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Intel Wildcat Pass & Wolf Pass HS Backplane compatibility

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Greetings, as the Subject states I have a question relating the compatibility of High speed backplanes of the S2600WT and  S2600WF Systems. Specifically I would like to know if the "F2U8x25s3phs" backplane of the S2600WF platform is technically compatible to the S2600WT platform, in terms of Firmware compatibility (if needed) and maybe BMC support?

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Never mind, I found that info already weeks ago. That is the pinout of the Tri-mode-controller, not the backplane...

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Moderator
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Hello DragonX1979,


Thank you for contacting Intel Server Communities.


As per the information from the Spares, Parts List, and Configuration Guide for Intel® Server Board S2600WT Family:

(https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/articles/000005786/server-products.html).


The 2U 8x2.5inch SAS/NVMe Hot Swap Backplane F2U8X25S3PHS is not compatible with that Intel® Server Board S2600WT.


If you would like to verify other similar parts compatible with the system, I would like to suggest you check the link provided above.


However, in order to have a better understanding and provide you the most accurate information; can you provide me with more details about the implementation you are trying to accomplish?



Best regard,


Emeth O.

Intel Server Specialist.


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Thank you for your prompt reply, but actually that's the first thing I had a look at - including the Config guide of the Wolf Pass platform.

It's not really a surprise to me that its not mentioned in the Config guide, since the backplane has been introduced with the later platform. OcuLink wasn't available at all in the time before that.

But since the used communication Protocols apparently haven't changed and basically, only the connector type for the PCIe Interface differs, I can't rule out the possibility that it may still be compatible - even though it probably hasn't been tested.

However, if the newer backplane needs specific Firmware to run, compatibility wouldn't be likely.

The goal I'm trying to achieve is rather simple, to increase the number PCIe SSDs of the System...

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Hello DragonX1979,


Thank you for replying back.


The S2600WT and similar boards from previous server board families did not have NVMe native support (OcuLink) nor VROC support in the compatible CPUs.


For this matter, the A2U44X25NVMEDK and A1U44X25NMVEDK HSBP solutions are the only ones compatible with previous-generation boards, as those come with a PCIe NVMe controller that boards such as S2600WT do not have embedded.


F2U8X25S3PHS is an HSBP solution for boards that do have native embedded NVMe support such as S2600WF (newer family).


Please let me know if you still have more questions and I will be more than happy to assist you.


Regards,


Emeth O.

Intel Server Specialist.


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Moderator
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Hello DragonX1979, 


I would like to know if the information provided helps you to answer your questions.

If so, please let me know in order to proceed with the next step.


Have a wonderful day. 


Regards, 


Emeth O.

Intel Server Specialist. 


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Well, in terms of VROC I most certainly agree, that is apparently an "hardware assisted/implemented feature" and needs to be supported as such. Though I haven't paid too much attention to it because of that fact.

Though aside from that, I was "unaware" that PCIe NVMe, aside from UEFI/BIOS and OS driver support, needs specific "controllers" besides those on the drive itself.

Granted you need appropriate interface connections for the drives in case of SFF-8639, but that can be anything - Adapters, Re-timers, Switches, Host Bus Adapters or RAID-Controllers.


But from what I know, no PCIe HHHL or M.2 SSD needs specific additional controllers. So why should U.2?

The fact that the S2600WT implementation of U.2 NVMe needs an additional PCIe Re-timer card or PCIe Switch card is just based on the fact that the S2600WT Server board just didn't have on board connectors.
And almost the same applies to the Wolf Pass Platform - if you want more interfaces besides the on board ones, you just need a PCIe Switch card or Re-timer that can address "PCIe bifurcation", which the board ofc. needs to support.
And those are both available to both the S2600WF boards and the S2600WT boards, just with different connectors.

But to me all this is not really of interest. Because it doesn't answer my initial question.
"Does the Backplane need specific Firmware/BMC support that differs from S2600WT backplanes?"

The issue of missing OcuLink connectors can be simply addressed by an Intel or 3rd party HBA or RAID-Controller.

So if I "totally didn't get" something basic here, feel free to enlighten me.

Best Regards

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Hello DragonX1979,


Thank you for all the details provided.


Let me take a look at the information and as soon as possible, I will be getting back to you in order to provide you the most accurate information.


Regards,


Emeth O.

Intel Server Specialist.



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Moderator
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Hello DragonX1979, 


Thank you so much for your time. 


The combo backplanes (MiniSAS HD + Oculink), don't have the same component as of the ones for previous the board such as S2600WT, therefore any FW update is different between them.


The PCIe Switch cards and Retimers are designed for Purley families and Xeon Scalable processors.


Previous Grantley and Romley families did not have this kind of features as NVMe was starting to sell in the market, for that matter Intel came up with a backplane solution to be able to use 2.5 PCIe NVMe drives; however, only half of the backplane capacity can use NVMe drives, while the other half is for SATA/SAS.



For example in the A2U44X25NVMEDK (8 bays) on which 4 are NVMe compatible the other 4 are SATA/SAS only.


In the newer backplanes all 8 bays can be used as NVMe, SATA or SAS.


Adding an NVMe HBA with Oculink ports in S2600WT platforms could be tried; however, we cannot guarantee 100% compatibility nor we will support this usage model in an eventual issue that customers could face.


Please if you have additional information or more questions, let me know and I will be more than happy to assist you. 


Regards, 


Emeth O. 

Intel Server Specialist. 


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Well, then thank you for that information.

So I guess what you are saying is, the backplane "might" be compatible but it isn't tested and thus not officially supported or advised.

And firmware updates for the backplane won't work because they are done through the motherboard and that definitely isn't possible because the backplane is designed for Wolf Pass and Wildcat Pass can't update it or would even render it useless if trying.

Well, I have another question concerning the backplane of the Intel A2U44X25NVMEDK / A2U44X25NVMEDK2 sets. Is there any information on the pinout of the NVMe SFF-8643 Ports these use? Up until now I couldn't find anything like that, not in the manuals nor any online resource.

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Moderator
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Hello DragonX1979,


Sure, let me double-check the information and as soon as possible I will be getting back to you.


Regards,


Emeth O.

Intel Server Specialist.


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Moderator
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Hello DragonX1979, 


Thank you for your time. 


Please check the following information: 


Pinout of SFF 8643 is in:

https://www.intel.com/content/dam/support/us/en/documents/server-products/raid-products/Trimode_Stor...

(Refer Table 2.)


This article has some good info - https://www.intel.in/content/www/in/en/support/articles/000032265/server-products.html

https://www.intel.com/content/dam/support/us/en/documents/server-products/S2600WT_Config_Guide.pdf (Section 5.2)


Please keep in mind that non-tested configurations may have unexpected results.


Please let me know if you have more questions and I will be more than happy to assist you. 


Regards, 


Emeth O.

Intel Server Specialist. 


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Moderator
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Hello,


I was reviewing your thread and I would like to know if the information provided helps you to find the information you are looking for.

If so, please let me know in order to proceed with the next step.


Regards,


Emeth O.

Intel Server Specialist.


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Never mind, I found that info already weeks ago. That is the pinout of the Tri-mode-controller, not the backplane...

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Moderator
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Hello DragonX1979,


The pinout that was provided is an industry-standard for SFF-8643, so it the same for both the RAID controller connector and the hot-swap backplane.


We have a schematic that we can share with you but it would require an Non-Disclosure Agreement first. If you are interested then we can get the process going.


I will look forward for your comments


Regards


Jose A.

Intel Customer Support


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Hello DragonX1979,


I am just following up to double check if you found the provided information useful. If you have further questions please don't hesitate to ask. If you consider the issue to be completed please let us know so we can proceed to mark this thread as closed. This support interaction will be marked as resolved automatically in the next3 business days if no activity is received.


Regards


Jose A.

Intel Customer Support Technician


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Greetings, would you mind explaining how it is even possible for a Tri-mode controller to have the "same Pinout" as a backplane? Its a multi functional controller supporting both SAS/sata and PCIe and it specifically needs appropriate cables for each application. So either Sff-8643 with a pin out specific to SAS or OcuLink for PCIe on the other end of the cable. And its not like Sff-8643 defines a pin out, from what I know its just the connector type. That's why the controller uses a SFF-9402 pin out specific the those multi Protocol applications.

And to my knowledge that standard didn't even exist in 2014. more like 2016 and onwards.

And the fact that Intel doesn't even provide a specific cable for this controller to attach to PCIe SFF-8643 Backplanes - unlike Broadcom, is just another hint.

And even Broadcom specifies their Tri-Mode U.2 enabler cable for Supermicro Backplanes with white PCIe SFF-8643 only. Although I have no idea what pin out those use either, it might actually be the same as Intel's implementation, since those systems were also based on the Grantley platform. But who knows?

But that is the heart of the problem, in 2014/2015 there was no "Standard" for enterprise PCIe over SFF-8643 connectors unlike the U.2 Standard in consumer applications. Even official documents of the Flash Memory Summit from 2015 state that. "U.2 Host (SFF-8643) Pinout Vendor Specific in Data Center" is the exact phrase.

So if you guys cant tell me what pin out Intel used for those Backplanes who should?

 

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Moderator
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Hello DragonX1979,


I understand your concern. As we shared a couple posts ago, is it possible to provide you with an schematic diagram which is design information, thus, that is the reason why it requires a Non-Disclosure agreement between your company and Intel in order to protect confidentiality. If you are interested just let us know so we can start the process over private messaging.


Regards


Jose A.

Intel Customer Support


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Moderator
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Hello DragonX1979,


I am just following up to ask if you are still interested in have a copy of the backplane schematic and the Non-Disclosure Agreement process started. If no then let me know so I can proceed to mark this thread as closed.


Regards


Jose A.

Intel Customer Support Technician


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Moderator
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Hello DragonX1979,


We will proceed to mark this thread as resolved. If you have further issues or questions just go ahead and submit a new topic.


Regards


Jose A.

Intel Customer Support Technician


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