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steff

Microserver g8: my first impression and questions.

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steff

I recently got a HP Microserver g8 1610 to run @ home as a NAS, in order to replace old DLink NAS boxes.

 

First of all che quality\price ratio is very positive, since che Microserver is really well built.

 

Anyway... I loaded 4x WD RED 4TB each one.

I do not want to use the embedded RAID controller, since it can not run RAID5 and moreover in case of failure of the server, I can not mount the volumes without another similar HP RAID card.

My goal is to run Ubuntu Server, with SAMBA, SSH and nothing more... maybe a media server.

 

I decided not to install the OS in the 4TB HDD, but somewhere else, and... problems rise... as I can read in this forum elsewhere. Let me resume what I am facing:

 

1) The server always boots from the first HDD in the cage. This is not good for me... 4x HDD in the cage need to be for data only, GPT

I wish to boot from a SSD installed in the optical slot (unused).but the boot process loops from SCSI1 (HDD cage slot1), SCSI2 (HDD slot2), SCSI3, SCSI4 (slot4), finally SCSI5 that is the internal SATA port on the MOBO, so... if there is something in the cage... even without an OS... it will boot from there, and will fail!

The 4 HDD slot in the cage are under the same SATA controller #1, while the onboard SATA port (SCSI5) is in the second controller.

THere is no way to select the SCSI port to boot from (... good old Adaptec SCSI controller... ), but I noticed that if AHCI is disabled, then we can select to boot from the second SATA controller that controls the onboard SATA.

To do that I have to disable AHCI that moreover prevents to manage correctly the power management (suspend, spin down, etc.) of HDDs.

 

is there a way to fix this issue?

 

2) The server's FAN runs always @ 36% of the speed, even when the server does nothing at all. :-( and everyhing it totally cold

I put the microserver in the refrigerator withlut the case  :-) :-) :-) .... again 36% of the speed so I suppose it does not depend on the temperature.

Why? Who control the fan's speed?

 

 

3) Power consumption: after the OS completes the boot process, with 4 WD RED installed, I measure 36 watt.

When the server is powered off, plugged in the AC, I measure 5 watt. not too bad since it is more or less the same as a 4bay Qnap with Intel ATOM, but the microserver is better 

 

thanks.

 

Stef

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psikey

The G8 uses more standby power because of iLO4 which is effectively a mini low powered PC operating even when main power is off I believe. Mine uses ~5w compared to ~1w with the N54L. Nothing you can do about it really.

 

The fan issue in AHCI is currently being looked at by HP who have confirmed its a BIOS issue with the fan tables. Nobody knows yet when the fix will be issued so if you must run in AHCI you will have the fan noise for now. In RAID card controlled operation the fan idles at around 6% which is nearly silent with my upgrade E3-1265LV CPU.

 

If your not using the PCI-e slot for anything else then a low cost, sub £15 PCI-e card can be used and make that the boot controller. I bought one with 1 x SATA3 internal and and 1 x SATA3 eSATA on the back seeing as the G8 doesn't have the eSATA like the N36/40/54L. Also allows SATA port multiplier. (I bought this one http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003N3FP2O/ref=oh_details_o01_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 but a single SATA card is cheaper)

 

There is a hack booting off a USB somewhere in these threads which then points to the optical SATA but I didn't do that myself.

 

You can use the B120i and create all 5 single RAID drives which will then let you boot off the optical if you use the RAID wizard. I currently use this configuration myself with an SSD on the Optical SATA as my WIn8Pro boot disk then 4 individual WD 4TB RED in the bays. I then use Stablebit DrivePool to create one big pool with folder level file duplication. The only downside is no hard drive sleep, but many say drives last better if left spinning but will add ~ 15W to power use with 4 x TB WD RED.

 

I do also have the P222 RAID card which can do RAID5 with the drive bays (plus 4 external drives later) and keep the B120i optical as the SSD OS boot drive but don't currently need to use this and it does increase power use by ~20W

Edited by psikey

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steff

Thanks for the answer.

 

Today with my DLINK, if the box fails, I can pull out the HDD, connect them to any other Windows\Linux box and I can access the filesystem (ext2).

I have several experiences from my old job as sys admin in managing HP\Compaq RAID array and I wish to avoid to have HDD not accessible if direct attaching them to a Windows\Linux box.

 

Question: if I build single RAID drive... will the HDDs be visible without the HP RAID controller ?

 

Thanks.

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jmwills

A RAID "Drive" is not accessible without the controller unless it is a RAID 1

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schoondoggy

A RAID "Drive" is not accessible without the controller unless it is a RAID 1

I agree, but,,, I have found with the single drive RAID 0 on the B120i, I can move those drives back to non-HP RAID systems. I have a drive with Win Server 2012 that I move between servers to boot.

The OP should do a test to confirm, but It appears to work.

Edited by schoondoggy

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steff

A RAID "Drive" is not accessible without the controller unless it is a RAID 1

 

To better describe the test condition:

configuring a single logical volume for each HDD through the embedded RAID controller, will let me pull out the HDDs, connect them to another Windows\Linux box and still be able to read\write datas?

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psikey

I'd agree with scoondoggy. Take drive out and just pop in another machine. I will try it in next hour or so and confirm.

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steff

I'd agree with scoondoggy. Take drive out and just pop in another machine. I will try it in next hour or so and confirm.

Just tried! :-)

I pulled out all the WD 4 TB form the microserver, inserted an old 2.5'' SATA in bay1, enabled the RAID adapter, configured a single volume (RAID0) with the only HDD, booted ubuntu from the SSD on the embedded SATA port. I did installed any specific driver and the logical volume was visible as /dev/sda, then parted and the filesystem, copied some files.

Then rebooted, disabled the RAID, booted the same ubuntu... everything was fine. all the data again visible.

Added then other files, rebooted and reconfigured the RAID in the same way as before... everything was OK.

 

So... it seems working but... BUT... are we really shure that this is a "certified" and "stable" beahviour?

 

One more thing: you told me that running with the embedded RAID will lower the fan speed.

This is not my case:

AHCI enabled: 37%

AHCI disabled: 36%

RAID card enabled: 37% :-( :-( :-(

 

what's wrong?

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psikey

I just pulled a drive after turning the G8 Microserver off.

 

Put in my Windows 8 desktop HotSwap Caddie and it shows as a NTFS drive with an unformatted 32MB area at the end. All files accessible.

 

Put back in Microserver and restarted and no problem at all.


Fan speed at 6% with Windows but I'm not a Linux person, only using it with a QNAP NAS.

 

I did read a few threads where there was an issue with some Linux installs like this one even in B120i RAID configuration: 

 
Like this one: http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/Community-Regional-Operating/Microserver-Gen8-Debian-FAN-noise-control/m-p/6204469

Main HP fan issue thread here: http://h30499.www3.hp.com/t5/ProLiant-Servers-Netservers/MicroServer-Gen8-is-noisy/td-p/6171563#.Unln6enuOUl

Edited by psikey

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jmwills

I should not have said "controller".  Rather risky behavior and a prime reason to have stable and tested backups.

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