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IBM 7977 (x3500) and RAID with 4TB HDDs

IBM 7977 (x3500) and RAID with 4TB HDDs

IBM 7977 (x3500) and RAID with 4TB HDDs

I have acquired a retired 7977-AC1 server from retirement at my job. The HDDs and RAM were removed. I have purchased RAM and bought (4) 4TB HDDs with the intention of turning the server into a NAS for my home. There is an 8k RAID controller and battery (which appear to be working). I have put the 4TB HDDs into the trays and installed in the server, and launched the ServerRAID Management application (CTRL+A from boot), and attempted to create an array. I am told there are no HDDs installed, yet when I goto the list disks option - they are all there, only listed at 2TB HDDs and only 1.5G/s speed. These are 6G/s NAS drives by SEAGATE.

Doing some research, it appears the 8k controller will not see drives over 2TB. So now the quandary; do I return them and get (4) 2TB HDDs, or find another controller. I would rather have these drives, and get another controller.

So my questions:

1) I have seen the ServeRAID 8s is also an option for this server - but it appears to have a 4-port cable which is looks like a SIMPLE SWAP SATA type arrangement. I would rather keep the 8 HOT SWAP bays I have. Is there another SAS/SATA ServeRAID controller which will work in this system to give me the use of these 8 bays, and see these drives?

2) Is the 1.5G/s limit at the backplane, the SAS connector of the System Board, or part of the 8k controller's limitations. Is it possible to get 3G/s or even the 6G/s capability of these HDDs and RAID 5 support?

3) I have seen mention of the ServeRAID M5015 512MB SAS/SATA 6GBPS controller in my searches for ServeRAID and 7977. Will this one work in my system? Do I need to look at replacing my backplanes? If so, with which ones?

I know what I am asking is a little weird, but this is a really nice server and seems to have lots of growth potential (like faster CPUs, etc), looking for any advice/help provided.

Much thanks in advance,


RE: IBM 7977 (x3500) and RAID with 4TB HDDs

I'm going to NOT answer your question directly, but rather point you at a cheaper, simple solution.

Buy an Adaptec RAID controller (PCI-E) and put it in one of the three PCI Express x8 slots on the motherboard. Then you will have full SATA 3 (6Gbps) speed and RAID as you want to configure it. The cheaper Adaptecs are not as sophisticated (hardware RAID) as the some of the controllers from IBM, but for what you need, it should be just fine in a RAID 1 or RAID 5 configuration.

Something like this: Link
You would also need a cable to plug into the card that terminates in SATA ports to plug into your drives.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: IBM 7977 (x3500) and RAID with 4TB HDDs


Thank you for your reply, but not sure how that card is going to work with the 2 SATA/SAS backplanes which are in the x3500. Those are needed to get the HDDs into the machine. There does not appear to be separate SATA or SAS connectors for each drive, only on SAS cable from each backplane to the system board as well as a separate power connection to the system board.

The ServeRAID 8k-l which is in the machine now looks like a DIMM, and with it installed the system converts the onboard SAS into RAID.

I think I will need something which does the same thing - yet, may the cables go from the backplanes to new controller card. The IBM ServeRAID MR10i appears to have these connectors - but not sure it does 6G/s. I would be happy with 3G/s if I can get the 4TB HDDs to be seen as 4TB HDDs.

I am eventually going to have 8 of them in a RAID 5 or maybe RAID 50 array.

Any further advice?


RE: IBM 7977 (x3500) and RAID with 4TB HDDs

Ah, yes. They are hot swap drives that plug right into the backplane. My bad.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: IBM 7977 (x3500) and RAID with 4TB HDDs

Does anyone else not have any suggestions?

I would really like to get this server setup as a NAS - and "IF" I have to return these 4TB HDDS - I need to do so before the return period expires.

Thank You,


RE: IBM 7977 (x3500) and RAID with 4TB HDDs

You could just go with a REAL NAS - again not what you wanted, but it would surely work and give you the speed and capacity out of those drives.

The problem is that probably nobody knows whether the limitation is on the backplane of the server or the controller.

This is what happens when you try to put a V8 into a Pinto. Everything on down the line has to be gutted to make it hold together.

"Living tomorrow is everyone's sorrow.
Modern man's daydreams have turned into nightmares."

RE: IBM 7977 (x3500) and RAID with 4TB HDDs

This has all been resolved. It was my SFF-8087 cables. I had inadvertently gotten SINGLE LANE cables. When I replaced them with 4-LANE (30-pin) cables. The backplanes were seen by the ServeRAID card and I am getting 6GBs out of the drives.

It appears that I have a bad backplane in the bottom 4 bays - as with either cable or either port on the ServeRAID card - those drives are not seen.

Jut wanted to update everyone.


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