The Server Space Conundrum: Utilizing RAID Cards for Tape Libraries


Furthermore, while I understand that procuring an additional true HBA card might be the safer route, I’m inclined to utilize the existing raid card if possible, given the limited availability of PCI slots. However, should a new card be necessary, I would appreciate recommendations for reliable HBA cards that could accommodate this setup.

Thank you for your expertise.”


The H830 Raid card, while primarily designed for RAID operations, can be set to JBOD mode, allowing individual drives to be passed through directly to the operating system, in this case, Linux. This mode is often used to leverage the ZFS filesystem’s advanced features, such as its robust error correction and logical volume management.

Connecting an LTO-6 Tape Library to the secondary port is theoretically feasible, as the card provides two ports for connectivity. However, practical implementation may vary depending on the specific hardware and software configurations. It’s crucial to ensure that the H830 card’s firmware and drivers support this dual functionality and that the operating system correctly identifies and manages both the disk array and the tape library.

Considering the Need for an Additional HBA Card

If the H830 Raid card cannot support both the disk array and the tape library simultaneously, or if there are performance or reliability concerns, adding a dedicated Host Bus Adapter (HBA) card would be the next step. An HBA card would handle the tape library independently, ensuring that the data throughput and access are not hindered by the shared use of the RAID card.

Recommendations for HBA Cards

For those who require a new HBA card, several options are available that are known for their reliability and compatibility with various storage setups:



: A PCIe 3.0 card offering high performance and compatibility with newer storage devices.


Broadcom/LSI series

: Widely used and recommended for their performance and support for various operating systems.


Dell PERC H310

: A cost-effective option that can be flashed to IT mode for use with ZFS.

It is essential to choose an HBA card that matches the server’s available PCIe slots and provides the necessary throughput for the tape library. Additionally, compatibility with the operating system and the existing RAID card should be verified to prevent conflicts.

In conclusion, while using the existing H830 Raid card for both the disk array and the tape library might be an attractive option to avoid additional hardware, it is imperative to ensure that this setup is supported and stable. If there are any doubts or if the configuration is not supported, investing in a dedicated HBA card is the recommended course of action to maintain system integrity and performance.

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