eSATA and PCI Power Management

My home server that I built using an HP ProLiant N40L Microserver was recently running low on disk space. It has four internal bays for 3.5 inch drives, and I had fully populated those. It has a single eSATA port but that eSATA port does not support drive enclosures with multiple targets.

TowerRAID TR4M+BNCI decided I would buy a Sans Digital 4 Bay eSATA Port Multiplier JBOD Tower Storage Enclosure (no eSATA Card bundle) TR4M+BNC and populate it with four Western Digital Red NAS Hard Drive WD30EFRX 3TB IntelliPower 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drives. I could have used 4TB drives, but the 3TB drives were at a better price per byte point for me. I was mainly interested in storage space, and not so much speed.

SI-PEX40060Because the built in eSATA port on my machine would not support multiple targets without hacking the bios, I decided the easy thing was to buy an eSATA card to put in my machine. I picked SYBA SI-PEX40060 PCI-Express 2.0 x1 Low Profile Ready SATA III (6.0Gb/s) Controller Card because it explicitly listed Port Multiplier compatibility and I’ve used devices from SYBA in the past.

I had to install the driver for the card to get it to recognize more than the first drive in the enclosure but then I was able to use the normal windows disk management utility to configure each of the four drives. The front panel of the Sans Digital box went from having a single green hard drive led to having all four lit up. I got the drivers for the card from the manufacturer web page instead of using the CD that shipped with the card. http://www.sybausa.com/productInfo.php?iid=1383

I configured all four new drives into a software raid configuration and started to put data onto the system. It was seeming slow, but I let it run overnight. When I next looked at it, the drive letters assigned to the drives on the array were offline, and the array display only had a single LED lit.

Some research and I found these messages in the event log:

Log Name:      System
Source:        mv91xx
Date:          4/1/2014 6:55:39 AM
Event ID:      117
Task Category: None
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      Acid.WIMSWORLD.local
Description:
The driver for device \Device\Scsi\mv91xx1 detected a port timeout due to prolonged inactivity. All associated busses were reset in an effort to clear the condition.
Event Xml:
<Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">
  <System>
    <Provider Name="mv91xx" />
    <EventID Qualifiers="49156">117</EventID>
    <Level>2</Level>
    <Task>0</Task>
    <Keywords>0x80000000000000</Keywords>
    <TimeCreated SystemTime="2014-04-01T13:55:39.043910900Z" />
    <EventRecordID>220446</EventRecordID>
    <Channel>System</Channel>
    <Computer>Acid.WIMSWORLD.local</Computer>
    <Security />
  </System>
  <EventData>
    <Data>\Device\Scsi\mv91xx1</Data>
    <Binary>000000000100000000000000750004C0000100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000</Binary>
  </EventData>
</Event>

Log Name:      System
Source:        mv91xx
Date:          4/1/2014 6:55:41 AM
Event ID:      9
Task Category: None
Level:         Error
Keywords:      Classic
User:          N/A
Computer:      Acid.WIMSWORLD.local
Description:
The device, \Device\Scsi\mv91xx1, did not respond within the timeout period.
Event Xml:
<Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">
  <System>
    <Provider Name="mv91xx" />
    <EventID Qualifiers="49156">9</EventID>
    <Level>2</Level>
    <Task>0</Task>
    <Keywords>0x80000000000000</Keywords>
    <TimeCreated SystemTime="2014-04-01T13:55:41.062170100Z" />
    <EventRecordID>220447</EventRecordID>
    <Channel>System</Channel>
    <Computer>Acid.WIMSWORLD.local</Computer>
    <Security />
  </System>
  <EventData>
    <Data>\Device\Scsi\mv91xx1</Data>
    <Binary>0F0010000100000000000000090004C001010050000000002D05000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000007000000</Binary>
  </EventData>
</Event>

Searching on the error code led me to a web page describing a similar issue with a different driver. http://solutions.unixsherpa.com/2010/03/25/the-device-deviceideiastor0-did-not-respond-within-the-timeout-period/ refers to PCI-Express Link State Power Management as the instigator to my problem. I changed the power management exactly like the page said and my machine has been completely stable for the last month.

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