Return to Level1Techs.com

Do HBA cards Allow ZFS "Bit-level Access"?

Interested in grabbing my first LSI controller (something like an LSI00301).

After seeing all the weird and disturbing things traditional RAID cards can do (even if RAID is disabled), I’m a bit spooked at the idea of using a card.

Do HBA SATA cards give ZFS “bit level access” (I think this phrase was said in a l1t video). Or do some cause issues similar to what you would see in a RAID card?

All I want is a card that turns a PCI-E slot into several SATA ports and presents the drive to the OS as if it was connected directly to the motherboard.

1 Like

I have the LSI 9211-8i and if you flash a firmware that puts the card in integrated target mode, the card presents the attached drives as block devices to the OS.

5 Likes

The LSI card is what you want. Make sure it is in IT Mode. If not you have to flash it. Not a big deal just want it in that mode so ZFS gets the raw access.

4 Likes

I can confirm this, flashing is pretty easy if it’s got the wrong firmware on it. You just need to make a freedos boot drive with the firmware files and flash tool on it.

1 Like

I can confirm this, flashing is pretty easy if it’s got the wrong firmware on it. You just need to make a freedos boot drive with the firmware files and flash tool on it.

Grabbed a boxed new old-stock LSI 9211-8i. Was a bit of a nightmare to flash under EFI, but managed to convince do it eventually.

I’d post the guide I used but I’m not allowed links, it was the GitHub guide by bsodmike. Though I did need to mount my USB drive in the EFI shell, I followed the steps in their guide fine.

I was very confused for the longest time as my LSI card wasn’t appearing on boot initially. The sas2flsh utility wasn’t detecting it either. Had to RTFM and found out using one of my NVME ports was switching off the PCIE lane that my LSI HBA was in. This motherboard is full of little tricks.