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Building a 24+ Xpenology unit ... Please help

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Before I begin, Thank You to the Xpenology team and I am grateful to the knowledgeable forum members who have shared info freely.

 

I am in the process of building a 24-Unit NAS box. I have the box working on FreeNAS, but I have also playing with Xpenolgoy. I love the DSM UI and would love to switch. I have been playing with the build and I can get it working for 12HdDDs or less but cannot get DSM to recognize 13 thru 24 HDDs.

 

Sorry for the long post but wanted to document my efforts. If we can solve this maybe others may find it useful.

 

Since I am coming from a FreeNAS build, my hardware will be overkill for this build, but I already have the gear so what the heck :lol: Here you go --- Supermicro mobo LGA2011, Xenon E5-1xxx CPU, ECC memory (crazy to count), LSI 9305-24i HBA, Norco-4424 case with backplane connected to controller via 6-SAS cables (4 HDDs/backplane/cable = 6x4HDDs = 24), 16x 4TB NAS drives to start and will add 8x later to complete the build.

 

Based on a post from back in 2014 by Stanza, I build the following:

 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 BLOCK COUNT

0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 TEMPLATE (options for 48 slots)

 

0000 1111 1111 1100 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 0000 USB (interal headers/regular + back panel)

0000 0000 0000 0011 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 HDD (10 on mobo + 24 drives through LSI-9305-24i)

 

Number of ports:

 

0x eSATA

10x USB (internal headers + ports)

10x SATA ports on motherboard

24x Narco 4224 backplane (controller LSI9305-24i (HBA only NOT a RAID card)

 

NOTE: LSI9305-24i HBA controller connected backplanes via 6-SAS cables (4HDDs/backplane/cable)

 

Thanks to a great post from STANZA going back to 04/Jan/2014 I worked out the following:

 

. maxdisks="44" (total ports needed, includes USB)

. internalportcfg="0x3ffffffff" (34 ports)

. esataportcfg="0x0" (0 esata ports)

. usbportcfg="0xffc" (10 internal headers + ports)

 

I edited both these files and modified the data:

. /etc/synoinfo.conf

. /etc.defaults/synoinfo.conf

 

:sad: Observations/Questions :eek:

 

Q1. Slots 1 - 10 are showing empty; just as it should as the ports are not connected to anything. Also, GUI shows the correct number of slots. Anything else I should be looking for here?

 

Q2. HDDs are present in the first 4 slots of the NORCO-4224 and are connected to the LSI controller via SAS cable controlling drives 0-3. In slots 11 & 12 GUI shows there HDDs present. But in slots 13 & 14 GUI shows empty. Given hard drives in slots 13 & 14 (of the GUI should show as populated). What is the problem? What am I missed? Are there additional files I need to modifiy I am missing?

 

Q3. Every time I tried to reboot, the data gets reset to factory setting. Upon reboot, I am presented with reinstall software option. That wipes out my mods? Is this correct? Anyway I can make a back-up of the files and load them before boot-up?

 

Hope someone can help me in solving the issues. I really love the software/GUI and would love to use Xpenology+BtrFS , if at all possible :smile:

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I won't be able to confirm the portcfg values but I will try to answer your questions:

 

1) USing an LSI card, HDDs are not enumerated in order of slot but in order of spinup and detection, if you look at fdisk -l in the console you'll see that your drives are probably not starting with SD(A) as you would expect. This is a function of the LSI cards and is only fixed using a rackmount bootloader that supports SAS cards; presently there isn't one!

 

2) See above, except that the DS3615xs only supports 12 HDDs connected without the expander. This means on an initial install, it will not be able to detect more than 12 drives, and drives enumared above SDm may not show.

 

3) Is this after editing the config or just after installing? What people ahve to do normally is install DSM on to say a single disk in slot 1, edit the config files that have been installed to pick up the portcfg values, reset and then slide your drives in to the machine... If you run all drives before install then it gets confused as it has more drives than its programmed for and doesn't know what is happening; once installed and edited it will survive reboots but only until you update... Once you update, you generally have to do the same thing again.

 

Now, for item 3 you might be able to get around it by downloading the correct PAT file first, unpacking the synoinfo.cfg file and editing the values, re-injecting in to the PAT and then use this modified pat to update manually, that should keep your config assuming that there are no checksums done on the PAT file before installation.

 

Hope this helps a wee bit.

 

Chris

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Thanks you Chris! Appreciate your response. Please see my comments below.

 

I won't be able to confirm the portcfg values but I will try to answer your questions:

I think this is correct. Hopefully someone else can confirm my data masking skills. It has been a long time since my BS in Info Systems and my coding skills are quite rusty :smile:

 

1) USing an LSI card, HDDs are not enumerated in order of slot but in order of spinup and detection, if you look at fdisk -l in the console you'll see that your drives are probably not starting with SD(A) as you would expect. This is a function of the LSI cards and is only fixed using a rackmount bootloader that supports SAS cards; presently there isn't one!

Now this is crazy! I did not know this about LSI cards. The back plane I have has mini SAS ports and I have to use a SAS HBA controller card. Is there a brand or model that would hold the port numbers constant? Meaning will it force 1 thru 24 via a miniSAS connector?

 

2) See above, except that the DS3615xs only supports 12 HDDs connected without the expander. This means on an initial install, it will not be able to detect more than 12 drives, and drives enumared above SDm may not show.

You are correct. Since Synology does not make a 24x model, I have to MOD the code to accept the card. Hence my HEX translation etc. Other alternative, while not at all attractive, is to possibly build a couple of 12Bay machines and just run DS34xx code with no MODS. This I will have to evaluate. I have FreeNAS running now, but struggling with the FreeBSD learning curve.

 

3) Is this after editing the config or just after installing? What people ahve to do normally is install DSM on to say a single disk in slot 1, edit the config files that have been installed to pick up the portcfg values, reset and then slide your drives in to the machine... If you run all drives before install then it gets confused as it has more drives than its programmed for and doesn't know what is happening; once installed and edited it will survive reboots but only until you update... Once you update, you generally have to do the same thing again.

This is just after install. Looks like that is the expected behavior.

 

Now, for item 3 you might be able to get around it by downloading the correct PAT file first, unpacking the synoinfo.cfg file and editing the values, re-injecting in to the PAT and then use this modified pat to update manually, that should keep your config assuming that there are no checksums done on the PAT file before installation.

I can always extract the .conf file and mod and then add back. Will need to test this theory though. I am sure there is some hash check prior to install. If the hash count changes with the mods I will be making, then the boot process maybe struggling. Maybe some has already tried this and I can get them to comment?

Hope this helps a wee bit.

This is very helpful. Thank you again! Looks like we are thinking along the same lines. No easy solution. Wish Synology will release a 24bay unit and make our lives a bit easier. :smile:

 

Chris

 

EDITED to add comments.

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For the LSI, its just the way they work. Anything based on the broadcom chipsets do this; i.e. anything that can be crossflashed to an LSI card. I know that the Adaptec 1000-8i/16i will do drive enumeration (there is a post discussing LSI cards from me where this is posted by a user, search for threads started by me to confirm) but in the same post the person said that they didn't have SMART monitoring up! You could also run a SATA based controller through the backplane instead of a SAS one and that would work too fine out of the box.

 

FreeNAS also suffers from the same problem with drive numbering if you use LSI cards.

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Thanks Chris. I will look for the Adaptec 1000-8i and see if I can source a couple. Maybe that is the way to skin the cat. I did load the disks one at a time so that the load was sequential. Glad I did that!

 

So cross flashing the Adaptec firmware will not do the trick then.

 

Going the Adaptec route, I can get breakout cables and will need to wire them sequentially, right?

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You can, but I believe the adaptec will do port numbering correctly via mini-sas cables fine and will link port to cable if you have iPASS cables with the SGPIO connection.

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Update: now the system is up and running with 8 disks :mrgreen:

 

I am running this system on a supermicro LGA-2011v3. board, that has 10 Sata ports. Initially I was trying to keep the ports functioning while I wanted to control my array via the LSI 9305-24i. Having tried for a week off/on and being unsuccessful, I changed tactics and disabled all my SATA ports by disabling the two on board controllers.

 

Reboot, make the mods as suggested in the forums and Voila! The system came back up correctly. No challenges with the USB ports or location of the drives.

 

Since DSM lists the disk serial numbers and you can determine the location of the failing disk, when the time comes , as I am sure it will at some future date.

 

DSM is an amazing and user friendly interface. This buys me time for to learn Linux and maybe I will still switch to FreeNAS simply for the FS. But given DSM supports BTrFS, will wait and see how that progresses.

 

Thanks again, Chris, for the schooling on the controller behavior. That started me thinking about disabling the onboard controller!

 

Now will have to monitor The forums and determine the right time to migrate to DSM 6.0.

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I have been running this system with 8 drives and added 4 more. The system, was operating normally, the new drives were immediately recognized and started functioning normally.

 

Now trying to additional 4 drives and I am having problems! One seated, the drives are powering up and running. But Xpenology, is not seeing them!

 

I have checked on the config files and the MaxDrive var is set to 24 disks.

 

I have power cycled the unit after installing them and that has made no difference.

 

The same hardware as I started before. LSI controller card that can handle 24 drives. Maybe I need to get a different controller card? This does not name sense to me. Since I thought the card can handle full set of 24 dirves. I am lost at this moment.

 

Thank you in advance for your ideas.

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