I just recently got a $40 external SAS adapter for my new storage server. The plan was to create a DAS device from my old NAS chassis and have it be driven by my new storage server (new to me anyway – a Dell PowerEdge R610.) I ordered what was listed simply as “Dell SAS External Dual Ports PCI-E 6GB/S Host Bus Server Adapter 12DNW 342-0910 Consumer Electronics” from Amazon for $40 to accomplish this goal.
When I plugged everything in, to my dismay none of my disks with greater than 2TB capacity showed up. Well, they sort of showed up – they all reported capacities of exactly 2TB. I was clearly running into some sort of firmware issue.
lspci revealed this card uses the LSI SAS2008 chipset, which from what I’ve read is capable of drives greater than 2TB in size. I later found the model number of my card – Dell PERC H200E – which proved to be quite vital information. After hours of digging around in unholy corners of the internet I finally arrived on this Dell Support page. It had exactly what I was hoping for:
– Added support for SAS HDDs larger than 2TB
To flash this I chose to create a bootable dos ISO as per the instructions here. First, download the Windows installer, open with your archive program of choice and extract to the folder you’re going to build your ISO from. Then follow the instructions linked to above of downloading a freeDOS ISO, extracting it to the same folder you extracted the firmware to, then running the command to build your ISO (adjust as needed)
mkisofs -o <ISO_OUTPUT_LOCATION -q -l -N -boot-info-table -iso-level 4 -no-emul-boot -b isolinux/isolinux.bin -publisher "FreeDOS - www.freedos.org" -A "FreeDOS beta9 Distribution" -V FDOS_BETA9 -v .
I got so far and yet tripped at the finish line. If you simply run flash.bat you’ll be greeted with a message saying no compatible adapters were found. Fortunately that’s a LIE. My savior was this writeup on how to flash certain versions of these cards to IT mode. I didn’t care about IT mode (my card is not a RAID card) but it had the information I needed. Here are the magic commands!
#Use the number in the first column to get the SAS Address for the card. sas2flsh -c 0 -list
#Write down the SAS Address and continue to the next steps. sas2flsh -o -f 6GBPSAS.FW sas2flsh -o -sasadd 5xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (replace this address with the one you wrote down in the first steps).
Reboot, and finally, after hours of banging my head on the wall… success!!!
I didn’t end up using it but in my internet travels I came across this. Broadcom offers a neat utility called the LSI pre-boot USB tool that I didn’t end up using: https://www.broadcom.com/support/knowledgebase/1211161499804/lsi-pre-boot-usb-tool-download