Dell Compellant storage sc220

What’s the deal with these? I see one going cheap, full of drives. Are they difficult to use? Require a bunch of proprietary stuff to get them to work?

The Dell SC220 is what is called a SAS expansion box. Some on the forum call them JBOD boxes (Just a Bunch Of Disks). These are semi-DUMB devices and not computers.

Think of it like adding a USB storage box to a regular PC. The PC will just see the drives as individual devices connected to USB (unless RAID is involved).

What you need (I cannot find specific models as examples direct from Dell)

  1. a server or PC you want to connect this to
  2. drives and the caddies. Drives can be SATA or SAS but SAS is better
  3. a Mini SAS controller card
  4. 1 or 2 MINI SAS cables
  5. any special software to do RAID on the box or configuration software for it. Lots of times, you cannot get that without a warranty agreement.

Thank you. So I could add another perc card to my R720 and then the sc220 acts as a SAS expander? That would work pretty well. I wouldn’t be looking to do anything too fancy with it, just store plots. Thank you for taking the time - I am learning this server stuff, not quite as fast as I’d like but its going in.

Not a Perc card. Perc card is for the internal storage. You would need something similar to:

And you connect the server to the sc220 via 1 or 2 (use 2 and have 1 cable upload and 1 cable download):

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Great advice, thank you. I have two of these units with one working now.

I got cables from ebay, and a dell hba H200E raid Controller 12DNW with IT mode firmware mod.

Working great managing around 100MB/s transfer rate from my perc 700 sas drives to the expander sas drives and 150MB/s to 2TB seagate sata drives, with one cable only attached.

Noise level is not appreciably higher, I was told these are very noisy. Power levels are about 300w ish.

Are you connecting box 1 to the server and box 2 to box 1? If so, there may be a better and speedier way to do it: Connect box 1 to port 1 on the server card. Connect box 2 port 1 to box 1 port 2. Connect box 2 port 2 to the server card port 2. If you wanted to expand, connect box 2 port 2 to port 1 on the next box and port 2 on the next box to port 2 on the server.

Always have 2 connections into the mini SAS card if possible. Also, always use both ports on the storage box if possible. This provides better reliability and may provide double the bandwidth if configured properly.

Thank you. I get it, daisy chain them, with a return cable at the end back to the as card, yes?

I will get another cable. So far I only have one running, just to see if it works, as a place to put plots it will perform much better than the loads of USB hubs and drive adaptors I was planning to use.

Genuinely, thanks for your help.

That would be my advice based upon what I saw when storage boxes were more common. I think it could be faster. If nothing else, you will get redundancy.

As far as USB drives go, this is the way to go if you have internal drives. USB has a drive limit and I don’t think external/mini SAS has a drive limit (as there are storage boxes with 48 or 96+ drives etc and those don’t suffer any issues that I am aware.

These boxes have two controllers in each. Would they originally have had two complete chains of cabling, just to ensure they kept fuctioning?

The way I see it for a single box is 2 cables connect from the single storage box back to the mini SAS controller on the server. I was always told that it is faster and more reliable to have the 2 cables connected.

2 boxes + in daisy chain looped back to the server from the last storage box in the chain.

Most SAS HBAs have a max drive limit like 128 or 256. My LSI 9207 has 256 sas/sata drives as limit.

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