I have a ML350 G5 that I'm thinking of repurposing to save money. I'm looking to install FreeNAS but it (ZFS) doesn't play nice with the HP e200i card that's part of the motherboard from what I've read. I'd like to buy a good, used pcie x4 / x8 RAID card for cheap and connect it directly to the backplane, allowing me to continue using the LFF cage for my drives.
The backplane appears to use 2ea 4 lane SAS cables with sff-8484 connectors on both ends - can I disconnect one and using a breakout cable, reroute to my add-in RAID card? In my mind, that would allow me to electrically split the cage in half - 3 drives using the e200i, 3 drives using the new card.
I have no idea how much logic is part of a RAID backplane or a HP backplane. I don't know if it's a "dumb" component that only makes an electrical connection from the HD to the RAID controller or if it's "smart", performing logic functions that basically makes it proprietary compatible.