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Gen 8 setup. Crikey this is painful


laughingblade
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Hi all, long time lurker etc.

 

I've acquired a Gen8 microserver, and have been playing with setting up. I've been almost completely unsuccessful and spent days on it, so would appreciate some assistance.

I have two use cases:

1. Install a number of them temporarily to client sites. I need a rapidly repeatable setup process to ideally install a VM on a low-footprint host. It might be OK to use a directly-installed OS, but it's a slow process. I'm also cash-limited, so spendy iLO for remote management isn't an option.

2. Home server/lab.

 

I've left it with the b120i controller configured, as I understand that there's poor fan control with the ACPI controller and the onboard RAID is lost.

 

- ESXi: using the 5.5.0 HP custom version I managed using Intelligent Provisioning to get VSphere/ESXi onto a USB stick, booting from the internal USB connector. It took about 20minutes to boot! I browsed from another machine to the IP address and it looks like from that point I could set up a storage disk for VMs. However the custom version says it's a limited-time trial, and I'll have to pay $hundreds for a license. Are any of the  (recent) custom versions free? Or are there free versions with well-documented customisation (i.e. HP drive setup) instructions?

 

 

- Windows Server Essentials 2012: Currently stalled pending repeated failed download from HP of the Server 2008 R2 driver file referred elsewhere on homeservershow. Assuming I get this downloaded and I have the driver file for the b120 then when/how do I install it?

- Windows Server 2012 R2: I did the full install via Intelligent Provisioning. onto HDD. Seemed to go OK, but rebooting keeps failing with "Your computer experienced a problem..."

 

 

- Ubuntu server: bug in install scripts means that it won't install from USB but DVD only. I don't have ODD in my Gen8.

- Ubuntu 14.04 desktop: Installed to a 500GB HDD by booting from USB w/iso. XOrg uses a helluva lot of CPU due to unrecognised drivers for the built-in Matrox GPU, and no simple workaround. I assume it would be possible to either add a supported graphics card or to RDP onto the box avoiding the built-in, but idk whether XOrg continues to run if I simply unplug the monitor, and haven't tried, as tbh Ubuntu sedktop isn't my choice of a server OS anyway and I was just trying to get *anything* running.

 

As you might imagine this is driving me to distraction: with a Gen7 I just threw OS installs at them and they were all perfectly fine. To my (developer, not IT bod) mind HP have really made a mess of the general  usability of the Gen8 so you need to be a pro or a serious hobbyist

So I guess my questions are:

1. Windows server Essentials install: when to install the b120i driver, and what's the current state of HP support for WS2012Essentials anyway?

2. Windows Server 2012 R2 install. I've seen another post where somebody was successful with ACPI rather than b120i. Is my failure due to that difference?

3. ESXi install: is there a free custom verson available?

4. Somebody else has Fedora on a microSD card. How can I do that without iLO?

 

TIA

Rich

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Providing you can get WSE2012R2 installed, you can take advantage of WDS (Windows Deployment Services) to install the operating system and add-ons to your specifications.

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Thanks jmwillis. I don't understand. WSE2012R2 *is* an OS, and I don't seem to be able to get it running due to the lack of a b120i driver. Advice elsewhere is to use a file from WS2008R2, but I'm unsure (and can't find the HP doc I had) how/when to install that driver.

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I just wanted to note that I think you're attacking the Gen8 problem from too many angles at once. I would pick one and put my effort into that for a while.

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Thanks. I'm not sure how you think it might help? I have a new Gen8 as of Jan15 (the thread is from a year ago), I've used Intelligent Provisioning to update firmware, and the HP docs (http://h20195.www2.hp.com/V2/GetPDF.aspx%2F4AA4-7658ENW.pdf, under "where to get drivers") say that IP handles all necessary WS2012R2 drivers.

 

Not to disrespect your contribution - I need all the help I can get - just asking for clarification, really.

 

Rich

I just wanted to note that I think you're attacking the Gen8 problem from too many angles at once. I would pick one and put my effort into that for a while.

 

Yeah, in fact I've run through each of them in turn, and I'm only just now posting. My post might have been clearer for sure if I'd *posted* about one at a time.

 

So if I picked one thing I'd like ESxi on a USB stick inside my Gen8, and a bunch of VMs on a data disk with a couple fo RAID'ed big disks in the box too. That meets my first use case.

My $64K question then becomes: is there a custom VSphere/ESXi image for the Gen8 that *doesn't* have a license fee attached?

 

Thanks for helping me be a bit clearer.

Rich

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Hmm... standing by.

 

I Installed WS2012R2 from a USB stick to HDD and left it to reboot as many times as it wants... it rebooted about 6 times then started installing drivers. Then rebooted several times more until eventually booted into WS... now configuring the server. This looks hopeful... if pretty sketchy behaviour.

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My recommendation?   

 

Lenovo TS140.  Normal uATX sized tower case, uses less power than the Gen8, is way faster, and isn't a total b*****d to configure.  ESXI works straight off as long as you merge the NIC drivers, that's a simple process.

 

My TS140 is the Xeon E3-1225v3, came with 4GB ECC RAM and a 500GB WD RE4 drive.  It was a little more than half the price of the G1610T/2G/0HD Gen8.

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