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Duplicate SCSI IDs seen when running the nhpsa driver on Gen 9 HPE Synergy compute modules with a SATA drive in bay 1 of a D3940 Storage Module (2150104)

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Purpose

This document highlights an issue observed when using Gen 9 HPE Synergy compute modules with ESXi 6.5+ and the native nhpsa driver and SATA drives.

A problem has been identified whereby a SATA drive installed in drive bay #1 (top left) of a HPE D3940 40-bay Storage Module within a HPE Synergy frame, will not be seen by ESXi, but all other SATA drives in all other drive bays in the Storage Module are discovered correctly.

When using multiple D3940s in one Synergy frame then each D3940 in the frame can be vulnerable to this issue.

This problem is not always seen, but occurs when the SCSI ID assigned to the SATA device in drive bay #1 is seen as duplicating a SCSI ID already used by an expander device. In some cases, ESXi discovers the enclosure/expander first, causing the drive to be rejected as a duplicate ID. In other cases, ESXi discovers the drive first causing the duplicate enclosure/expander to be rejected instead.

Commands such as esxcfg-scsidevs –c will show all drives and enclosures/expanders that ESXi has discovered but with a device missing.

The problem is caused by ESXi 6.5 reading the wrong field in Inquiry VPD page 83h data for enclosure/expander devices. 

The issue has only been observed with the nhpsa drivers and SATA devices however, it may occur on other storage enclosures, drivers and generations.

Resolution

There are no software or firmware workarounds or fixes, although these are being developed for the future. Currently, the solution can be one of the following:

1) Use a SAS device in bay #1 of the D3940
E.g. Use SAS as cache and SATA as capacity in one or all drive groups

2) Leave bay #1 of the D3940 empty

Note: This could lead to uneven drive allocation to disk groups such as allocating four groups of (1+7) and one smaller disk group of (1+6)

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