09-17-2009 03:36 AM - edited 09-17-2009 03:39 AM
I am a bit concerned that perhaps Lenovo does not seem to be keeping up with new releases of RAID drivers and firmware for the S10/D10 machines.
The latest Lenovo-branded release for the RAID driver that I can find is now over a year old - V7.6 posted here:
However it appears from the Intel site that the "native" releases have zoomed ahead all the way to V8.9:
I might consider upgrading using the Intel released drivers but I have learned from the xSeries machines that it is unwise to upgrade only the RAID drivers without upgrading the RAID firmware to the same level and I can not find the "matching" V8.9 firmware upgrade.
Erik or andyP can you comment on this situation?
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09-17-2009 04:33 AM
since controller firmware isn't being made available, drivers seem to be remaining stagnant. it may be frustrating for those who like to keep their drivers as up-to-date as possible but, at the end of the day, what's currently available seems to be working fine -- at least in my experience.
while i don't use the intel controller on my D10, i do use the LSI controller. the firmware is "out of date" by a considerable amount, yet everything is working perfectly fine day in and day out. i'm running the latest driver offered by LSI but even that is over a year old.
unless you're seeing performance or stability issues, i wouldn't worry about your drivers or controller firmware. i woud rather have an old driver that's been tested and proven to be rock-solid than have the latest driver with a ton of bugs. i run into this all the time with nvidia drivers where the lenovo version for my FX 4800 runs great but the latest ones from nvidia always have a bug in different applications.
so, if i had your system, i'd run the driver offered by lenovo simply because it's a known-good driver. after all, this is data storage we're talking about and you certainly don't want to lose data due to a bad driver or an incompatibility with your controller firmware.
09-17-2009 07:28 AM - edited 09-17-2009 07:28 AM
Thanks erik! I agree, there is no reason to be hasty -- that's for sure!
I can't find the revision/history list for the drivers on the Intel site, but the jump from 7.6 to 8.9 was made over several releases, and I can't help but think that maybe some of the updates are important even to the a platform like mine that is running with a high degree of stability. Of course it could be just support for bigger drives and etc... but it having been over a year now ... I do start to get concerned. I hope somebody at Lenovo is at least working on approving a newer level!
09-17-2009 09:13 AM
the newer drivers really would need to be coupled with controller firmware updates to be reliable. i've tried getting LSI controller BIOS updates out of the support team to no avail. i'm not sure if they're even available -- at least not from lenovo, that is. since the firmware is written specifically for a motherboard, the update can't come from any other source, either.
my personal view is that i'm not going to worry about it as long as my data and array integrity continues as it has been for the 1.5+ years i've had my D10. besides, eventually SAS 3.0 and SATA 3.0 Gb/sec will outlive the onboard controller(s) and at that point i'll be moving to a discreet unified SAS 6.0 controller. these cards see firmware and driver updates quite often and aren't limited by the hardware they're installed on like an onboard controller.
food for thought.
09-17-2009 09:56 AM
I've had no issues so, like you, will stick with what I've got till Lenovo Development gets it in gear for a new "matched set" ... then review the situation!
03-31-2010 05:39 AM
Intel is now up to version 9.6 and we have not seen any "advancement" in the release level by Lenovo.
I am unable to find any detail on what has changed, but I'll speculate that Intel does not update drivers and firmware just because they are bored - I can not help but think that either reliabilty and/or performance has been enhanced -- at this point I am starting to loose faith....
03-31-2010 06:43 AM
i completely forgot about this one. i'll look into it and see what i can dig up.
fwiw, i tried to get an updated LSI firmware but came up short. even IBM has a newer build for the 1068E controller!
04-01-2010 11:30 AM
Intel doesn't update drivers because they are bored....however they do update drivers to add support for new platforms and new hardware This is the likely reason for the seemingly large number of driver updates on the Intel side.
Are you having some sort of issue that you are hoping a new driver will address, or is the concern simply due to the fact that Intel has a newer version of the driver than what Lenovo is offering on the website?
With something like a HDD or RAID controller, I'd be taking the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude
04-01-2010 01:05 PM - edited 04-01-2010 01:18 PM
My concern is that I don't know it is NOT "broken"
Intel does not publish any details (that I can find) on what has changed in the several iterations that have been released. I do a lot of work with Lenovo/IBM xSeries servers (I help manage about 800 of them).
I can tell you that at least with the xSeries boxes the majority of the updates are to fix defects that involve either the potential for data loss, array re-mirroring, and drive status determination -- not add support for new hardware.
Intel may only have one set of "unified" drivers that are supposed to cover all permutations of their controllers, and thus that could explain it ... I'd just like to know which it is ...
I have personally lost arrays on xSeries boxes for all of the reasons listed above so I am "concerned". Not panic-ed but concerned.
04-01-2010 02:31 PM
You're right in that code updates in the same branch are generally for defect fixes. I suspect that should such defects be reported to Lenovo, it would be picked up in a new code release if they deem that it addressed an issue found on their systems. No code updates likely means no defects are being reported to the support team.
Intel does use a unified driver for it's controllers. You'll notice the S20, which uses the ICH10R southbridge, is on the 8.9.xx code branch. My guess is this is why Intel lacks on the documentation end of things in that each drop could be picking up multiple bug fixes for a variety of platforms. Unfortunately, finding this documentation is really the only way to know if you need to update drivers for your platform for specific bug fixes.