3ware support told me the 9690SA would not support controlling an external LTO4 with a sas interface. Does this make sense? Shouldn't a SAS controller support what ever hooks to the SAS bus? I was interested in hooking 4 sata drives internal and one LTO4 external
LSI support said, "The card is not designed to function in initiator/target fashion as it selects to pass up RAID volumes or JBOD disks. A tape drive is not addressed as such and would not be supported with the controller. This does not necessarily mean that the tape backup for certain will not function with the controller, only that it is not tested and is not a supported configuration for the product by LSI/3ware."
But since both the card and the LTO4 can be connected via SFF-8088 to SFF-8088 cable, I will give it a shot. If the card supports all the sas transmission protocols (SMP, STP, and SSP) then everything should work.
I am disappointed to report the $400+ 3Ware 9690SA SAS controller card is not a true HBA, capable of controlling an external HP StoargeWorks Ultrium 1760 SAS LTO4 drive. When i connected the card to the tape drive, with a SAS 8088 to 8088 cable, and boot the system, during the boot, the card's rom reports a SAS error. Booted to Linux 2.6.30-gentoo-r6 kernel, with loaded 3ware 9xxx SATA-RAID module (CONFIG_SCSI_3W_9XXX=y) the system sees the card, but the card does not show up in /proc/scsi/scsi. I am going to try the HP Smart Array Controller P212 256MB Cache (462834-B21) next.