Installing Windows Server 2012 R2 on My HP ProLiant Gen8 MicroServer

• May 12, 2014

 

By: John Stutsman

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Figure 1 – Preparing my Gen8 MicroServer for Installation of Server 2012 R2

 

Recently, I loaded MicroSoft Windows Server 2012 R2 (“Server 2012 R2” or “S2012R2”) onto my HP ProLiant Gen8 MicroServer using the HP Smart Array B120i RAID Controller and P222/512 FBWC RAID Controller to manage my OS and Data drives.

I attached to ports 1 & 2 of the HP Smart Array B120i RAID Controller (“B120i”) two (2) Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSDs in RAID0 partitioned into two (2) logical drives: 1 as my OS drive and the 2nd as a test data drive (seen on the top in the ODD space in Figure 1). Attached to ports 3 & 4 of the B120i were two (2) Western Digital WD10JFCX’s in RAID1 as a test data drive – both drives mounted on the Schoondoggy Drive Mount (“SDM”). Attached to the HP Smart Array P222/512 FBWC RAID Controller (“P222”) were four more Western Digital WD1500HLHX’s as Data drives mounted in the main four drive bay in the front of the MicroServer.

I used Western Digital WD1500HLHX as Data drives simply because I didn’t have any large capacity drives available to do my test’s with. The 5th generation WD1500HLHX have enabled me to load the P222 and test different configurations.

 

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Figure 2 — Installed Firmware Version information via iLO4

 

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Figure 3 — As shown in iLO4 I have upgrade my CPU to a Xeon E3-1265L V2

 

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Figure 4 — My OS drive (Disk 0 in Figure 10) was configured with a ~120GB Logical Drive carved out of 2 Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD’s (seen Figure 1) in RAID0 on the B120i RAID Controller

 

I installed Server 2012 R2 using HP’s Intelligent Provisioning 1.6 after creating a 120GB Logical Drive 01 in the B120i that would be my OS Drive (see Figure 4). Later, I created additional Logical Drives on the B120i and P222 (see Figures 5, 6, 7 & 10).

 

Video 1 — Installing Server 2012 R2 on My Gen8 MicroServer Using IP 1.6:

 

 

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Figure 5 – I carved out a 2nd Logical drive (Disk 1 in Figure 10) out of the ~356GB remaining on the 2 Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD’s (in Figure 1) in RAID0 on the B120i RAID Controller

 

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Figure 6 – For my Logical Drive 03 on the B120i I put two 2.5” WD10JFCX’s in a RAID1 (Disk 2 in Figure 10)

 

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Figure 7 – For my Logical Drive 01 off of the P222/512 FBWC RAID Controller I put 4 2.5” WD1500HLHX’s in RAID5 (Disk 3 in Figure 10)

 

Figures 8 & 9 demonstrate my successful installation of Server 2012 R2 with HP’s Intelligent Provisioning 1.6.

 

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Figure 8 – As shown: Windows Server 2012 R2 successfully installed by HP’s Intelligent Provisioning 1.6

 

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Figure 9 – Another confirmation of Windows Server 2012 R2 successfully installed by HP’s Intelligent Provisioning 1.6

 

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Figure 10 – A view of the partitions (Drives) in the Gen8 with Computer Management, Disk 4 is a 3TB external USB 3.0 disk drive to be used for Server Backup. The size of the Drive C Volume has been reduced from the original size of slightly under 120GB to 117.11GB shown for Disk 0 in order for Server Backup to work correctly (see Figure 11).

 

In December 2013 I had issues installing Server 2012 R2 with an earlier version of Intelligent Provisioning and rather than do a manual installation I tried, successfully, installing Server 2012 with Intelligent Provisioning, or so I thought. At the time I was experiencing errors with Server Backup until I learned in the Technet Forums that by shrinking the C drive with Windows’ Disk Management it corrected a mismatch between what Intelligent Provisioning said the OS drive size was and what Server Backup was seeing.

After I finished the installation of Server 2012 R2 with Intelligent Provisioning 1.6 I set up Server Backup and got the same type of failures (see Figure 11) I was seeing in December 2013 with Server 2012 installed with the earlier version of Intelligent Provisioning. After shrinking the C drive with Windows Disk Management by about 2.5GB (see Figure 10) I found that Server Backup worked as shown in the successful entry in Figure 11 (and it has continued to work since then).

HP’s Intelligent Provisioning is a great tool that speeds up the installation of an OS by automating the updating of firmware and installation of all drivers but based on my experience with Server 2012 and now Server 2012 R2 – it appears that in order to get Server Backup to work successfully it is necessary to shrink the OS (i.e. C Drive) drive in Windows’ Disk Management. I have seen no other issues with Server 2012 R2 installed with Intelligent Provisioning.

In the future I plan to test to see if an Intelligent Provisioning install produces the same Server Backup issue with Server 2012 R2 Essentials. If it does this may be problematic for home users if they are not planning for the need to “shrink” the C drive slightly after their Intelligent Provisioning install of Server 2012 R2 Essentials in order for Server Backup to work properly.

 

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Figure 11 – Initially Server Backup failed but after reducing the volume of the OS drive I began seeing successful server backups.

 

One of the things I wanted to check out on this setup was the performance of two (2) Samsung 840 Pro’s as my OS drive – or in this case a Logical Drive made out of a 120GB portion of the two (2) Samsung 840 Pro’s in RAID0. As figure 12 illustrates the performance was excellent and it is noticeable to me compared to using a single SSD as an OS drive. The responsiveness was wonderful, in my opinion. I certainly want to do some more testing with this concept. As always, Your Mileage May Vary (“YMMV”).

 

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Figure 12 – Performance of the OS drive (Drive C) was excellent. (Disk 0 in Figure 10)

 

 

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Figure 13 — Performance of the Data Drive F. (Disk 1 in Figure 10)

 

 

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Figure 14 — Performance of the Data Drive E. (Disk 2 in Figure 10)

 

 

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Figure 15 — Performance of the Data Drive G. (Disk 3 in Figure 10) I believe because of the enabled cache on the P222 the ATTO readings were meaningless so they were not included in the Figure. Data Drive G was made up of 4 WD1500HLHX 150GB Drives in RAID5 on the P222/512 FBWC giving me a logical drive of 450GB.

 

 

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Figure 16 — Seagate 3TB USB3 External Drive performance with HDTune — used for Server Backup (Disk 4 in Figure 10)

 

 

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Figure 17 — Temperature Results after several days operation at Idle conditions. This is with the Fan Mods described and shown in the HSS Thread P222 Temperature in Gen8

 

 

The As-Built for my Gen8 (as pictured in Figure 1 and Figure 18):

Machine

 

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Figure 18 — During install with External DVD Drive attached

 

Please join us in the HSS Gen8 Forums with any question and/or comments on the above and other threads.

 

NOTE: These are the details of my installation of S2012R2 onto my Gen8 MicroServer that I have talked about in many previous write-ups and discussions in the Forums and on the Blog of HomeServerShow.

 

References:

ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 Links

Gen8 Blog posts

MicroServer Blog posts

Installing WHS2011 on the HP ProLiant Gen8 MicroServer using the B120i and P222

Installing WHS-2011 on the HP ProLiant Gen8 MicroServer with AHCI Enabled

HP ProLiant Gen8 MicroServer Configuration

SGDM-SDM Pre-Production Review: HP ProLiant Gen8 MicroServer

Array Performance with WHS2011 on Gen8

A Fun Performance Test on Gen8

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Category: Hard Drives, HP Microserver, RAID, SSD, Windows Home Server

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