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Looking for advice with my N54L server setup


Retrotech
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Hi Everyone my first post so a big hello to the forum clear.png

I've just bought an HP N54L Microserver along with 5 x Western Digital 4tb NAS hard drives
(the 5th drive is in the top 5.25" bay connecting to the internal sata port)

I've flashed the bios so this drive has full speed, however I'd like to boot the OS on a separate drive than the five that I already have.

Can i :-

1 : Buy an internal 2 or 4 port sata PCI express card and use one of the ports to install another drive (2.5" SSD)

2 : Use the internal onboard USB socket (not sure if issues are going to arise with speed with this)

3 : Bite the bullet and partition one of my 4tb drives with say a 50gb partition for WHS 2011

I've been looking around on the internet and cannot see a clear answer, I only want to use WHS 2011 as I will have full access to the server with a keyboard and mouse and such software like freenas or anything else is not what I'm looking for.

Hopefully some very nice technical person can help :)

 

Cheers

 

Pete

Edited by Retrotech
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I believe there are only 5 SATA ports so you will need to find a drive cage (see Icy Dock) that supports multiple 2.5" drives. You could then usecthat 5th 4TB drive via eSata or USB as a backup for the other four, since you didn't mention backups.

 

Do not use that on board socket to run a Windows OS.

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I believe there are only 5 SATA ports so you will need to find a drive cage (see Icy Dock) that supports multiple 2.5" drives. You could then usecthat 5th 4TB drive via eSata or USB as a backup for the other four, since you didn't mention backups.

 

Do not use that on board socket to run a Windows OS.

 

Ok cheers mate, my backups are done via a 5.25" hot swap 3.5" drive that I store offline, the server is only used for streaming media and files that I want access to straight away, I plan to use the rear Esata port to another 4tb external drive.

 

so can i use the internal USB for anything useful? (2.5" hard drive or say a 128gb flash drive storage?)

 

Also would the system accept a PCI Express SATA controller for future upgrading?

 

Thanks again

 

Pete

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Are the 4TB drives independent of one another or using RAID or pooling software? Right now your only option is to remove the top drive and use a 160GB drive for the boot, unless you want to partition the 4TB which is doable.

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Are the 4TB drives independent of one another or using RAID or pooling software? Right now your only option is to remove the top drive and use a 160GB drive for the boot, unless you want to partition the 4TB which is doable.

 

 

Yes all the 4tb drives are independent, everything on them is backed up on external hard drives so I don't have raid or anything.

 

Would replacing the top 4tb drive with a 160gb one not be a waste? I could partition one to install an OS.

 

So are we saying that the PCI Express SATA Card option is not doable?

 

I was thinking about having this setup if I could

 

4 x  4TB Drives in the server vertical slots

1 x 4TB Drive in the 5.25 Hotswap bay at the top plugged into the internal onboard sata port (This is mainly used for access to my achived files stored offline)

 

1 x 2.5" 160 GB SSD with WHS 2011 installed plugged into a PCI Express 2 x Port SATA Controller (Leaves one spare SATA port for another 2.5" internal drive)

 

Internal USB port is kept free or used with a 128GB USB Flash Drive for misc files

 

I plan to use the rear ESATA socket for another external drive in the future.

 

Can all this be done? (Mainly the PCI Express SATA option)

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AFAIK, you will not be able to boot from an eSATA drive.  The PCI Express option may be you best bet as long as it has the short bracket.

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Hi Everyone my first post so a big hello to the forum clear.png

 

I've just bought an HP N54L Microserver along with 5 x Western Digital 4tb NAS hard drives

(the 5th drive is in the top 5.25" bay connecting to the internal sata port)

 

I've flashed the bios so this drive has full speed, however I'd like to boot the OS on a separate drive than the five that I already have.

 

Can i :-

 

1 : Buy an internal 2 or 4 port sata PCI express card and use one of the ports to install another drive (2.5" SSD)

 

2 : Use the internal onboard USB socket (not sure if issues are going to arise with speed with this)

 

3 : Bite the bullet and partition one of my 4tb drives with say a 50gb partition for WHS 2011

 

I've been looking around on the internet and cannot see a clear answer, I only want to use WHS 2011 as I will have full access to the server with a keyboard and mouse and such software like freenas or anything else is not what I'm looking for.

 

Hopefully some very nice technical person can help :)

 

Cheers

 

Pete

 

1.  I've used a Rocket 620A in the X1 PCIe slot to power a SSD taped to the HDD I had in the ODD port so I know that is an option

1b. I've also used a Rocket 640 in the X8 PCIe slot for the SSD -- that works too

 

2. I haven't tried

 

3. You would need 160G to install WHS2011 and it would have to be MBR not GPT -- I wouldn't do this -- too many potential issues down the road

 

4. Since you flashed the BIOS you can run a eSATA to SATA cable from the back of the N54L into the case and up to the ODD area and to your boot SSD that you could just tape to the top of your HDD in the ODD -- plenty of examples of that check:

 

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3506-more-interesting-microserver-links/ 

 

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/5190-microserver-hardware-links/?p=56406

 

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/5484-first-timer-microserver-with-whs-build/?p=60476

 

http://homeservershow.com/a-first-time-build-with-windows-home-server-2011-and-hp-proliant-n40l-microserver-part-i.html

 

http://homeservershow.com/a-first-time-build-with-windows-home-server-2011-and-hp-proliant-n40l-microserver-part-ii.html

 

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/4290-an-esata-to-sata-cable-that-works-in-microserver-build/

 

clip_image0061.jpg

 

You could also install your SSD in the open space below the ODD area:

clip_image008.jpg

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I've flashed the bios so this drive has full speed, however I'd like to boot the OS on a separate drive than the five that I already have.

 

Full SATAII not SATAIII.

You can fit six 3.5" drives in a N54L:

http://homeservershow.com/forums/index.php?/topic/8878-what-cable-required-to-run-2nd-port-on-p410/?p=96396

You should run a separate drive for the OS as stated above. 

A two port SATA card would let you run the all six drives. 

Not sure if a regular SSD would fit if you have two 3.5 drives in the ODD, but there is a lot of 1.8" 160GB SSD on ebay. With one of these adapters you could run it on the ODD port:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA3TR2543030&cm_re=Msata_to_sata-_-9SIA3TR2543030-_-Product

If you want to run all seven drives at full speed you may want to look at a IBM/LSI M1015 in IT mode:

http://www.servethehome.com/ibm-m1015-part-1-started-lsi-92208i/

 

Just some thoughts

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Not sure if a regular SSD would fit if you have two 3.5 drives in the ODD, but there is a lot of 1.8" 160GB SSD on ebay.

 

Just some thoughts

I was able to place two 2.5" 7mm SSDs stacked vertically on the case fan on the back wall behind two 3.5" HDDs in the ODD. The power and Sata cables "held" them against the wall.

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