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I have a few HP ProLiant DL360e Gen8 servers that are equipped with the Dynamic Smart Array B320i RAID controller.

One particular system was shipped with a single disk installed instead of a pair of drives needed for a RAID 1 mirror. I asked for another drive, but went ahead with the OS installation as RAID 0, intending to add the second disk later.

When it arrived, I went through the normal HP array expansion (transformation) process using the HP Smart Storage Administrator. Oddly, there were no actual options to add the additional drive to the existing array in the GUI.

So I took a look at the CLI options.

Current array config snippet (full configuration here):

=> ctrl all show config

Dynamic Smart Array B320i RAID in Slot 0 (Embedded)

   Internal Drive Cage at Port 1I, Box 1, OK

   Internal Drive Cage at Port 2I, Box 0, OK
   array A (SAS, Unused Space: 212343  MB)

      logicaldrive 1 (72.0 GB, RAID 0, OK)

      physicaldrive 1I:1:1 (port 1I:box 1:bay 1, SAS, 300 GB, OK)

   unassigned

      physicaldrive 1I:1:2 (port 1I:box 1:bay 2, SAS, 300 GB, OK)

Using the command line hpssacli tool to initiate the transformation yielded an error:

# hpssacli controller slot=0 array A add drives=allunassigned

Error: This operation is not supported with the current configuration. Use the 
       "show" command on devices to show additional details about the
       configuration.
Reason: Transformation size zero. This may indicate that 
       there is no battery or a failed battery on the controller.

A quick check of the B320i controller's specifications show:

Provides increased server uptime by providing advanced storage functionality:
- Online RAID level migration (between any RAID level/with FBWC ) 
- Online drive firmware upgrade
- Pre-Failure Warranty

It would seem that the Smart Array B320i should be capable of a RAID level migration, provided an FBWC unit is present. The controller in question has a healthy 512MB FBWC unit and SAS license key installed.

However, this brief note buried deep within the HP website says:

The user has a B320i, with the 512MB cache module and SAS license installed. Additional drives have been added to the server and user wishes to expand the array, then extend the logical drive. When looking through the Array Configuration Utility (ACU) there is no option to do this.

B series Smart Array Controllers do not allow for this functionality. This option is available on most P series Smart Array Controllers. If the user wishes to upgrade to the P series Smart Array, instructions for performing this action are included in [the documentation]

So, while I can accept that there may be incorrect (misleading) language in the product literature, what can I actually do about this?

I appear to be stuck with a RAID controller that has no ability to modify its physical or logical drive configuration. Is there any other option for this system other than a full reformat, array reconfiguration and rebuild?

Any other thoughts?

  • Anyway to dump/restore to a properly initialized physical raid-set and then do an export/import process and move the disks to the target system? – mdpc Mar 17 '15 at 3:17
  • @mdpc I don't have another or spare set of disks to work with. This is a pretty routine operation that one would expect to function properly. – ewwhite Mar 17 '15 at 12:10
  • Battery uncharged or defect by any chance? – Striker_84 Mar 17 '15 at 12:14
  • @Striker_84 It's a Capacitor-backed flash setup. Yes, it's healthy. – ewwhite Mar 17 '15 at 12:26
  • firmware / software version most recent? e.g. controller firmware should be 15.10.07.00 and hp smart storage software 2.0.23.0. – Striker_84 Mar 17 '15 at 12:45
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This just doesn't work.

I'll accept that the documentation which influenced the decision to buy this solution was flawed and that the HP Smart Array B320i RAID controller is not capable of logical drive expansion, migration or modification.

It's a shame.

In this specific case, I had to rebuild the server in order to add a new disk to the array set.

  • 1
    That's horrible........ – Citizen Mar 25 '15 at 21:06

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