Low Queue Depth on HP Smart Array Controller

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HP Smart Array Controllers P2x , P4x, and P7x should have Queue Depths (AQLEN) of 1000 or more and also the Device Queue Depth (DQLEN) should be in the hundreds.

The reason you see AQLEN or DQLEN of 28 is because you have installed a VMware driver that has a bug in it.

If you run the below command
esxcli software vib list | grep hpsa

and it returns the below value
scsi-hpsa 5.5.0.58-1OEM.550.0.0.1331820 Hewlett-Packard VMwareCertified 2014-03-13

then you can fix this issue by upgrading the driver to hpsa driver version 114 (from December 2015), hpsa-5.5.0.114-3153771.zip for ESXi 5.5 for instance.

Use command to upgrade the driver
esxcli software vib update –no-sig-check –v scsi-hpsa-5.5.0.114-1OEM.550.0.0.1331820.x86_64.vib

Reboot the host and you will see the AQLEN at 1011 or 1024.

However the DQLEN for the SSDs connected to the hosts might still be at 14 or 28 or some such low number. To fix the DQLEN do the below

Problem : Low DQLEN on HP Smart Array Controller P220i despite the AQLEN being 1000+

First install hpssacli on the host. This utility lets you create/modify/delete logical drives, modify raid controller settings without rebooting the host and without getting into the BIOS of ESXi during reboot.

Hpssacli is part of hp-HPUtil-esxi5.5-bundle-1.6-25.zip. Install the *.zip file entirely on the host.

First type the below to see if the adapter is claimed by the correct driver
esxcli storage core adapter list

/opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller slot=0 show config
To see config for the Raid controller
The config should match the config listed below.

Smart Array P220i in Slot 0 (Embedded)
Bus Interface: PCI
Slot: 0
Serial Number: PCQVU0BRH3L5GG
Cache Serial Number: PBKHV
RAID 6 (ADG) Status: Enabled
Controller Status: OK
Hardware Revision: B
Firmware Version: 5.42
Rebuild Priority: Low
Expand Priority: Medium
Surface Scan Delay: 15 secs
Surface Scan Mode: Idle
Queue Depth: Automatic
Monitor and Performance Delay: 60 min
Elevator Sort: Enabled
Degraded Performance Optimization: Disabled
Inconsistency Repair Policy: Disabled
Wait for Cache Room: Disabled
Surface Analysis Inconsistency Notification: Disabled
Post Prompt Timeout: 0 secs
Cache Board Present: True
Cache Status: OK
Cache Ratio: 25% Read / 75% Write
Drive Write Cache: Disabled
Total Cache Size: 512 MB
Total Cache Memory Available: 304 MB
No-Battery Write Cache: Disabled
Cache Backup Power Source: Capacitors
Battery/Capacitor Count: 1
Battery/Capacitor Status: OK
SATA NCQ Supported: True
Spare Activation Mode: Activate on physical drive failure (default)
Controller Temperature (C): 56
Cache Module Temperature (C): 0
Capacitor Temperature (C): 23
Number of Ports: 1 Internal only
Driver Name: hpsa
Driver Version: 5.5.0.114-1OEM
Driver Supports HP SSD Smart Path: False

If QD is not automatic, type the below to set it to automatic
/opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller slot=0 modify queuedepth=automatic

Then delete the logical drive
/opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller slot=0 logicaldrive 2 delete

Then run the below commands to create a logical drive with the one SSD to be used as cache device and set arrayaccelerator to enabled, SSDsmartpath to disable, and Raid Controller caching as below

/opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli ctrl slot=0 create type=ld drives=1I:1:2 raid=0 arrayaccelerator=enable ssdsmartpath=disable
/opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli controller slot=0 logicaldrive 2 modify caching=enable
/opt/hp/hpssacli/bin/hpssacli logicaldrive 2 modify cacheratio=25/75

Reboot host.

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