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I'm planning on assembling a server, and I'm just wondering if a SAS expander by IBM (such as this one) would allow me to use the RAID and other features (Battery-backed write-back caching) of a SAS controller such as the HP Smart Array P400.

Does anyone have experience with this? Should it work in theory?

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The HP SAS expander is quite popular in the world of ZFS storage solutions and also comes standard on certain HP ProLiant SKUs. I'd recommend finding one on eBay and updating the firmware. You can use these with different controllers. In the case of using one with a Smart Array P400, you will need the appropriate cables (it uses SFF-8087 ports), but the controller's features are still available. Your BBWC and RAID functionality will work as long as you're within the capacity limits of the main controller.

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I simply ordered the IBM expander and it works perfectly with the HP Smarty Array P400. The only thing required was a cable connecting the wide SFF-8484 SAS connector on the P400 to the SFF-8087 SAS connector on the IBM board.

Although it has fewer output ports (8) than the HP SAS expander, it served our purposes well, since our 2U server could only hold 12 hard disks.

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