Well after some freaky months of numerous issues coupled with having to spend money on other projects I finally have my systems at the proper foundation hardware & base OS roles and assignments moving forward!
The main issue that I had was that the SAS RAID daughter cards initially didn’t quite work the way I wanted even with the specialty connector’s that I ordered for my Intel S5000XAL motherboards. I initially ordered these because they were quite a bit less expensive than the internal cards plus the information out there was sketchy for this motherboard and I incorrectly thought the external daughter cards also had internal connectors and I was wrong. I also ended up with some faulty SAS drives so that combination didn’t help.
I updated and downgraded the SAS daughter card firmware several times but with that combination of bad drives & incompatible SAS daughter cards & specialty customized cables I connected externally then ran internally there were way too many issues!
I finally ended up buying the internal SAS daughter board cards and they didn’t work with the drives so I really thought I was against it. Next step I purchased another SAS RAID card for another system and tested the drives and the drives didn’t respond to that SAS controller either.
I finally brought in two new Dell systems 1850 & 1950 which has SAS and I confirmed that the drives I had were bad by trying to use them in the Dell 1950 SAS drive bays. I then took one of the known good drives off of the 1950 and tested with the internal SAS controller cards on my custom system with the S500XAL motherboards and they worked just fine.
So now I have the two identical systems with the S5000XAL motherboards in custom 2U cases and the two Dells systems in my environment which are 1u.
I will use one Dell system for my web server for now and the other for my management server running Open source application monitoring software, backups and software in that genre. The two custom built identical systems with my Intel S5000XAL motherboards will run VMware. I will then load Solaris x86 on either my former web server or another VMware system I have already in my environment and the other will be my duplicate web server.
I have other systems that will play a flex role and I will use for tests and filling in holes in the environment and/or development.