And the lights go blinkety blink …

January 9, 2013

For those of you with a technical bent, there is a new standard around in backplane land called IBPI. It’s a new format for LED function on backplanes. In reality, to my understanding, it’s an extension of the SGPIO standard we’ve been living with for a while.

So there is SGPIO “Standard” and SGPIO “IBPI”. In reality people call it SGPIO and IBPI, but technically they come from the same family – the IBPI pattern just extends the function of the SGPIO basic LED function.

So what does all this matter? Very little if you are directly connecting drives, but if you have a hot-swap backplane in your new server, and the Christmas Tree on the front is doing some weird and wonderful things (ie the leds are going crazy), you might need to change the “Backplane Mode” in the BIOS of our controller.

Plane old Series 6 (6405, 6445 and 6805/6805Q) don’t support IBPI. However the 6805T and 6805TQ, plus all the 7 series controller, support IBPI as well as SGPIO. No, it’s not possible for a RAID card to detect the difference between SGPIO vanilla flavour and SGPIO IBPI, so the user has to do the work. We took a punt, determined that IBPI will become the new next big thing and set that as default on our 7 Series Controllers.

So if your Christmas Tree looks like a server and vice versa, check the backplane mode.




2 thoughts on “And the lights go blinkety blink …

  1. Seriously?

    What about proper testing.

    We just get hit by this and Adaptec’s stellar support comes back with “your problem, just replace your hardware if you want to use our new controllers”, which sort of is freaking ridiculous.

    We got a good working setup where the aging (but working) 3405 is now getting replaced in a number of servers with a 71605Q. At least that was planned. Sadly – the SuperMicro M28E1 that works flawles with the 3405 is not seen from the 71605Q. And obviously no drives.

    Answer from Adaptec? Simple – the M28E1 is a SAS(1) backplane, that is not supported. To hell with the backward compatibility. Nice – so now we have to choose – either return the new Adpatec controllers and possibly go with a competitor, or – well – replace all our other infrastructure. Guess which side likely wins this – unless someone takes a hammer and hits some Adaptec support guys on the head hard enough to make their brain working again and FIX THE ISSUE.

    • Thomas:

      Not sure this is going to be the answer you want to hear, but … on Supermicro’s website ( there is a nice little statement: “Note: SAS1 backplane is going to be obsolete. SAS1 backplane is not able to support SATA 6Gbps (SATA3) or SAS2 hard drives. Please upgrade to SAS2 backplane” …

      So can we “fix the issue” as you so loudly type? Probably not. While we can and do fix a lot of the worlds ills, it seems we can’t fix this. Replacing a 3 series with a 7 series is a bit of an imbalance – unless at some point you have upgraded your motherboard … because of the PCIe differences.

      So according to Supermicro you may just be faced with the infrastructure upgrade you don’t want.


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