SUMMARY: survey: disk arrays and locator lights

From: Anthony D'Atri <>
Date: Wed Jul 28 2010 - 17:19:18 EDT
A while back I wrote the below.  I've delayed this summary because many of the
responses I got back didn't really answer the questions.  Several respondents
agreed that the Sun x4??? arrays are very nice, and there was one lead on
being able to buy them used with new disks, as a way of side-stepping Sun's
truly ludicrous pricing.

Not much was said about locator lights or monitoring, though one respondent
did mention that with the Sun arrays, using cfgadm unconfigure results in a
blue light going on indicating that it's safe to remove the given disk.  It's
not clear if this can work for third-party arrays.

All told I'm disappointed that in 2010 we don't have smoother and more
universal ways of locating disks.  When a disk dies on a remote host and I
need a tech to swap it out, correct identification is of course crucial.

I'm currently spec'ing out an x4270m2, and am dumbfounded that Sun's
configurator only shows the SAS RAID HBA as an option, and not the non-RAID
SAS HBA.  The latter is far preferable in that the disks are presented as-is
to the OS, defect lists and serials and all, without having to wrap each in a
silly single-disk volume via the inaccessible BIOS interface, or the
questionably-supported arcconf.

> I'd like to solicit reports for what folks are using for external disk
> We've used Infortrend RAID units set up effectively as JBOD:  one virtual
> per physical disk, mapped to a LUN.  The serial console is awkward, though,
> is the process for replacing a disk.  On the plus side, the serial console
> lets one see disk serials and flash locator lights, but Solaris can't see
> models and serials.
> We've also used Xtore (AIC) SAS JBOD's, which are nice in that there   isn't
> RAID layer to contend with and pay for, but I don't have a way to flash
> locator lights so that remote hands can yank a failed disk with certainty.
> The wacky persistent mapping that the LSI SAS HBA does really confounds
> -- pull disk #8, replace it with another, and suddenly it shows up to the
> as, say, #25.
> Sun's J4000 arrays appeal in that they seem to work with something called
> which can flash locator lights and perhaps show which serial is in which
> Sun's pricing, despite their claims of breakthrough cost, is easily 3x what
> other arrays readily go for, and if we buy an array not fully populated, we
> don't get (Marlin?) brackets for expansion into the the empty slots, so we
> effectively have to buy all the disk from Sun, eg. at $1600 for a 2TB SATA,
> which is ludicrous.
> We're not interested in arrays that do their own RAID of any sort -- we
> JBOD units that we can build ZFS volumes with as we need to.
> So, I'd like to know what arrays folks are using, and how you're identifying
> tracking failed disks for swapping.  I'll summarize of course.  Thanks!
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Received on Wed Jul 28 17:20:39 2010

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