It seems that one of my previous attempts to paste lspci -v finally showed up...
Is there a limitation in the 2950 bios that prevents seeing a larger drive (3TB) as available for booting? identical configuration, 3TB drive does not show up, 300GB drive DOES show up.
BIOS won't boot to greater than 2TB, and the largest drives validated for the server were 2 TB drives. The PERC firmware did receive an update to support >2TB disks, though. Essentially, you could use the 3TB disk as a data volume, but not as an OS volume. This would definitely be a part of the problem. I looked through the posted BIOS revisions, but there were no notes indicating that the BIOS storage limit ever changed.
I can't recommend using PCI NVMe storage as a boot volume, unfortunately. It's a relatively new technology with a fairly old server platform that never supported NVMe storage. You may be able to get a PCI card to work, but I would only order from a supplier with a good return policy.
I'll let you know how the PCIE NVME works out. I have ordered one of these from Amazon:
...and I have a couple of 256GB NVME laying around from laptop upgrades, to test with.
Thank you for the updates on using PERC controllers for data volumes with > 2TB drives. I have both PERC5i and PERC6i available. Can you point me to the firmware that supports the larger drives?
You can pull the driver from the support page for the 2950. Search for "SAS 5/i". You should be able to pull the firmware there. SAme for the PERC, but search for "PERC 6/i".
The PCIE -> m.2 PCIE NVMe experiment did not pan out. The OS installer (ubuntu server 18.04.3 LTS) had no trouble seeing the NVMe drive, the install went just fine to the SSD (including grub installation). It just seems the 2950 BIOS cannot see/will not present the NVMe device for booting.
Thanks for the PERC BIOS thing, I will give it a shot - I guess I'm stuck with a RAID 1 pair of 300GB spinning rust drives for boot wasting two of my six slots, and four 3TB spinning rust for a data volume in RAID 5, if the updated firmware works, and stuck with hardware RAID for both 😕 . But at least the hardware still has life.
Alright - I tried to download and find the latest firmware for my PERC 6/i - and it seems I am already running the latest version (that I could find), which is:
Adapter 0: PERC 6/i Integrated
Vendor ID: 0x1000, Device ID: 0x0060
Package version on the controller: 6.3.3.0002
The latest I could find on Dell's support site was the same version, located here: https://www.dell.com/support/home/us/en/04/drivers/driversdetails?driverid=f96nr
However, the controller does not play nicely at all with 3TB drives, in any capacity. Help?