Tag Archives: NAS

Dell LSI SAS2008 2TB drive fix

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:

ENHANCEMENTS:
– 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!

sas2flsh -listall

#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!!!

These 4 drives were only being reported as 2TB before

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

Update 3/7/2020

I had some issues with my 4tb+ drives dropping out of my zpools. I found better firmware to flash in order to fix it. It was very frustrating to flash, however. I tried following the instructions as laid out here but I was met with this lovely message:

"Cannot Flash IT Firmware over IR Firmware"..

I found this guide on how to use the megarec utility to wipe the firmware in order to flash over properly. I was able to find the megarec utility here.

I very frustratingly found I couldn’t use the megarec utility on my Dell server; megarec would simply hang

I ended up taking the card out and putting it into my desktop to run megarec commands. Comically, my desktop had a chipset that caused sas2flash not to work!! It would fail with the message

Failed to initialize PAL

Instructions per this page were to boot to EFI and run the flash utilities there, but that desktop didn’t have an EFI shell and I couldn’t get it to boot one from USB.

My final resort: an even older desktop (my Dad’s old PC, circa 2008.) It did the deed!

FINALLY

With both utilities working I was still having trouble with sas2flash erroring out on me. I finally found the wise words from fourlynx on this homelab reddit discussion on the final song and dance I had to perform to get my Dell H200 card to work with the LSI firmware I wanted

  1. Flash to Dell 6GBPSAS.FW
    1. I used megarec to wipe the card first before it would let me install that firmware
  2. Erase the card
    1. sas2flsh -o -e 7 -c 0
  3. Flash to 6GBPSAS.FW again
    1. sas2flsh -o -f 6GBPSAS.FW
    2. If asked me to state a firmware, I entered 6GBPSAS.FW, waited for it to finish, then ran the sas2flsh command (flashed a total of 3 times the same firmware.)
  4. Reboot
  5. Finally flash LSI firmware
    1. sas2flsh -o -f 2118it.bin

No need to flash BIOS (-b flag) if not going to boot from that controller. Also no need to set SAS address if it’s the only card in the server.

Words of wisdom from fourlynx:

For what concerns your case, I’d try to flash it to the Dell firmware first (any of your choice, for H200I, H200A or with the 6GBPSAS.fw). From there, clear it completely sas2flsh -o -e 7 -c 0 and flash the 6GBPSAS.fw before rebooting. You should now have better luck in crossflashing that to the LSI firmware. Note that you’ll need to use the v5 or v7 version of the flasher to do this step as newer versions will refuse to crossflash. You can then flash the bootloader for EFI (x64sas2.rom) or for BIOS (mptsas2.rom) at your leisure according to what you’re going to use, or flash both, or none if you’re not going to boot from those drives at all but instead use an USB key.

megarec -cleanflash 0 is equivalent to sas2flsh -o -e 7, btw, and the megarec -writesbr sbrempty.bin command that is often found in guides is only relevant when coming from a M1015 afaik, so not being able to use megarec is not a show stopper.

I feel I should add that, contrary to what seems the popular opinion in the various guides, these cards aren’t really easy to brick and I haven’t managed to achieve that despite all the experiments I’ve subjected them to 🙂

Update 3/8/2020

I still had issues with a drive popping out of the array so I found this page with an even better firmware for my card:

https://www.ixsystems.com/community/threads/crossflash-dell-h200e-to-lsi-9200-8e.41307/

Things seem more stable now!

Using ProxMox as a NAS

Lately I’ve been very unhappy with latest FreeBSD causing reboots randomly during disk resilvering. I simply cannot tolerate random reboots of my fileserver. This fact combined with the migration of OpenZFS to the ZFS on Linux code base means it’s time for me to move from a FreeBSD based ZFS NAS to a Linux-based one.

Sadly there aren’t many options in this space yet. I wanted something where basic tasks were taken care of, like what FreeNAS does, but also supports ZFS. The solution I settled on was ProxMox, which is a hypervisor, but it also has ZFS support.

The biggest drawback of ProxMox vs FreeNAS is the GUI. There are some disk-related GUI options in ProxMox, but mostly it’s VM focused. Thus, I had to configure my required services via CLI.

Following are the settings I used when I configured my NAS to run ProxMox.

Repo setup

If you don’t want to pay for a proxmox license, change the PVE enterprise repository to the free version by modifying /etc/apt/sources.list.d/pve-enterprise.list to the following:

deb http://download.proxmox.com/debian/pve buster pve-no-subscription

Then run at apt update & apt upgrade.

Email alerts

Postfix configuration

Edit /etc/postfix/main.cf and tweak your mail server config as needed (relayhost). Restart postfix after editing:

systemctl restart postfix

Forward mail for root to your own email

Edit /etc/aliases and add an alias for root to forward to your desired e-mail address. Add this line:

root: YOUR_EMAIL_ADDRESS

Afterward run:

newaliases

ZFS configuration

Pool Import

Import the pool using the zpool import -f command (-f to force import despite having been active in a different system)

zpool import -f  

By default they’re imported into the main root directory (/). If you want to have them go to /mnt, use the zfs set mountpoint command:

zfs set mountpoint=/mnt/ 

Monitoring

Install and configure zfs-zed

apt install zfs-zed

Modify /etc/zfs/zed.d/zed.rc and uncomment ZED_EMAIL_ADDR, ZED_EMAIL_PROG, and ZED_EMAIL_OPTS. Edit them to suit your needs (default values work fine, they just need to be uncommented.) Optionally uncomment ZED_NOTIFY_VERBOSE and change to 1 if you want more verbose notices like what FreeNAS does (scrub notifications, for example.)

After modifying /etc/zfs/zed.d/zed.rc, restart zed:

systemctl restart zfs-zed

Scrubbing

By default ProxMox scrubs each of your datasets on the second Sunday of every month. This cron job is located in /etc/cron.d/zfsutils-linux. Modify to your liking.

Snapshot & Replication

There are many different snapshot & replication scripts out there. I landed on Sanoid. Thanks to SvennD for helping me grasp how to get it working.

Install sanoid :

#Install necessary packages
apt install debhelper libcapture-tiny-perl libconfig-inifiles-perl pv lzop mbuffer git
# Clone repo, build deb, install
git clone https://github.com/jimsalterjrs/sanoid.git cd sanoid
ln -s packages/debian . 
dpkg-buildpackage -uc -us 
apt install ../sanoid_*_all.deb 

Snapshots

Edit /etc/sanoid/sanoid.conf with a backup and retention schedule for each of your datasets. Example taken from sanoid documentation:

[data/home]
	use_template = production
[data/images]
	use_template = production
	recursive = yes
	process_children_only = yes
[data/images/win7]
	hourly = 4

#############################
# templates below this line #
#############################

[template_production]
        frequently = 0
        hourly = 36
        daily = 30
        monthly = 3
        yearly = 0
        autosnap = yes
        autoprune = yes

Once sanoid.conf is to your liking, create a cron job to launch sanoid every hour (sanoid determines whether any action is needed when executed.)

crontab -e
#Add this line, save and exit
0 * * * * /usr/sbin/sanoid --cron

Replication

syncoid (part of sanoid) easily replicates snapshots. The syntax is pretty straightforward:

syncoid <source> <destination> -r 
#-r means recursive and is optional

For remote locations specify a username@ before the ip/hostname, then a colon and the dataset name, for example:

syncoid root@10.0.0.1:sourceDataset localDataset -r

You can even have a remote source go to a different remote destination, which is pretty neat.

Other syncoid options of interest:

--debug  #for seeing everything happening, useful for logging
--exclude #Regular expression to exclude certain datasets
--src-bwlimit #Set an upload limit so you don't saturate your bandwidth
--quiet #don't output anything unless it's an error

Automate synchronization by placing the same syncoid command into a cronjob:

0 */4 * * * /usr/sbin/syncoid --exclude=bigdataset1 --source-bwlimit=1M --recursive pool/data root@192.168.1.100:pool/data
#if you don't want status emails when the cron job runs, add --quiet

NFS

Install the nfs-kernel-server package and specify your NFS exports in /etc/exports.

apt install nfs-kernel-server portmap

Example /etc/exports :

/mnt/example/DIR1 192.168.0.0/16(rw,sync,all_squash,anonuid=0,anongid=0)

Restart nfs-server after modifying your exports:

systemctl restart nfs-server

Samba

Install samba, configure /etc/samba/smb.conf, and add users.

apt install samba
systemctl enable smbd

/etc/samba/smb.conf syntax is fairly straightforward. See the samba documentation for more information. Example share configuration:

[exampleshare]
comment = Example share
path = /mnt/example
valid users = user1 user2
writable = yes

Add users to the system itself with the adduser command:

adduser user1

Add those same users to samba with the smbpasswd -a command. Example:

smbpasswd -a user1

Restart samba after making changes:

systemctl restart smbd

SMART monitoring

Taken from https://pve.proxmox.com/wiki/Disk_Health_Monitoring:

By default, smartmontools daemon smartd is active and enabled, and scans the disks under /dev/sdX and /dev/hdX every 30 minutes for errors and warnings, and sends an e-mail to root if it detects a problem. 

Edit the file /etc/smartd.conf to suit your needs. You can specify/exclude devices, smart attributes, etc there. See here for more information. Restart the smartd service after modifying.

UPS monitoring

apc-upsd was easiest for me to configure, so I went with it. Thanks to this blog for giving me the information to get started.

First, install apcupsd:

apt install apcupsd apcupsd-doc

As soon as it was installed my console kept getting spammed about IRQ issues. To stop these errors I stopped the apcupsd daemon:

 systemctl stop apcupsd

Now modify /etc/apcupsd/apcupssd.conf to suit your needs. The section I added for my CyberPower OR2200LCDRT2U was simply:

UPSTYPE usb
DEVICE

Then modify /etc/default/apcupsd to specify it’s configured:

#/etc/default/apcupsd
ISCONFIGURED=yes

After configuring, you can restart the apcupsd service

systemctl start apcupsd

To check the status of your UPS, you can run the apcaccess status command:

/sbin/apcaccess status

Log monitoring

Install Logwatch to monitor system events. Here is a good primer on all of Logwatch’s options.

apt install logwatch

Modify /usr/share/logwatch/default.conf/logwatch.conf to suit your needs. By default it runs daily (defined in /etc/cron.daily/00logwatch). I added the following lines for my config to filter out unwanted information:

Service = "-zz-disk_space"
Service = "-postfix"
Service = "vsmartd"
Service = "-zz-lm_sensors"

Manually run logwatch to get a preview of what you’ll see:

logwatch --range today --mailto YOUR_EMAIL_ADDRESS

Troubleshooting

ZFS-ZED not sending email

If ZED isn’t sending emails it’s likely due to an error in the config. For some reason default values still need to be uncommented for zed to work, even if left unaltered. Thanks to this post for the info.

Samba share access denied

If you get access denied when trying to write to a SMB share, double check the file permissions on the server level. Execute chmod / chown as appropriate. Example:

chown user1 -R /mnt/example/user1