Daan Vreeken wrote:
Hi Christopher,

On Thursday 05 March 2009 15:25:35 Christopher Key wrote:

I'm looking to substantially expand the storage on my FreeBSD 6.3 home
media server.  With regards hardware, the simplest way to attach large
numbers of drives seem to be to use SATA port multipliers, but I've been
unable to find any consensus on their level of support in FreeBSD.  I'm
currently looking at a RocketRAID 2314 and SiI3726 based port
multipliers.  Has any had any experience with this combination?

The Sil3726 works very well if you run a recent enough version of FreeBSD. We use the device in a custom storage appliance. I don't know the RocketRAID 2314 though. You need a SATA 2.0 controller for Port Multipliers to work.

I'm pretty sure the RocketRAID 2314 is a SATA 2.0 controller. I've references in places to it supporting port multipliers, but have been unable to to find any further details on quite what this means. To be honest, I don't fully understand how the ATA system fits together. HighPoint offer a FreeBSD driver, but I don't know whether this replaces functionality within FreeBSD, or is an additional requirement. Nor do I know whether port multiplier support is the responsibility of the ATA driver, the ATA controller, both or either, nor whether the ATA controller being a RAID card in JBOD mode affects anything. I was thinking that for the RR2314 to work with port multipliers whilst it was doing hardware RAID, it must fully understand how to address drives behind a port multiplier and might do the same in JBOD mode, simply presenting the ATA driver with a list of drives. Whether this is valid reasoning, I've no idea.
FreeBSD has (experimental) support for Port Multipliers since the following commit :

On Thursday 10 April 2008 15:05:05 Søren Schmidt wrote:
sos         2008-04-10 13:05:05 UTC

  FreeBSD src repository
  Add experimental support for SATA Port Multipliers

  Support is working on the Silicon Image SiI3124/3132.
  Support is working on some AHCI chips but far from all.

  Remember this is WIP, so test reports and (constructive) suggestions are
Thanks, I've found the relevent revision in SVN,

I'll read through the diffs to see if I can get a better idea of how everything works.

Kind Regards,

Christopher Key
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