NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2 - OS2

This is a discussion on NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2 - OS2 ; Ok Guys, my international order for a NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 hardware SATA RAID card finally arrived yesterday and I have been playing with it since. It took longer than I would have liked for it to be shipped but once ...

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Thread: NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

  1. NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

    Ok Guys, my international order for a NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 hardware
    SATA RAID card finally arrived yesterday and I have been playing with it
    since. It took longer than I would have liked for it to be shipped but
    once FedEx got hold of it on Thursday, it was here on Monday afternoon.
    Came in a standard brown cardboard box filled with polystyrene worms and
    containing a slightly smaller plain white box which contained another
    brown cardboard box. Feeling slightly like I was in a game of Russian
    dolls I opened that half expecting to find another box ;-) Inside was a
    CD containing a Windows installer which I have not used, an antistatic
    bag with the PCI card inside and a plastic bag containing 5 SATA cables
    which I thought was a nice touch. There was also a bunch of paperwork
    related to the purchase and shipping and one more that contained a dire
    warning about using the card with arrays > 137GB on Windows and
    directing me to an MS download. Since this card was destined for an OS/2
    only machine, this all went in the bin.

    Card looks well made. Has a small flash chip on it with a sticker
    telling me that it has BIOS level 1.2.4.1 (?) and when installed its
    banner tells me the same thing. I check the Netcell website and find
    that the most recent is 1.4.0.5. I download that, follow the
    instructions to create a diskette and flash it from DOS. Flash procedure
    is quite straight forward and very informative about its progress -
    which is nice because it takes a while, a minute or two I'd guess. Now
    it shows 1.4.0.5 when it boots.

    I have 5 Seagate 160GB SATA drives, ST3160023AS, that I bought over the
    weekend. First I install 3 of them and reboot and it tells me that it
    has found 3 drives and suggests configuring them as a single RAID XL
    array of 305,000KB. I tell it not to and then go through the BIOS setup
    and configure it exactly how it suggested that I did - mainly because
    with 3 drives it only gives me one option if I want it to use all 3
    drives though I could have told it to use 2 drives as RAID 0 or 1 and
    the other as JBOD. The card only seems to support 2 arrays at a time
    though so if I'd have done that weird setup it would have been 'full'.
    At this point I tried to boot OS/2 with DANIS506.ADD 1.7.0 and it failed
    to find the controller at all. So I wrote to Dani and then went shopping
    for a couple of 5.25" -> 3.5" drive adapters so I could install the
    remaining 2 drives. When I had those in hand, I installed the remaining
    two drives and cabled them up, went into the Netcell BIOS and deleted
    the 3 disk array and defined a single 5 drive array which it reports as
    610,400KB. Same comments apply - with 5 drives, you only get the one
    choice if you tell it to create an array with all 5. I could also have
    done a 3 drive RAID XL array of 305,000KB and a RAID 0 or 1 setup with
    the remaining two.

    While I was waiting for a reply from Dani, I played around with a few
    switches to Danis506 and got it to list the controller in the summary by
    using /P:9000 /IRQ:10 but only as PIO4. The boot then ground to a
    complete halt and I assumed that this was down to the RAID array -
    probably wrongly as it turned out.

    Dani sent me copy of 1.7.0b that I installed and this now recognises
    the Netcell controller and reports

    Unit:0 Status:OK SMS:16 LBA BusMaster UltraDMA7/PIO4 BIOS
    Model:NetCell SyncRAID(TM) SR5000 XL-5

    but weirdly, the 250GB SATA drive that I have installed on the
    motherboard SATA port reported itself as MwordDMA2/PIO4. The boot froze
    shortly after that... except that more experimentation showed it just to
    be glacially slow and leaving it alone for 2 hours allowed it to boot to
    the WPS. I found that if I installed a PCI SATA card based on the same
    chipset (SiL3112) as the onboard chipset and installed the 250GB drive
    on that, it allowed me to bypass the slowness problem and correspondence
    today with Dani has got me another copy of danis506.add 1.7.0b that
    works with the motherboard version too. I suspect that it may well have
    been possible to make stock 1.7.0 work with the add-on SATA controller
    but maybe not.

    I still have a few problems that I need to go through and sort out but
    the card itself seems to be working just fine.

    Outstanding probems:
    I tried to run diskio on the RAID array to see what sort of speed I was
    getting. Got me a TRAP 000D in OS2DASD instead. When I get to a
    convenient point I'll recreate this and post the TRAP to c.o.o.bugs. I
    can run a similar utility that I wrote and this tells me that I'm
    getting close to 100MB/sec when reading from the start of the array. The
    card is installed in a 32bit, 33MHz PCI slot so that may be the limiting
    factor.

    LVM seems to be doing something weird. It allows me to create an
    extended partition on the drive that occupies all 610,400KB. I can
    format it with JFS. I shutdown and restart and the drive is missing. Go
    into LVM again and it's siiting there, defined, with a drive letter
    assigned to it but not 'committed' or whatever it is that makes LVM
    place the drive letter just to the left of where it normally resides.
    Use F3 to quit and tell it to save the changes that I didn't make and
    the drive then appears to OS/2. I then run chkdsk against it and it's
    usable again. Actually it's usuable before running chkdsk but I notice
    that running `df -h` does not list drive I: until I run chkdsk but it is
    visible to everything else that I've tried. Reboot and it all needs to
    be done again. Go into lvm, F3 and save it and it's OK, otherwise it's
    just not there. Doesn't affect the data that's on the drive, just a
    nuisance. Because of this problem I have had to specify
    RESERVEDRIVELETTER=K in config.sys or my CD drive gets assigned the I:
    drive letter and then LVM tries to make me reboot if I just save the
    changes

    Err, that's it so far.

    Other comments:
    The card looks nice and has loads of das blinken lights on it - which is
    a bit of a shame since they're all hidden. The side with the lights
    faces the floor of my tower case -and in any case I don't have (or want)
    one of those transparent cases. Seems to have one red LED for card
    activity and 5 green ones, one by each of the SATA ports. There's also a
    3 or 4 pin connector on the card that I'm guessing is for cabling it up
    to your case LED. I haven't used this since the case LED is already in
    use.

    SATA ports connectors seem to be easily dislodged so it's worth checking
    that you haven't knocked one every time you open up the case. It's
    crowded enough in there with 5 extra SATA cables to go with the one that
    was there before and two ordinary 80 pin IDE cables. I certainly
    wouldn't want to be trying to use the PATA 5 port version in my computer
    case.

    I have not tested any of the RAID recovery capabilities of the card and
    I'm not sure I can be bothered to thoguh I suppose I should, just to
    check that it really does work before I need it to work! I did manage to
    make the 3 drive RAID XL array fail by accidently knocking one of the
    cables off and it has options in the BIOS to recover using the same
    drive. I did tell it to do this but it looked like it was going to take
    a very long time and the array was empty so I stopped it, deleted and
    recreated the entire thing instead.

    The restriction of only two arrays that can be defined might be a
    limitation but I suspect that if you're interested in this card at all
    then you'll be looking at the RAID XL capabilities anyway.

    I have also booted SuSE Linux 9.1 and 9.2 from CD on this box and
    neither of those even see the controller, let alone any of the disks
    attached. I have not tried the patches for SuSE 9.1 that Netcell have
    available since that would need me to have a customised kernel and I
    can't be bothered to create a boot CD containing one.

    Thanks go to Dani for doing the work to get the thing working.

    --
    Trevor Hemsley, Brighton, UK.
    Trevor-Hemsley at dsl dot pipex dot com

  2. Re: NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

    On 07 Dec 2004 23:50:35 GMT, Trevor Hemsley
    wrote:

    > Ok Guys, my international order for a NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 hardware
    > SATA RAID card finally arrived yesterday and I have been playing with it
    > since.


    Thanks for a very informative post Trevor. Please keep us informed of
    any progress.

  3. Re: NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

    Hi Trevor,

    On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 23:50:35 UTC, "Trevor Hemsley"
    wrote:

    > I installed the remaining
    > two drives and cabled them up, went into the Netcell BIOS and deleted
    > the 3 disk array and defined a single 5 drive array which it reports as
    > 610,400KB. Same comments apply - with 5 drives, you only get the one
    > choice if you tell it to create an array with all 5. I could also have
    > done a 3 drive RAID XL array of 305,000KB and a RAID 0 or 1 setup with
    > the remaining two.


    I guess your numbers should read as 'MB' rather than 'KB' here :-)

    And you could get 4-drive Raid-5 resulting in 480 GB as well I guess
    ...


    > I still have a few problems that I need to go through and sort out but
    > the card itself seems to be working just fine.
    >
    > Outstanding probems:
    > I tried to run diskio on the RAID array to see what sort of speed I was
    > getting. Got me a TRAP 000D in OS2DASD instead.


    You may have a problem with the OS/2 low-level disk API's, they
    use CHS addressing and are limited to 65535 cylinders ...

    This results in a total disk-size limit of 502 GiB (514072 MiB)

    When I get to a
    > convenient point I'll recreate this and post the TRAP to c.o.o.bugs. I
    > can run a similar utility that I wrote and this tells me that I'm
    > getting close to 100MB/sec when reading from the start of the array. The
    > card is installed in a 32bit, 33MHz PCI slot so that may be the limiting
    > factor.
    >
    > LVM seems to be doing something weird. It allows me to create an
    > extended partition on the drive that occupies all 610,400KB.


    It seems the controller shows the whole array as a single disk then ?

    On most (SCSI) RAID systems I know of, you first define an array by
    combining a number of disks (say 5 :-), and then you can actually
    define 'logical drives' on the array, each of which will show
    up as a separate 'physical disk' to the operating system.

    That way you could define a 610 GB array, with two 'logical drives'
    that are smaller than the 502 GiB OS2 'per disk' limit.

    Perhaps this SATA-RAID does not have that flexibility though ...

    >I can
    > format it with JFS. I shutdown and restart and the drive is missing. Go
    > into LVM again and it's siiting there, defined, with a drive letter
    > assigned to it but not 'committed' or whatever it is that makes LVM
    > place the drive letter just to the left of where it normally resides.
    > Use F3 to quit and tell it to save the changes that I didn't make and
    > the drive then appears to OS/2. I then run chkdsk against it and it's
    > usable again. Actually it's usuable before running chkdsk but I notice
    > that running `df -h` does not list drive I: until I run chkdsk but it is
    > visible to everything else that I've tried. Reboot and it all needs to
    > be done again. Go into lvm, F3 and save it and it's OK, otherwise it's
    > just not there. Doesn't affect the data that's on the drive, just a
    > nuisance. Because of this problem I have had to specify
    > RESERVEDRIVELETTER=K in config.sys or my CD drive gets assigned the I:
    > drive letter and then LVM tries to make me reboot if I just save the
    > changes


    Some of this might be related to the same 502 GiB disk-size limit.

    Some operations will be affected by it, some will not ...

    There might be tools that do not even allow the full 502 GiB since
    they
    use another artificial limit on the number of cylinders (like 32735).

    Regards, JvW

    --
    Jan van Wijk; Author of DFSee: http://www.dfsee.com

  4. Re: NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

    On Wed, 8 Dec 2004 16:12:25 UTC in comp.os.os2.setup.misc, "Jan van
    Wijk" wrote:

    > Hi Trevor,
    >
    > On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 23:50:35 UTC, "Trevor Hemsley"
    > wrote:
    >
    > > I installed the remaining
    > > two drives and cabled them up, went into the Netcell BIOS and deleted
    > > the 3 disk array and defined a single 5 drive array which it reports as
    > > 610,400KB. Same comments apply - with 5 drives, you only get the one
    > > choice if you tell it to create an array with all 5. I could also have
    > > done a 3 drive RAID XL array of 305,000KB and a RAID 0 or 1 setup with
    > > the remaining two.

    >
    > I guess your numbers should read as 'MB' rather than 'KB' here :-)


    Indeed, in other posts I got it right ;-) Just not used to having that
    amount of space available and KB sounded more likely to my tired brain!

    > And you could get 4-drive Raid-5 resulting in 480 GB as well I guess


    It doesn't seem to do RAID 5. It does RAID XL which seems to be a
    proprietary name for RAID 3. They talk about a 4 drive RAID 0 array and
    then using a 5th drive as a dedicated parity drive.

    >
    > > I still have a few problems that I need to go through and sort out but
    > > the card itself seems to be working just fine.
    > >
    > > Outstanding probems:
    > > I tried to run diskio on the RAID array to see what sort of speed I was
    > > getting. Got me a TRAP 000D in OS2DASD instead.

    >
    > You may have a problem with the OS/2 low-level disk API's, they
    > use CHS addressing and are limited to 65535 cylinders ...
    >
    > This results in a total disk-size limit of 502 GiB (514072 MiB)


    I have a very recent version of DANIS506.ADD that reports this drive
    with 38608 cyls, 255 tracks/cyl, 127 sectors/track. I also have all the
    > 512GB fixes on from IBM including a copy of OS2DASD.DMD dated


    12-10-04 1:27p 40554 54 OS2DASD.DMD

    I'm told that my system should have all the IBM fixes on it relating to
    512GB disks.

    Interestingly, I ran sysbench against it expecting that to cause the
    same trap but it didn't. It looks like whatever diskio does that causes
    it is something that I removed from the code or fixed when I ported Kai
    Uwe Rommel's code over for sysbench use. It also does not do it when I
    use my own utility that reads the raw disk in 256KB chunks - but that
    one craps out with an i/o error when it hits 137GB (decimal) which is
    too coincidental to be an accident but not something that I've looked at
    to find out if it's fixable yet. I've never left it running for long
    enough to read 137GB before now!

    [snip]
    > It seems the controller shows the whole array as a single disk then ?
    >
    > On most (SCSI) RAID systems I know of, you first define an array by
    > combining a number of disks (say 5 :-), and then you can actually
    > define 'logical drives' on the array, each of which will show
    > up as a separate 'physical disk' to the operating system.
    >
    > That way you could define a 610 GB array, with two 'logical drives'
    > that are smaller than the 502 GiB OS2 'per disk' limit.
    >
    > Perhaps this SATA-RAID does not have that flexibility though ...


    My MegaRAID Express 500 is this way too I think. You can define multiple
    arrays but each array has to occupy all members of the disks that make
    it up - you can't split a disk in half and have one half in one array
    and the other in another. The Netcell card is quite restrictive in the
    arrays it allows you to define.

    1 disk - JBOD as a single disk
    2 disks - RAID 0 or RAID 1
    3 disks - RAID XL array giving space of 2 disks or split into 2 arrays
    of 1 disk and 2 disks (see above)
    4 disks - RAID 0 array of all 4. They don't mention it in the doc but I
    think you should also be able to set this up as 2 x 2 disk arrays.
    5 disks - RAID XL array giving space of 4 disks. Again unmentioned but I
    suspect you could also set this up as a 2 drive array and a 3 drive
    array.

    I did find mention on their web site last night that it should allow up
    to 4 separate arrays but the space allowed in the BIOS setup to display
    the arrays that are defined only has 2 lines and it doesn't look like it
    would scroll. I suspect that it is limited to 2 arrays and the doc is
    wrong but I can't be bothered to delete the 5 disk array and try other
    combinations.

    Given that the Netcell card is UKŁ125 (€170) for the 5 port SATA
    version, I'm not surprised it doesn't have all the options of more
    expensive RAID cards. I can't think of another way of getting 600GB RAID
    disk space for UKŁ450 (€650).

    [snip stuff about non-sticky drive letter]
    > Some of this might be related to the same 502 GiB disk-size limit.


    This one I now have a bypass for. I've added

    lvm /setnameartition,2,disk_i,disk_i
    chkdsk i: /f /c

    to startup.cmd. The lvm command tells it to rename the partition to the
    same name it had already and this seems to auto-fix the drive letter
    without user intervention which will at least let me boot without being
    present. The chkdsk seems like a good idea since it's skipped the boot
    time 'dirty' check.

    --
    Trevor Hemsley, Brighton, UK.
    Trevor-Hemsley at dsl dot pipex dot com

  5. Re: NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

    Hi Trevor,

    On Wed, 8 Dec 2004 18:19:15 UTC, "Trevor Hemsley" wrote:

    > [snip stuff about non-sticky drive letter]
    > > Some of this might be related to the same 502 GiB disk-size limit.

    >
    > This one I now have a bypass for. I've added
    >
    > lvm /setnameartition,2,disk_i,disk_i
    > chkdsk i: /f /c
    >
    > to startup.cmd. The lvm command tells it to rename the partition to the
    > same name it had already and this seems to auto-fix the drive letter
    > without user intervention which will at least let me boot without being
    > present.


    Interesting.

    This is more evidence for my suspicion that the code in OS2LVM.DMD
    plus OS2DASD.DMD is more critical in finding 'correctly' defined
    LVM partitions that the LVM-engine itself in LVM.DLL as used by
    the LVM.EXE program does ...

    Both handle assigning driveletters to LVM-volumes, but the methods
    in the LVM.EXE seem to be able to succeeed more often ...

    >The chkdsk seems like a good idea since it's skipped the boot
    > time 'dirty' check.


    OK

    Regards, JvW

    --
    Jan van Wijk; Author of DFSee: http://www.dfsee.com

  6. Re: NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

    On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 23:50:35 UTC in comp.os.os2.setup.storage, "Trevor
    Hemsley" wrote:

    > I have not tested any of the RAID recovery capabilities of the card and
    > I'm not sure I can be bothered to thoguh I suppose I should, just to
    > check that it really does work before I need it to work! I did manage to
    > make the 3 drive RAID XL array fail by accidently knocking one of the
    > cables off and it has options in the BIOS to recover using the same
    > drive. I did tell it to do this but it looked like it was going to take
    > a very long time and the array was empty so I stopped it, deleted and
    > recreated the entire thing instead.


    I managed to test this, again by accident. I managed to knock the cable
    off the first disk again and that's all it takes to need to rebuild the
    array. There's no option to say "just put it back together again" as
    there was with the DPT card and its utilities that I used to use. With
    that you could boot from DOS and run the utility and tell it to put the
    array back together again without rebuilding it - for use when you knew
    that no updates had been made like this case.

    So this time I told it to rebuild it. I have no idea how long it took
    but it took a very long time. I started the rebuild mid-morning and it
    was done by sometime before midnight. I reckon it probably took at least
    12 hours to rebuild a failed 160GB drive, maybe as long as 14. It
    doesn't start to do the rebuild until you exit the BIOS after you tell
    it to start the rebuild and there seems to be no indication of its
    progress without going back into it - there may be from the Windows
    management utility. There's also no indication that the array is not
    optimal until you see the controller banner at reboot - Dani's diskinfo
    reports the 'disk' as SMART OK even when it's degraded but I have
    emailed Netcell and suggested that it might be a good way to support
    non-Windows o/ses. While the rebuild was going, I could use the system
    without noticing that it was happening. It did show up on a disk
    benchmark - before I started the rebuild and while the rebuild was going
    it would read at between 35 and 60MB/sec but once it was complete it
    went back up to ~100MB/sec.

    It does worry me a bit quite how easy it is to make the array fail.

    --
    Trevor Hemsley, Brighton, UK.
    Trevor-Hemsley at dsl dot pipex dot com

  7. Re: NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

    On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 23:50:35 UTC in comp.os.os2.setup.storage, "Trevor Hemsley"
    wrote:

    > LVM seems to be doing something weird. It allows me to create an
    > extended partition on the drive that occupies all 610,400KB. I can
    > format it with JFS. I shutdown and restart and the drive is missing. Go
    > into LVM again and it's siiting there, defined, with a drive letter
    > assigned to it but not 'committed' or whatever it is that makes LVM
    > place the drive letter just to the left of where it normally resides.
    > Use F3 to quit and tell it to save the changes that I didn't make and
    > the drive then appears to OS/2. I then run chkdsk against it and it's
    > usable again.


    Following up on my ~2.5 year old post. It turns out that this weird problem with
    my 596GB array not appearing as a drive letter were down to a problem in
    DaniS506.ADD which she just fixed. She sent me a copy of 1.7.10p and I can now
    reboot and have my array instantly accessible. Wasn't a problem in LVM after all
    despite the symptoms appearing to point that way.

    --
    Trevor Hemsley, Brighton, UK
    Trevor dot Hemsley at ntlworld dot com

  8. Re: NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

    Trevor Hemsley schrieb:
    > On Tue, 7 Dec 2004 23:50:35 UTC in comp.os.os2.setup.storage, "Trevor Hemsley"
    > wrote:
    >
    >> [....]

    >
    > Following up on my ~2.5 year old post. It turns out that this weird problem with
    > my 596GB array not appearing as a drive letter were down to a problem in
    > DaniS506.ADD which she just fixed. She sent me a copy of 1.7.10p and I can now
    > reboot and have my array instantly accessible. Wasn't a problem in LVM after all
    > despite the symptoms appearing to point that way.
    >

    Good news. Looking forward to the next danis506 release. In the meantime
    your workaround works quite well with my Revo64 Card (XFX's continued
    production of the netcell-chip).

    config.sys:
    CALL=C:\OS2\CMD.EXE /Q /C C:\setlvm.cmd

    setlvm.cmd:
    diskinfo v
    lvm /setnameartition,2,ECS_DATEN,ECS_DATEN
    chkdsk e: /f /c

    Seems that "diskinfo v" initializes the controller after first call
    correctly.
    --
    Michael Holzapfel

  9. Re: NetCell SyncRAID SR5103 - SATA RAID works with OS/2

    On Mon, 30 Apr 2007 06:48:05 UTC in comp.os.os2.setup.misc, Michael Holzapfel
    wrote:

    > In the meantime
    > your workaround works quite well with my Revo64 Card (XFX's continued
    > production of the netcell-chip).


    The dealer in the UK that sells these cards has end-of-lifed both 5 and 3 port
    versions so I think XFX may just be using up stock they have on hand rather than
    continuing to make the chips themselves. Anyone that wants one should probably
    get one now - Scan in the UK only have the 3 port version left but they're only
    Ł30! (plus shipping etc).

    --
    Trevor Hemsley, Brighton, UK
    Trevor dot Hemsley at ntlworld dot com

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