mfiutil on FreeBSD

I need to add drives to one of my FreeNAS 8.3.1 boxes. This machine has an “Intel RAID” card in it. I don’t want to use the Intel RAID, I want just a bunch of disks that I can plop a mirror on top of. The BIOS utility doesn’t give me the “just a bunch of disks” option. So I boot into FreeNAS, insert the drives, and the console shows:

Jul 10 10:25:40 datastore5 kernel: mfi0: 6904 (458317539s/0x0002/info) - Inserted: PD 0e(e0xfc/s0)
Jul 10 10:25:40 datastore5 kernel: mfi0: MFI_DCMD_PD_LIST_QUERY failed 2
Jul 10 10:25:40 datastore5 kernel: mfi0: 6905 (458317539s/0x0002/info) - Inserted: PD 0e(e0xfc/s0) Info
Jul 10 10:29:13 datastore5 kernel: mfi0: 6906 (458317752s/0x0002/info) - Inserted: PD 0f(e0xfc/s1)
Jul 10 10:29:13 datastore5 kernel: mfi0: MFI_DCMD_PD_LIST_QUERY failed 2
Jul 10 10:29:13 datastore5 kernel: mfi0: 6907 (458317752s/0x0002/info) - Inserted: PD 0f(e0xfc/s1) Info

This “Intel RAID” is a MFI card, manageable with mfiutil(8). So let’s see what this adapter has to say for itself.

# mfiutil show adapter
mfi0 Adapter:
Product Name: Intel(R) RAID Controller SRCSASBB8I
Serial Number: P102404308
Firmware: 8.0.1-0029
RAID Levels: JBOD, RAID0, RAID1, RAID5, RAID6, RAID10, RAID50
Battery Backup: not present
NVRAM: 32K
Onboard Memory: 256M
Minimum Stripe: 8k
Maximum Stripe: 1M

This card can do JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks). Tell the controller about them:

# mfiutil create jbod 14
# mfiutil create jbod 15

We now have two new online drives. (I could also use the controller to create a mirror with these drives, or add more drives and have a RAID-5, or whatever I need.)

# mfiutil show drives
mfi0 Physical Drives:
14 ( 1863G) ONLINE SATA E1:S0
15 ( 1863G) ONLINE SATA E1:S1

These show up as /dev/mfidX. FreeNAS can now see the drives.

For FreeNAS, ZFS, and software RAID, this kind of hardware RAID controller isn’t really desirable. While the RAID controller claims that these drives are “just a bunch of disks,” the controller inserts itself in between the kernel and the drives. This means that certain error detection and correction, as well as SMART tools, won’t work. But it’s what I have in this old box, so I’ll use these drives for less vital data.

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