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Jelp a newbie


kavejo
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Hello everyone,

 

I'm a new owner of an HP Microserver Gen 8, actually, I will be next Tuesday when ServersPlus will be delivering it.

 

I have few questions as I'm pretty new to this world. I really wish to get some suggestions and some directions as it seems there are very knowledgeable members in this forum.

 

I plan to use the MicroServer as a NAS, most likely running OpenMediaVault (Debian based).

I have bought the GT1610T version, added 16 GB of RAM, a Radeon HD5450 graphic card and 2 x 3TB WD Red drives.

The 2 WD Red will be set up in Raid1, I will be adding 2 x 1.5TB WD Green in Raid0 at a later stage (when I will decommission the current NAS).

I do not plan to add any other raid card (like the P222).

 

Given the 4 bays will be occupied by data drives, the first question is where to install the OS.

I will be using possibly a MicroSD or the internal USB, how do you boot from these devices? Won't the B120i take precedence?

Do i need to install any driver to get Debian to recognize the smart array?

I'm aware that USB flash drives and SD card Re not reccomended for write intensive application but OMV won't be.

 

Alternatively, speaking of SSD, what do I need to mount it in the ODD bay?

Are a SATA cable and a Molex to SATA enough? If so, where about on the mo-bo is the free SATA connector? And where is the spare Molex?

Would this device be recognized from the B120i and managed from it?

 

Speaking of drivers/firmware, how do I update the various things (ROM, iLO, IP, etc.)?

Is there any way to update pretty much everything prior to install any OS?

 

Can I use IP to install OpenMediaVault or do I need to boot from USB/external DVD and set it up the old fashion?

Can I perform all the above steps headless (no mouse/keyboard/monitor)? If so, how?

 

Any other suggestion, please feel free to share.

For the cables, if you have any link from Amazon.co.uk, please let me know so I can maybe walk the SSD route.

 

Thank you very much.

 

Tommy

 

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Hello again,

 

I think I have found something, would anybody be able to confirm if these are the right cables/hardware I need?

 

2.5" drive caddy:http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00931ZPUW/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=2NWL1JY2S3Y0R&coliid=I2IWJJD5TBAMHK&psc=1

Slimline SATA to SATA: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B002O1W6ZK/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=2NWL1JY2S3Y0R&coliid=I4MSE7UJTHD6C

FDD to SATA connector:http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005E2XQQY/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=2NWL1JY2S3Y0R&coliid=I6ZYOUC5T7IBI

SATA cable:http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B003WV5DK6/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=2NWL1JY2S3Y0R&coliid=I2G8EIERQWCC9C

 

Concerning the SSDs, instead, any suggestion?

I'm thinking to get a Samsung 850EVO 120GB, anyone successfully running the OS from this drive?

Is there any better or more tested one that can fit the purpose?

 

Thanks,

Tommy

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I will be using possibly a MicroSD or the internal USB, how do you boot from these devices? Won't the B120i take precedence?

You can set the boot order in setup (RBSU). The internal SD slot and USB socket are intended for booting your OS e.g. ESXi so it is fully supported.

 

Do i need to install any driver to get Debian to recognize the smart array?

You need a little background first. The HP Dynamic Smart Array b120i is actually just the Intel chipset SATA controller with a custom firmware and driver. There isn't any hardware acceleration like the P222. You can set it to be legacy mode, AHCI mode or RAID mode. The first two are basically what you get in a regular desktop PC.

 

Your problem here is that HP don't support Debian and b120i requires the hpvsa closed source kernel module to run. This isn't the same module as the cciss or hpsa modules since they're the drivers for the hardware RAID cards. They only support RHEL/CentOS, SUSE and Ubuntu (https://launchpad.net/~hp-iss-team/+archive/ubuntu/hp-storage) for Linux OSes. I doubt that the kernel module will load on your Debian or OMV install.

 

I'd say your best solution is to set the SATA controller into AHCI mode and do Linux software RAID. The b120i is doing software RAID anyway.

 

I'm aware that USB flash drives and SD card Re not reccomended for write intensive application but OMV won't be.

You'll be fine so long as you pick a good quality fast card/drive and don't run anything that does excessive writes. I had issues with a cheap Transcend micro SD card but a Samsung SD card was fine.

 

Alternatively, speaking of SSD, what do I need to mount it in the ODD bay?

Are a SATA cable and a Molex to SATA enough?

If you're doing it properly then you need the caddy + slimline SATA power/data adapter + cable. You'll also need Schoondogg's SOC bracket from http://homeservershow.com/hp-microserver-gen8-drive-bracket.htmlas the caddy is held in by a latch which locks into that bracket. The HP DVD drive comes with a bracket but you can't buy the bracket by itself.

 

The alternative is just to wedge the SSD into the top with a bit of foam or paper to stop it moving about. You don't need the caddy, bracket or slimline SATA adapter then. You'll just use a regular SATA cable and organise something for power. See question below about that.

 

If so, where about on the mo-bo is the free SATA connector? And where is the spare Molex?

The ODD SATA socket is on the motherboard. There isn't a spare molex inside as the ODD power lead is a small floppy power socket but you have two options. First is to get a molex splitter and tap into the molex feeding the 4 drive bays. Second is to buy a floppy power to SATA adapter such as http://www.maplin.co.uk/p/power-connector-35-to-sata-a18gg

 

Would this device be recognized from the B120i and managed from it?

Yes. Be aware that only bay 1 and bay 2 will run at SATA III 6Gbps. Bay 3 + 4 and the ODD port only run at SATA II 3Gbps. This is due to the Intel C204 chipset used which only supports 2x SATA III 6Gbps.

 

Speaking of drivers/firmware, how do I update the various things (ROM, iLO, IP, etc.)?

Is there any way to update pretty much everything prior to install any OS?

Use http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/9195-new-service-pack-2015040-9-apr-2015/

 

Can I use IP to install OpenMediaVault or do I need to boot from USB/external DVD and set it up the old fashion?

Intelligent Provisioning probably won't work for OMV since it isn't a supported OS.

 

Can I perform all the above steps headless (no mouse/keyboard/monitor)? If so, how?

Buy a iLO4 Advanced license or use the 30 day trial at https://h20392.www2.hp.com/portal/swdepot/displayProductInfo.do?productNumber=ILO_TRIALSthen you can install using the iLO remote console. You can then use the virtual media feature to mount your install ISO from your PC so no need to burn a DVD or write to a USB stick.

 

One last thing, the USB3 ports on the back are not bootable. They're on a separate controller which is only active once your OS has loaded and started the XHCI driver.

Edited by GotNoTime
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If you're doing it properly then you need the caddy + slimline SATA power/data adapter + cable. You'll also need Schoondogg's SOC bracket from http://homeservershow.com/hp-microserver-gen8-drive-bracket.htmlas the caddy is held in by a latch which locks into that bracket. The HP DVD drive comes with a bracket but you can't buy the bracket by itself.

 

If you are in the UK, you can get the bracket and HP ODD/sata+FDD power cable from Lambdatek. I bought two of each so far to fit a caddy with a 1TB 2.5 HGST drive into two microservers.

 

 
B536549 (HP 532475-001 - SPS - BRKT ODD SLIMLINE 9.5)           B887834 (HP 683358-001 - SPS-SATA 9.5 OPTICAL CBL GEN8 1U)

 

Not cheap for a bit of metal and a cable! And you need get the little screws to fit it to the caddy yourself. It is a nice fit though and the cable is nice and neat.

 

 

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If you are in the UK, you can get the bracket and HP ODD/sata+FDD power cable from Lambdatek. I bought two of each so far to fit a caddy with a 1TB 2.5 HGST drive into two microservers.

 

 

B536549 (HP 532475-001 - SPS - BRKT ODD SLIMLINE 9.5)           B887834 (HP 683358-001 - SPS-SATA 9.5 OPTICAL CBL GEN8 1U)

 

Not cheap for a bit of metal and a cable! And you need get the little screws to fit it to the caddy yourself. It is a nice fit though and the cable is nice and neat.

Ahh. Nice find!

 

I wedged in the SSD for my microserver with just some folded up paper. I ended up having odd compatibility issues between the Sandisk SSD and the b120i controller so I never bothered to make it more permanent and have now removed it. As I have a HP P222 card, I bought a SFF-8087 forward breakout cable to get access to one of the SATA III 6Gbps ports.

Edited by GotNoTime
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Hello everyone,

 

Thank you very much for your answers, everything seems now much clearer :-)

 

So, I guess I will set the B120i in AHCi mode, I think this what is suggested from OMV as well and, given the smart array uses software RAID, I do not think I will notice any difference.

So, this is the first certain thing on my deployment.

 

Speaking about flash drives for boot, I have got a 32GB SanDisk UltraFit as well as 64GB Samsung Pro MicroSD - both should be pretty durable.

Actually I have been using the same type of drives on the Raspberry Pi (running OpenMediaVault with collectd and rrdcached enabled) for over an year and I have never seen any bad sector or any failure.

The 2 I've reserved for the MicroServer are brand new anyway.

 

Concering the SSD or the 2.5" OS drive anyway, seems pretty doable now.

I got I basically need a SATA cable and a power cable with a male FDD on one side and a SATA power on the other hand.

The cable posed from Ricimer seems very interesting as it it's "all-in-one".

 

The only thing I really don't get is: do I need a slimline SATA or just a regular one?

The FDD to SATA power cable seems pretty wide, while the one suggested from Ricimer seems pretty tiny.

Also, is there any difference on the cables I need if I go for the plain SSD (no caddy) or if I go for the ODD caddy  option?

 

GotNo Time, you kindly linked a post with the latest Hp SPP, I'm downloading it form the HP FTP site.

I see this is an ISO, shall I create a bootable USB drive with something like Unetbootin or do I need to write this to a DVD?

Either way, when the MicroServer boots from it, would the process be automated or do I need to do something special (such as when upgrading a firmware to normal PC's)?

 

I've just signed up for the iLo Advanced license, thanks for suggesting this GotNo Time.

I guess this would be pretty handy thing to have. Concerning the license, when the trial is finished, would you have any suggestion about where to find the license at a good price?

I remember reading about previous version of iLo Advance licenses being purchased on eBay and being working fine on this very last release.

 

Since IP does not support Debian, I guess I would need to install the OS in the old fashion.

Touching wood it shouldn't be too complicate :-)

 

GotNo Time, you mention compatibility issues between the B120i and your SanDisk SSD.

Would this be found also if you run in plain AHCI mode and not use RAID? Would you suggest me to look for another type of SSD drive (such as Samsung, Intel or Crucial)?

 

Thank you very much.

 

Tommy

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I got I basically need a SATA cable and a power cable with a male FDD on one side and a SATA power on the other hand.

The cable posed from Ricimer seems very interesting as it it's "all-in-one".

The cable Ricimer linked to is regular SATA + floppy power to slimline SATA. If you're getting the bracket and a caddy then this would be the cable to get.

 

The only thing I really don't get is: do I need a slimline SATA or just a regular one?

Slimline is only for the connector on the back of laptop optical drives or the laptop HD caddies that fit into the slot for optical drives. If you're trying to plug in a HD or SSD directly then regular SATA is fine but you'd need to get a floppy to SATA power adapter like the one I linked above.

 

I see this is an ISO, shall I create a bootable USB drive with something like Unetbootin or do I need to write this to a DVD?

You can burn it to a dual layer DVD but then you need a DVD drive attached or use the iLO remote console + virtual media feature.

 

Either way, when the MicroServer boots from it, would the process be automated or do I need to do something special (such as when upgrading a firmware to normal PC's)?

It defaults to fully automated but you can select interactive instead.

 

I've noticed that SPP and IP both seem to do something odd to the built in SD reader. If you're getting problems with booting from the SD slot after using SPP or IP then shutdown and pull out the mains cable. Plug it back in again and it should fix it.

 

GotNo Time, you mention compatibility issues between the B120i and your SanDisk SSD.

It is specifically b120i + Sandisk SSD + ESXi/Linux and AHCI + Sandisk SSD + ESXi. I was getting very poor performance from the SSD and HDs when using the b120i controller and SATA reset problems when using the SSD + AHCI in ESXi.

 

I don't know what causes the problems. Having the SSD connected wasn't essential and the HDs were connected to a HP P222 RAID card instead so I've not investigated that much.

 

My iLO Advanced license was a spare at work that they didn't want so I have no idea what is the best price. iLO Essentials would be enough for most people as that gives you the remote console + virtual media feature. iLO Advanced adds enterprise orientated features like Kerberos, email alerts and syslog monitoring. The email alert function may prove to be annoying if you've got non HP memory fitted since you'll get an alert each time the microserver powers up.

Edited by GotNoTime
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Hi GotNo Time,

 

I have looked to order the cable you suggested from Maplin but it appears that they don't do shipments.

The only option is to pick it up from a local store.

 

I ahve seen http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008HD80ZY?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00which is sold by Maplin and is avialable for shipment.

It looks very much like the one you linked (male FDD to sata).

 

Then since I was ordering some stuff I also got a 120GB Samsung 850 Pro SSD, this should eb mroe reliable than a USB drive or a SD card :-)

 

I got the server today, so I will try to upgrade it tonight.

Tomorrow I should get the drive and the cables to I will attempt the installation.

 

I will keep you posted.

 

Tommy

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I have looked to order the cable you suggested from Maplin but it appears that they don't do shipments.

The only option is to pick it up from a local store.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00HN3NEZUis an equivalent adapter. The Amazon one is £6 but if you look in the side box, there are cheaper offerings from third party sellers. It is roughly equivalent to buying the Maplin adapter and paying for postage if it was available for delivery.
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Hello,

 

So I've got my server, added the SSD driven in the ODD bay, set the SATA mode to ACHI.

I then started the installation of OMV, set everything up and in the meantime started mounting the disks on the caddys.

 

Now, I've finished the OS installation, reboot the server, made sure OVM was up and running off the SSD in the ODD bay.

At this point I shut down the server, added the 2 HDD drives at which point it can't boot from the SSD anymore.

 

it recognizes the 3 drives in Bay 1,2 and 5 but when it's a matter of booting it doesn't.

Anyone has got any idea? I read of people setting the SATA mode to Legacy, what would be the loss if I set it this way?

 

On a side note, at the very beginning I added teh trial license for ILO Advanced, the upraded the firmware with the one suggested above.

Now it doesn't show the license, it states I have already used the license if I try to re-add it and doen't let me use the advanced features.

Any suggestion?

 

Thank you.

 

Tommy

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