How does one tell the difference between e610f for mac and a channel e610?

  • Last Post 19 January 2017
Peet Mckinney posted this 19 January 2017

I'm in the secondary market for e610f storage units and/or controllers.  Most e-cyclers don't know whether they have a Vtrak for Mac or a channel Vtrak e610f.  Is there a serial number range or a distinct feature that is unique to either line?

I currently have serveral Vtrak for Mac controllers and would like to get away from the 2TB limitation and have firmware that's known to be compatible with the (mostly) current perfect path software for windows.




Order By: Standard | Latest | Votes
R P posted this 19 January 2017

Hi Peet,

The difference between a MAC and channel Ex10 is in the backplane VPD and the firmware, there is no external difference.

There is no way to change the backplane VPD except with factory tools.

If you have a mismatched controller and chassis, the controller will boot up in maintanance mode. You can flash the appropriate firmware from maintanance mode using the 'ptiflash' command and a tftp server (tftpd32 is free and works well). The 'about' command will tell you the firmware version, the channel fw will have 0000 as the vendor code and MAC will be 2270.

Also note that in the Ex10 the memory and firmware on both controllers has to match or you will see maintanance mode. The solution is to boot single controller and update the firmware to match that of the other controller. Since MAC controllers came with 2GB memory default and channel with 512MB, you cannot mix them without changing the memory so they match.

The latest channel firmware only supports SATA drives up to 2TB, larger SAS drives can be used, check the compatibility list.

There may be some wiggle room here, I believe that the SATA 2TB limit is a limitation of the AAMUX needed for dual controller operation. This means that larger SATA drives *might* work in single controller mode. I have not tested this.

Regarding perfect path, the latest PP has not been tested with the EX10 and is not supported, but it should work.



  • Liked by
  • Peet Mckinney
Peet Mckinney posted this 19 January 2017

I really do wish that Promise would release an equivalent SR for the Ex10 for Mac or just let them be flashed to channel. I understand that this arises from the deal with Apple, but it drives me batty that I spent much more money for a now less capable (yet still serviceable) array. 

That said, you did say something here that is new to me and I just want to make sure I'm clear ...

The real end-user-unsurmountable difference between the Mac and channel version of the Ex10 is the backplane VPD (Vital Product Data, just a flashed in model number?). Controllers flashed Mac won't function on channel chassises and channel flashed controllers won't function on Mac chassises. And because Promise doesn't release any sort ov VPD tool kit, there is no way to change the VPD on the back plane. Is this correct?

Honestly I'm glad this was apple's last foray into the enterprise world. It's a special kind of proprietary FU to their (once-loyal) customers. 

I know I'm not the only place stuck running these arrays because of budget reasons, it would be a great sevice if Promise released a channel SR that would run on either backplane VPD, unsupported, of course. That way whatever agreement was in place with Apple for their proprietary firmware on their proprietary chassis, but would allow for those still running the Mac boxes to more comfortablely repurpose them for other uses with other OS's. 

Thanks a million for the info.