I am building a server for one of my small business clients, it's a Dell PowerEdge 2950 with a Perc 5i RAID controller on board. This is an older server, but it is plenty powerful for what I need out of it. The idea is that this server will be used as an iSCSI target for an ESXi host. I don't know where the server initially came from, but when I got it from the client to build out, it only had 3 hard drives in it of various sizes, nothing big enough to be a storage server. I had a collection of old ST3450856SS hard drives from an old HP MSA2000 storage frame which were SAS drives of 450GB. I got the additional drive cages as required and mounted 6 of these old HP SAS disks into the server. The Perc 5i controller picked up on them no problem, and I was able to create a RAID5 set and off I went...however, I soon discovered some issues.
Now Perc 5i created the drive array no problem, it was accessible, but when I tried to run a CrystalDiskMark benchmarking tool on the server, the controller would drop out with Windows Event error 129, Reset to device, \Device\RaidPort1. The read portion of the software was fine, but it seems that as soon as it switched to Write tests, it would die, sometimes right away, at other times a few runs in. I started looking for a solution and updating everything, and one of the things that I wanted to update was the hard drive firmware. I looked up model number ST3450856SS + firmware on google and found that Dell also uses these drives for some of their servers, so I thought I will just flash the newest firmware from Dell into these and it will be happy...but this was not so easy...actually it was not easy at all.
Now, on this Dell server I installed the Dell Openmanage Server Administrator and it showed that the disks were detected as ST3450856SS with firmware version 0007, and that the latest firmware available for these types of disks from Dell was HS11.
I downloaded the Windows firmware update packages called SAS-Drive_Firmware_288PJ_WN32_HS11_A07.exe, assuming that I would be able to just run the program and it would update all the drives, however, this was not the case. The package does some validation to see if the drives you have will actually work with this firmware, and returned a message:
This update package is not compatible with your system configuration
Great, so I stared looking online to see what this is, and there isn't much information other then to ensure that you have the latest drivers and such from Dell, I do, and none of it worked.
I started working to see how I could circumvent the firmware process, and the first thing I did was to extract the firmware update package exe file with UniExtract, This gave me something like this: