's very very old.
It is really difficult for me to fully understand all this and find where to buy the components.

I understand I need H200 or H310 and I'm going to have to flash before being able to use HBA Mode. And I understand the cables are going to be different to the ones that comes for the PERC 6/i. I read the cables are SFF-8087 but I'm still not sure the ones I need.

The Server has a backpane for 6 disks with two connectors on top that says SAS A, SAS B and the H200 seems to have two connectors too. But most of the cables I found when looking for SFF-8087 has one connector on one side and 4 sata on the other side.

I have both rear slots free so I can install on rear slots. Would it be better H200 or H310? The flashing problems happens with H200 only or with H310 too?
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Dell offers for every Gen an HBA controller. Ask the Dell sales what is correct for you Machine.
Instead of trying to achieve drives pass-through, you can create a RAID0 virtual disk for each separate drive. This is how i have it atm.
Then you are lucky. This fails in most cases or the performance is bad
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Then you are lucky. This fails in most cases or the performance is bad

It's very good to know. We've used this setup since we haven't managed to migrate all the machines to controllers allowing the pass-through (we still have a mix of H310 and H710 for DELLs) and in order to have the compatibility for all the hardware we've opted for RAID0 per drive, which works for both controllers. Will try to accelerate the transition to the H310s and enable pass-through for all.
I bought Perc H200I and the cables needed. I crossflashed to IT Mode and changed Product ID on the card to be able to use it in the internal storage slot.

When I install proxmox v6 it sees the 4 disks and I configure them with RAIDZ-2. The install process finish with no errors. But then I reboot the server remove the USB memory and the system is not able to boot. It just shows the 4 NICs and the DVD drive as bootable devices.

Can't I boot from the disks?


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