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New gen 8 Build - Help with Drive setup Please! SSD/4x8tb/1220/16gb


wasas
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Hello from Down unda!

 

I have a new to me gen8 which I wish to setup similar to my current n36l.  My hardware is as follows; 256 SSD (with USB or Sata), 4x8tb WD red, 16gb Ram, a 1220 4c/4t 69w cpu.  I dont wish to run a p222 or other addin card.

I wish to run ESXi from the SSD, and have the 4 HDD's presented to UBUNTU to setup a Mdadm raid5 array.     Ubuntu will from from the SSD as a virtual image.  The SSD will contain a number of other windows VM's for basic lab work.

 

My issues after doing a whole bunch of research here and reading 100's of forums posts are;   the ODD will not boot unless the disk is raid0, however this means each HDD is presented in raid as well,   not achi,     Running the SSD off the onboard USB is an option but its only USB2.

 

I currently have ESXi installed on the SSD via odd sata,  set as raid 0. Is there a better hardware configuration to suit the 4x8tb mdadm radi5 array I wish to create?  the CPU supports VT-d so I was hoping to utilize that if possible.   my objective is to be able to remove the HDD's and install into any other system and connect the mdadm raid5 without issue. 

 

 

The Ideal solution would be that the BIOS supports boot order on ACHI, as it would allow to run any drive from the ODD with ESXi and then configure the storage disks as you see fit, but HP seemed to overlook that bit of info.   So i'm asking everyone out there,   whats the next best way to configure this?

 

 

TLDR;   want mdadm raid5 in ubuntu, booting off ODD for esxi.

 

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  • wasas changed the title to New gen 8 Build - Help with Drive setup Please! SSD/4x8tb/1220/16gb
5 minutes ago, schoondoggy said:

Have you tried booting/running ESXi from USB?

 

Not at this point, but its a option should no other become available.    

 

 

I am printing a number of 3d brackets for the Gen8 now,  (https://www.yeggi.com/q/microserver+gen8/) so there is a option to run 2x ssd's,   one from the ODD and one from the onboard USB2.      Possibly ESXI off onboard USB2, and then have the ESXI datastore on ODD SSD, and pass through the 4x8tb's direct to ubuntu?        Would that have a performance impact?    is there any downside to running esxi from a USB2 port?

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I have not seen any issues with booting ESXi from USB. I tend to pass through controllers rather than individual drives. On the Gen8 the four front bays are on the same SATA controller as the ODD, so you can't pass through the controller to a VM. I know you said you did not want to install an add in card, but that maybe the easiest way to achieve your goals. An LSI controller connected to the four front bays could be passed through to a VM. Then you could plug a fanout SATA cable into the onboard controller and run up to four more SSD/HDD internal.

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Really was hoping to avoid an additional card/controller., other wise I'd get a p222 and a cache to run hardware raid5, but thats ~$150 or more.

 

so running the ESXi host and other VM's off the USB SSD will work, and then pass the controller to ubuntu so it has access to all 5 ports.   however this means I get stuck with USB2 speeds for all VM's?   damn.  any other possibilities? 

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You can try just passing through individual drives to see if that works for your use. ESXi has evolved a good deal. It has become more friendly to AHCI. ESXi runs from memory, so you can boot from a plain USB stick. If you want to try passing through a controller LSI IT cards start around $50. I would not try to run VM's on a USB SSD.

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To get the ODD to boot however, I need it to be setup in Raid mode, which means the other drives are JBOD or raid0 too.   How does esxi handle pass through in that situation?

 

If ESXI runs from Memory, would loading esxi from a USB, then using the ODD SSD as a datastore I could launch Ubunutu and pass the disks directly to the OS?

 

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That is the idea. Only thing is, you passthru the entire 120 controller, so you loose your ssd datastore as it is on the same controller.

You can also passthru disks via RDM but it’s a dirty solution and you loose the ability to read the mdadm raidset on another machine i suppose.

You’re better of purchasing a sas2008 controller, can be had for $40~50 on fleabay.

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mmm   was really hoping to avid another controller.   What about booting ESXI off the onbaord SD, then having the ubunutu guest running off a USB-> SSD,   and then I can pass all the b120 ports to the ubuntu guest?

 

defies the main reasoning to have esxi though, as I could just run ubunutu off the USB and do the mdadm raid anyway, without the hassle of loading esxi first.

Stupid HP...  just needs a boot order on the ACHI portion of the b120!!!!

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You can always boot grub from usb and have linux reside on the ssd, then there is no need to boot from the ssd

However esxi does have advantages.
I still prefer vm’s over dockers or containers.

But sounds like you have enough knowledge to make that decision

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