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mediabiz

RAID 5 options & setup

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mediabiz

Hi everyone,

New to the forum and my first post - hope somebody can help.

 

I just purchased the HP N40L Microserver and a copy of WHS 2011. I've got the supplied 250Gb HDD plus 4 x 2Tb HDD's. I've been looking through the posts but I've got a specific question that I cant find an answer for:

 

I really want to setup the 250Gb HDD as my boot, OS and App drive. I would like to setup the remaining 4 x 2Tb Hdd's in RAID 5 (keeping them separate from the OS HDD).

I believe I'm able to use the ODD SATA port to connect the OS HDD to, leaving the 4 bays for the RAID 5 array. From what I have read, this can be done using the stock HP BIOS but the OS HDD is limited in speed and will affect the overall speed of the server. I'm also aware that a hacked BIOS overcomes this, allowing the ODD SATA port to run at full speed.

 

Here's my problem - I'm really nervous about flashing the BIOS as I've read a significant number of posts regarding users "bricking" thier N40L's and me being me. if sh#t is going to happen, it'll happen to me!

I can live with a slight speed handicap but are we talking about a slight speed reduction or significant?

 

If the speed reduction IS significant, what is the most risk free way to flash the BIOS - I got a yellow pamphlet in the box with the N40L regarding recovering from a failed BIOS flash but none of the links in the pamphlet seem to point to the relevant files required to create a BIOS recovery solution.

 

Any help would be much appreciated.

 

Cheers.

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jmwills

Welcome to the Forums!

 

If you are nervous about flashing the BIOS, you can accomplish the same end goal by creating the Array from within Windows. Alternately, you can get a dedicated RAID card such at the High Point Rocket Raid 2720 and have all of the heavy work done by the card. The array would be transportable to a new system as it would not be OS dependent.

 

I've done it both ways and like the dedicated card. More reliable and certainly more flexible in terms of expandability.

 

Joe_Miner, our resident N40L expert, will certainly chime in but I don't think the speed issue will be that much of an issue.

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ikon

I was gonna say, just what is the difference in speed of the ODD port between stock BIOS and flashed one? Did HP use SATA I for the ODD port in the stock BIOS?

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Joe_Miner

Welcome to the Forums Mediabiz.

 

The only way to know if the 250GB attached to the ODD SATA Port on the MB is satisfactory for you is to test it by trying it yourself. You can attach it first to the ODD SATA Port then compare it to the regular HD cage by moving the drive to the cage. If you’re not satisfied with the response they you’ll want to consider flashing the BIOS.

 

Before doing ANYTHING I would suggest taking the time to read through the literature available at the links at the MicroServer subForum http://homeserversho...hp-microserver/

 

There is a multipaged thread on Modified BIOS for MicroServer N40L Enables Hidden Features that is a must read through.

 

Another important thread is More Interesting MicroServer Links – spend some quality time there and go thru EVERY link

 

The MicroServer N40L is a Small Business Server and HP has a ton of information and support out there – explore and learn where that Information is!

 

 

Please check out the latest Step-By-Step Guide in HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer Build and BIOS Modification Revisitededited 2-3-2013

 

 

For instance, the 4th link on the “More Interesting MicroServer Links” page is titled ROM Firmware Upgrade from HP

At that page on HP’s website download the file SP54344.exe to your laptop or desktop and follow HP’s instructions to create a USB that can flash your BIOS.

 

 

 

 

 

 

USB Key - HPQUSB.exe is a Windows-based utility to locally partition, format and copy necessary files to a USB flash media device (e.g. HP Drive Key) through the Windows environment. The created USB flash media device is made bootable and ready to locally restore and/or update the firmware on the system.

1. Obtain a formatted USB Key media.

2. Download the SoftPaq to a directory on a system running Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, or Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and change to that directory.

3. From that drive and directory, execute the downloaded SoftPaq file: Simply double click on the SPxxxxx.exe file and follow the installation wizard to complete the SoftPaq installation process. At the end of a successful installation of the SoftPaq a web page will automatically appear to provide you with the different methods for restoring and/or upgrading the firmware on the system.

4. After the USB Key is created, you may delete the downloaded file if you wish.

5. Insert this USB Key into the USB Key port of the system to be updated and power the system on to boot to the USB Key.

 

If you followed HP’s instructions (above) now you would be re-installing the factory BIOS currently on your N40L. This may be handy to have on a spare USB stick. Now create another USB stick with the Factory BIOS installed on it.

 

If you look at the USB stick you just created with Windows Explorer you’ll see (if you don't get these 11 files you may need to re-install the HP program):

fat32lba.bss

Flash.bat

IBMBIO.COM

IBMDOS.COM

Kbd.exe

kernel.sys

O41072911.ROM

Readme.1st

Readme.txt

Rev_hist.ext

syslinux.cfg

 

gallery_1229_27_9649.jpg

 

To flash the MOD BIOS you could use DieHard’s Link and in post #5 of that thread Camiloml has a link to the zipped file o41072911mod.rar

o41072911mod.rar is what you want. Un-zip it with Winzip or some other SW package and you’ll have the file o41072911mod.rom thanks to the hard work of the people at BIOS-MODS!

 

Rename o41072911mod.rom to o41072911.rom and replace the file O41072911.ROM on your USB stick created by HP with o41072911.rom – (IMPORTANT: the ROM file begins with the letter Oh NOT the number Zero – this is where many screw up and crash and burn)

 

Now, with your USB stick with the MOD ROM file replacing the Stock/factory BIOS ROM (notice the file names were the same and they are the same size) you can flash your BIOS per HP’s instructions

 

When I did it I removed all hard drives from my MicroServer – inserted the USB stick and turned the MicroServer on.

 

The MicroServer does it’s thing and takes you to a C:\ prompt.

 

Reboot and hit F10 to get into your new BIOS and make the changes outlined elsewhere in the Forums to speed up all your ports.

Edited by Joe_Miner

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ikon

Are you suggesting a microserver post actually be located in a microserver forum? What ARE you thinking? :D

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Joe_Miner

Maybe a Forum Administrator/Moderator could move this thread to the MicroServer Sub Forum -- I'm thinking that would be a better place for it. Thanks!

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mediabiz

Thanks for the quick reply guys.

Firstly I'll try try option Joe suggested and install the 250Gb HDD in the ODD bay, then compare it to the cage - I'll pass on my findings.

I intended on trying the WHS2011 inbuilt software RAID 5 but I have read a few negative comments - some regarding WHS's implementation of software RAID 5 and a few bagging RAID in any form! Unfortunately, as I dont have the disposable cash that some of the latter individuals seem to have (I cant afford to setup another 8Tb of on-line storage to backup the entire server to every night), I thought that RAID 5 was the best compromise as far as data security versus available disk space.

I'll also give the firmware flash a crack a little further down the track once I get this 5 HDD install and RAID 5 issue under control.

 

Thanks again guys
:)

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ikon

1. thanks for doing the testing and reporting back; look forward to seeing the results.

2. pay the RAID5 nay-sayers no mind. I've been using RAID5 since the late 80s or early 90s with great success (and it's gotten better over the years). Just get a decent RAID card and realize RAID is a form of redundancy, not a backup. If you plan on using it as your main backup, you're asking for trouble. In fact, I would go so far as to predict you will lose data at some point.

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jmwills

Why would HP make the speed of the ODD port and faster than the backplane? Makes no sense, at least not to this feeble old mind.

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ikon

Actually, I was thinking, if anything (and I agree ti would be weird), they might have made it slower. Can't think of a good reason for them to do that, but companies have done things in the past that baffled everyone.

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