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Xyratex Autodesk Kit. 54XX

29 Nov

Seems there is STILL some interest in this kit & getting it working with non autodesk drives.
There is a multitude of “badge engineered” Xyratex products not just Autodesk , but it is all locked down in the software.
Other than that the underlying hardware is identical.

I’ve been asked “ Why don’t you post a firmware file to allow conversion”

An Anecdote:
Many moons ago I used to work at a very large company..
One day…
I was speaking to the owner and he asked me a question:

A: “Do you have any legal problems… personal… company?”
B: “No”
A: “Pity.. I employ a team of lawyers and they have nothing to do at the moment.. if anything comes to mind give me a call”
B: “Ok will do”
So there you go… If there’s potential for a lightning storm .. you don’t stand under a tree.

Where do I go from here
The first action is to get the SERIAL console connected on the back of the device, it is the USB type connection.
This is SERIAL to SERIAL, just someone stupidly decided it was a good idea to use a USB type connection….
you know….. so that people can shove the WRONG cable & release the magic smoke trapped inside.

Once you get your serial connection, the first thing to do it get the equipment version strings & firmware data.
If you don’t do this.. the chance of getting help is limited.

Generally (what I’ve seen so far)
1. ADnn firmware (this is Autodesk, and they have their own firmware which is based around Xyratex FW with extras.

Those extras include:
Hidden factory options
Special checksums for firmware, ensures only Autodesk firmware can be loaded.
Locked down Disk drives
Extra debugging features for their engineers… (thanks guys…)
Code to ensure you cannot get off the AD firmware track
Different software feature unlock keytable… for the controller FW & “Stone Direct”
The latest Autodesk monitor FW Is AD24

  • ‘nnnn’ firmware, this is Xyratex firmware, it has it’s own drive markers, but later versions also allow non branded drives to be used, note however there is a performance IMPACT to using non-banded drives.
    This is becasue the buffer and caching paramiters in the disk drive firmware have been optimized for the yxratex kit
  • The latest Xyratex monitor FW is 0025 (2.5.6)

    Getting all worked up
    There are some points to note before getting all worked up.

    1.On this older kit, it is HARDWARE FIXED at using drives that are 2TB or LESS
    This is NOT something you can hack or bypass and is due to the embedded silicon.
    LSI62042E1
    LSISASX12A which gets you 3GB/s tops

    (nope.. you cannot drop in new chips.. later chips are not pin compatible)

    2.If you use a drive >2TB the total capacity of the drive is NOT 2TB it is a logical ‘AND’ of the addressable space bits, so if you install a 3TB drive you will only get ~1TB.
    This limits your disk drive options unless you are prepared to use the disk drives embedded command codes to limit the drives reported address space( “logical drive capacity” ), before putting them into the storage system.

    1. There is zero support for this old kit & zero updates.
    2. If you use it in a production environment… then you are very very stupid and deserve EVERYTHING you get…. (see point above)
    3. Ensure there is NOTHING on the drives before you start working, each manufacturers product has different software options and the SOFTWARE KEYS ARE DIFFERENT!!!!!, if you do a conversion your licence keys are no longer valid and the options that worked before will stop working. So if you have advanced snapshot enabled, after a conversion you will loose that function & plus any data you had associated with it.

    Hahaha no way people write code this way….
    Both sets of Firmware (Xyratex/Autodesk) are full of bugs, this may be due to the fact that the Software is clearly Xyratex with patches on top.
    Layer upon layer upon layer of patches & fixes…. and more FLAGS than an American Ticker-tape parade…….

    Lot’s and lots of hard coded shit….
    Yep… why code things like dates ,firmware revisions & code check-sums in a separate Data section… just inline it all into the code…

    Since it was easier to flash the chips I never got round to decoding the checksum routine for the roms….
    so no I don’t have a direct up-loadable firmware file to take an AutoDesk->Xyratex.. I could make one. but it’s all about motivation.

    There is a way to modify a Xyratex FW file so that it can be loaded over an AD firmware, bu if anything goes wrong you end up with dead kit and need to flash the onboard chips, it is non software recoverable…….

    How to get an upgrade?
    1. Own a chip programmer
    2. get the info from the monitor
    3. get a picture INSIDE the controller (yep.. there are different versions)
    4. Read out the Binary image on the chip
    5. zip it up
    6. send it to me to take a look

     

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