To replace a 2006 Xserve and a 7TB Xserve RAID at the university, we recently got a Mac mini server, an ATTO ThunderLink FC 1082 Thunderbolt to 8Gbit Fibre Channel adapter, and a HP StorageWorks P2000 G3 MSA FC Dual Controller LFF (specifically, model number AP845B).
The P2000 is not explicitly on ATTO’s compatibility matrix, but when I asked their tech support about it, they said it was compatible and provided me with a pre-release version of their Multi Path Director driver for the Thunderlink which is officially compatible.
Evidently, the P2000 G3 is an OEM’d version of the Dot Hill AssuredSAN 3000 Series (specifically, the 3730), which is on ATTO’s compatibility list, so I assume the standard driver would work just as well. Update 2018: Since Dot Hill has in the meantime been sold, their support page has moved to Seagate.
We chose the Thunderlink/P2000 combo over a Promise solution because it was cheaper, fully 8Gbit capable and had four host ports. Also, I know that HP’s tech support is good and they’ll have spare parts around for many years. Plus, the P2000 is VMWare ESXi certified.
The obvious downside to the P2000 is that the disk bays do not have standard SAS connectors but require an interposer board to convert to a SCA-2/SCA-40 connector. The included slot blinds are in fact blinds and cannot be used to mount an actual drive. You can get empty caddies/trays for the P2000 on eBay or from some used SAN equipment dealer for around 100 euros, or buy your hard drives from HP for a premium of around 100-150 euros over the plain drives. (The interposer board itself appears to get sold under the model numbers 371595-001 or 60-272-02 on eBay, but I haven’t found a model number for the caddy frame yet.) If you’re buying plain drives, you can check HP’s hard drive model matrix to see what model of drive an HP part number corresponds to. For example, the 3TB SAS drive QK703A is a Seagate Constellation ES.2 ST33000650SS and the 2TB SAS drive AW555A, which we ordered, is a Seagate Constellation ES ST2000NM0001).
I have verified that the firmwares are interchangeable between the AssuredSAN 3000 and the P2000 G3: I downloaded and extracted the TS250R023 from both Dot Hill and HP and both contain a file named TS250R023.bin with an MD5 sum of 7b267cc4178aef53f7d3487e356f8435. I assume that’s the file that can be uploaded through the web interface.
To extract the HP firmware, download the Linux updater (e.g. CP020030.scexe) and use a hex editor to find the offset of the line break after the end of the shell script at the beginning, then use dd to skip the plain text: dd if=CP020030.scexe bs=1 skip=8602 of=scexe_tmp24664.tar.gz. Now you can tar zxf scexe_tmp24664.tar.gz and pull out the TS250R023.bin.
To extract the TS250R023.bin, simply tar xf TS250R023.bin. If you want to poke around the root filesystem of the Management Controller, unsquashfs mc/components/app.squashfs. You may need to compile squashfs-tools yourself to get LZMA support (edit squashfs-tools/Makefile, set LZMA_SUPPORT=1 or LZMA_XZ_SUPPORT=1 and apt-get install liblzma-dev zlib1g-dev liblz-dev).
Setup and configuration
After unpacking the device, I first updated the firmware to the most recent version available from HP. Before you do that (I used the Windows utility), make sure to set static IP addresses or DHCP static mappings (otherwise the update might fail due to changing addresses). After you set the password for the manage user, you’ll need to SSH into the device to change the password on a hidden admin account about which HP issued a security advisory back in December 2010 (but still hasn’t fixed it in the firmware).
I created a RAID5 out of 4x 2TB drives and dedicated a fifth one as a global spare. In the global disk settings, I enabled spindown so the spare would not be running unnecessarily. The RAID initialization took close to two days, but as that runs in the background, you can already start using it.
Then I created a couple volumes (setting the default mapping to not mapped) and mapped two of them to our Mac mini server (on the Thunderlink) and a third to our two VMWare ESXi servers (on Qlogic QLE2460 HBAs). This was much easier to do than on our old Xserve RAID and I love that I can start out with smaller volumes (sized appropriately that they’ll last for the next year) and expand them later on. The P2000 does not do thin provisioning, but you can’t really expect that at this price point.