ssacli – CLI configuring SmartArray

When you install an HPE server with the VMware custom image for HPE servers you automatically get all the HPE tools for configuring the hardware. Neat.

Here is a small guide on how to clean and setup the array. The ssacli is located in /opt/smartstorageadmin/ssacli/bin on the ESXi serve – start here and follow the next commands

Show the existing config:

[root@esx2:/opt/smartstorageadmin/ssacli/bin] ./ssacli ctrl slot=0 ld all show
Smart Array P440ar in Slot 0 (Embedded)
   Array A
      logicaldrive 1 (279.37 GB, RAID 1, Failed)
   Array B
      logicaldrive 2 (3.27 TB, RAID 1+0, OK)

Delete the existing logical drives:

[root@esx2:/opt/smartstorageadmin/ssacli/bin] ./ssacli ctrl slot=0 ld 1 delete
Warning: Deleting an array can cause other array letters to become renamed.
         E.g. Deleting array A from arrays A,B,C will result in two remaining
         arrays A,B ... not B,C 
Warning: Deleting the specified device(s) will result in data being lost.
         Continue? (y/n)  y
[root@esx2:/opt/smartstorageadmin/ssacli/bin] ./ssacli ctrl slot=0 ld 2 delete
Warning: Deleting the specified device(s) will result in data being lost.
         Continue? (y/n)  y

Show all physical drives in the server:

[root@esx2:/opt/smartstorageadmin/ssacli/bin] ./ssacli ctrl slot=0 pd all show
Smart Array P440ar in Slot 0 (Embedded)
   Array A
      physicaldrive 1I:1:9 (port 1I:box 1:bay 9, SAS HDD, 900 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:10 (port 1I:box 1:bay 10, SAS HDD, 900 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:11 (port 1I:box 1:bay 11, SAS HDD, 900 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:12 (port 1I:box 1:bay 12, SAS HDD, 900 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:13 (port 1I:box 1:bay 13, SAS HDD, 900 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:14 (port 1I:box 1:bay 14, SAS HDD, 900 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:15 (port 1I:box 1:bay 15, SAS HDD, 900 GB, OK)
      physicaldrive 1I:1:16 (port 1I:box 1:bay 16, SAS HDD, 900 GB, OK)

Create a new volume with available physical drives:

[root@esx2:/opt/smartstorageadmin/ssacli/bin] ./ssacli ctrl slot=0 create type=ld drives=1I:1:9,1I:1:10,1I:1:11,1I:1:12,1I:1:13,1I:1:14,1I:1:15,1I:1:16 raid=6

Warning: Controller cache is disabled. Enabling logical drive cache will not take effect until this has been resolved.


Nice and easy – Give the HPE ssacli manual a read for more commands, starting page 57 and forward or use ssacli help.

[root@esx2:/opt/smartstorageadmin/ssacli/bin] ./ssacli help

CLI Syntax
   A typical SSACLI command line consists of three parts: a target device, 
   a command, and a parameter with values if necessary. Using angle brackets to
   denote a required variable and plain brackets to denote an optional 
   variable, the structure of a typical SSACLI command line is as follows:

      <target> <command> [parameter=value]

   <target> is of format:
      [controller all|slot=#|serialnumber=#]
      [array all|<id>]

Prevent Drive Failure at 32,768 Hours

This is one of the nasty bugs. Some SSD models will fail after they have been powered on for more than 32768 hours. Imagine running vSAN and you bought x amount of disks that where affected. They will all fail at the same time, so you are left alone with your backup(hopefully).

I seen this one time before, where Intel disks where the problems. Unfortunately the Intel SSDs where metadata disks in a Ceph storage cluster, and since they all failed at the same time, the cluster died!

This is of cause due to that nobody where informed of the bug. When buying hardware from HPE and other enterprise hardware vendors we cat a mail letting us know of the problem before it becomes a disaster.

Update procedure – VMware

We had to do a firmware update of the disks, we are running VMware and vSAN. And gladly HPE have allready released the patch. Also with guidance for VMware.

  1. download the patch, copy it to /tmp of the ESXi servers.
  2. Unzip and make the .vmexe file executable chmod +x CP****.vmexe
  3. Put one of the hosts into maintenance mode.
  4. Run the CP***.vmexe – ./CP****.vmexe. It will lists the disks that it found and you tell it the disk numbers for those you want to have firmware upgraded.
  5. After upgrade I did a reboot anyway.

Remember that reboot of vSAN nodes can take a long time, 10-30 min. On the console of the server it says: “vSAN initialising SSD XXX” Give it time, it will boot.

Fetching firmware version

When you use the HPE custom VMware image then we have all the HPE tools on the server, so that we can query hardware etc.

  1. cd /opt/smartstorageadmin/ssacli/bin
  2. Execute ./ssacli ctrl slot=0 pd all show detail

For more a command cheat sheet you could look at or the official documentation

This will give you all info on the disks behind the controller. The model number is the one that you can look up on HPEs site to see if its affected.