Just a quick note to the readers out there looking at a RAID controller, there is a scorching hot deal on the IBM ServeRAID M5014 RAID controller with BBU right now. I recently was looking to populate controllers for my new Windows Server 2012 machine, and noticed the IBM ServeRAID M1015 prices were much higher than a few months ago at around $90-100 (see this ebay search.) The IBM ServeRAID M1015 series Pieter ed is extremely popular and probably contributed to prices going up. I then looked at other options, including the IBM ServeRAID M5014. These cards generally sell on ebay for around $170-$300 depending on the configuration. Let’s just say I ordered one of the options and got a lot more than I paid for. Then I did it three more times to confirm the deal before posting this.
Recently I did a search for the IBM ServeRAID M5014 and saw a no-bracket M5014 part 46M0916-B2 for $130.30 with free shipping and tax in California. That is just over $140 all-in because the seller uses 9.25% California tax. A bit of a bummer since local tax is just under 9% but I digress. Also, I should point out that you do get $2.61 in ebay bucks if you are signed up for it. The big catch, again with this deal is that it does not come with a bracket.
For those wondering, the IBM ServeRAID M5014 is a LSI SAS 2108 based RAID cards with 256MB of onboard cache, very similar to the LSI 9260-8i and IBM M5015, just with half of the cache. As with some other IBM ServeRAID cards, you only get RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 and 50 but no RAID 6 and RAID 60 with the cards. If you really want, this can be added via feature key as can features such as CacheCade.
What you can see here first is no bracket. Second, there are two SFF-8087 ports. Next on the PCB is a heatsink to cool the LSI SAS 2108. The large black devices with lo lead markings is the battery back up unit (BBU.) Underneath there you would see 256MB of cache onboard. Really this is a must for RAID 5 and RAID 6 arrays. That is what makes up the IBM ServeRAID M5014 cards. The IBM ServeRAID M5015 and LSI 9260-8i are nearly identical, but they do have additional memory packages populated and do support both RAID 6 and RAID 60.
For those wondering, the typical price of a IBM ServeRAID M5014 plus BBU is in the $250-300 range as BBUs cost around $100 each themselves. The drawback with the SAS 2108 is that you do not get the same pass-through options as with the newer LSI SAS 2208 based cards. On the other hand, getting the IBM ServeRAID M5014 for this price is great. Here is one of the BBU:
You can head directly to this ebay listing where we purchased four of the IBM ServeRAID M5014 RAID controllers for $130.30 each (with BBU but no PCI brackets.) Might be worth picking one up before they are gone. I already have received four, all with BBUs. If you do need RAID 6 or RAID 60, the LSI 9260-8i may be a better option just because the IBM ServeRAID M5000 feature key costs around $200 to enable RAID 6 and 60.