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N54L & HP P410 Smart Array, Troubleshooting & Firmware


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I've been running my N54L for a couple of years running VMware ESXi and recently I decided to upgrade the disk controller to a HP P410 to enable native RAID5 support in VMWare, the reason for the P410 was cost £15 from eBay.

 

So I have a couple of challenges:

  • Installed the P410 ad purchased a separate 256Mb cache module required to enable RAID5 support, I installed the controller and spent a day troubleshoot a problem whereby not disks were discovered and I had a constant initialising spinner during the BIOS startup. Having read on the internet that this maybe due to a faulty cache module I removed the cache and suddenly controller initialises quickly, F8 Setup options are available and disks are correctly displayed. So its looking like the cache could be a problem but may a firmware update resolve thinks, see next question.
  • Firmware update, what is the quickest and easiest way to update the firmware assuming that I do not have a Windows operating system installed boots from ESXi from USB, is there an update firmware CD available, see next question.
  • HP SmartStart CD, so good old HP make it impossible to now download the most up to date update CD which would hopefully update my firmware. So I've managed to track down a link to the latest .ISO file which is from the HP site not some unknown torrent site and burned the image to a CD (also used bootable USB). My HP N54L successfully boots from the CD and starts loading but then just hangs on the main screen, is this a known problem, is there a work around or is there a version of SmartStart that is known to work on the N54L?

Thanks for any help, the intention once I have the above problems resolved is to run a Linux Active Directory domain controller, Endian 3 firewall & virtual Synology server all these servers are working I just need to have a little resilience and the reason for RAID5. To be honest I'm almost wondering if RAID5 adds any benefits at the moments as I have a pair of 1GB Disks & a pair of 1.5TB these are mirrored so I have a total of 2.5TB of space full resilient, if I RAID5 the 1.5TB disks will fall back to 1TB capacity resulting in either 4TB or 3TB with 1TB Spare?

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