For the past few months, I've been running a Sun Ultra 40 M2 coupled with a 3Ware 9650SE SATA RAID controller. It would seem that this is a marriage made in heaven.
As I've remarked before, the Ultra 40 M2 is simply the most powerful workstation available from a mainstream vendor today. Armed with two AMD Opteron 2218 dual-core CPUs, up to 16GB RAM, eight hot-swap SAS or SATA drive bays, two PCI-X slots, built-in 7.1 sound, S/PDIF optical input and output, a dual-layer DVD burner, and (in my case) an nVidia Quadro 5500 graphics card, this system is the creme de la creme of the workstation world. The only downside is the relatively anemic nVidia SATA RAID controller built into the mainboard. The performance of this controller isn't terrible, but the Linux driver support simply isn't there. Enter the 3Ware 9650SE.
The 3Ware 9650SE-8LPML I have running in this system is a full-on 8-port SATA RAID controller with 256MB RAM and an optional battery-backup unit. There are two four-port SATA multilane connectors on the card, which can be used to marry the 9650SE to a multilane-capable disk array, or to individual SATA drives with multi-lane to discrete cabling. In the case of the Ultra 40 M2, however, multilane to SAS cabling is needed. Fortunately, the built-in nVidia controller uses multilane connectors to feed the disk backplanes within the Ultra 40 chassis, but the included cables aren't long enough to reach the 9650SE. Sun can supply cables of appropriate length to reach the card, however.
Once I had the right cables, it was simply a matter of cable routing to each backplane connector and then back into the 9650SE. The fan tray that sits to the left of the disk bays can get in the way here, but some creative cable management within the case made everything fit and look like it was meant to be there. I placed eight 250GB SATA drives in the disk cages, and powered the system on. The 9650SE posted, found all the drives, and all was well.