Good Cheap Server - HP Proliant Microserver 4 BAY - OWNERS THREAD

Soldato
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1st Post on OC although a reader for a number of years ... And I am pleading for help!

Possibly more for "randal24" I have opted for a similar spec to you:
N40L, 8GB Memory, 2x 3TB REDs + a couple of 3TB GREENS (when the Synology is sold on)

I am stuck at the formatting stage:
I want to have the 2x RED's running a mirrored pair with the OS/Home/Boot/etc
I will have the 2nd pair as a mounted area for storage of other media files etc.

I am really struggling at getting RAID on the first pair due to the GPT partitions and looking google has just confused matters even more - so ideally looking for a step by step guide on getting it working if you could help me and others?

Thanks in advance

Hello mate,

What are you running? Ubuntu? I have a slightly different setup insomuch as I have an SSD for OS/apps and the RAID1 array for storage.

I used Gparted to create a new GPT partition table on each RAID member disk. You have to change it from msdos to GPT so you can create individual partitions greater that 2TB.

Once that's done, create ext4 partitions on each drive to the size you want. I went for maximum sizes, which equates to 2.73TB. Due to the nature of ext4 it provisions it's overhead at creation time so that's why you won't see the full 3TB.

Don't use fdisk on the command line because it has a 2TB partition limit btw.

Once that's done, you need to install mdadm (apt-get install mdadm) to create the mirror.

I think I ran:

Code:
mdadm --create /dev/md0 --level=1 --raid-devices=2 /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1
Substitute your /dev/sda and b devices for the equivalent partition names you just created in Gparted.

Once this has done, you can cat /proc/mdstat to see how it's doing in the disk sync. Prepare to wait, lots.

Protip:

Code:
echo 100000 > /proc/sys/dev/raid/speed_limit_min
I setup a while loop in a terminal and stuck it in the corner of the desktop whilst I was doing other stuff:

Code:
while true
do 
clear
cat /proc/mdstat 
sleep 10 
done
Whilst it's syncing away (I think mine took 8-10 hours), run this:

Code:
mdadm --detail --scan >> /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf
Set permissions accordingly etc., sit back and drink endless mugs of tea whilst you wait...!

Now, setup /etc/fstab to mount the array at boot. Add the line:

Code:
/dev/md0      /your/mount/point      ext4      defaults     0  2

Finally, I'd recommend installing ssmtp and then setting up the mail alerts for mdadm also. I setup a GMail account for the purpose and piped the credentials into sstmp.


ssmtp guide here: http://en.gentoo-wiki.com/wiki/Gmail_and_sSMTP
mail alerts guide for mdadm here: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1185134
general mdadm help here: http://www.ducea.com/2009/03/08/mdadm-cheat-sheet/


Enjoy. :)

edit - Oh, big thing I forgot to mention! MD randomly decided to rename my metadevice from /dev/md0 to /dev/md127 after reboot... duh. If you get an error about not being able to find the array to mount on reboot, just ls /dev/md and hit tab to autocomplete and you should see what it's renamed it to. Edit /etc/fstab accordingly then either reboot to test it properly, or mount -a to mount everything from /etc/fstab.
 
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Associate
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<SNIP> see post above :)

Thanks for the reply ... I was planning on Debian as I like the install, feel out with Ubuntu over past few versions. Note from your setup that you went OS on I assume the 5th drive in the ODB - which incidentally is what I was thinking in the end using the original 250gb that came with the box.

Just need to work out how to protect the operating system (backups etc) would hate to get everything up and running for the primary drive to fail and forget how to run everything...

Thanks again - Great write up
 
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Soldato
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Has anyone got passthrough working on an N40L in ESXi? I really want to get decent speeds reading and writing to an USB HDD. Not to boot off, just move files.
 
Soldato
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Thanks for the reply ... I was planning on Debian as I like the install, feel out with Ubuntu over past few versions. Note from your setup that you went OS on I assume the 5th drive in the ODB - which incidentally is what I was thinking in the end using the original 250gb that came with the box.

Just need to work out how to protect the operating system (backups etc) would hate to get everything up and running for the primary drive to fail and forget how to run everything...

Thanks again - Great write up

TBH, I know what you mean. 12.10 just isn't that hot as a distro, sadly it took me in the installation and configuration to work this out. Now I can't be arsed to redo it. :D

Yep, SSD is mounted in the ODD using those universal mounting bracket things. Zip ties!

One of the reasons I went for a smaller SSD as the boot drive is so I can dd the volume onto a USB HDD. Once a month or so I plan to do this, so in the event of a drive failure or something similar all I need to do is dd it back across onto a new volume.

No worries at all, hopefully it's of some use to you fella. Good luck in getting it all set up. :)
 
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well ive had this thing a full day now and I think its almost there.

new to WHS 2011 so spent a while getting my head around all the security and setup. I threw plex on it and it is working a charm although remote playback via the windows 8 metro plex app is stutter as hell but im not sure if that's to do with the config or network / hdd speeds so will be testing that later.

Had / having huge issues setting up remote access through my sky sagem [email protected] 2304 router HOWEVER I was able to remote in using my windows phone despite the router not being recognised in whs...go figure.

cant wait to get my replacement radeon 6450 backplate so I can finally complete this build
 
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Managed to fit in a passive cooled GT430 by cutting down the heatsink, with it still being a tight fit and the heatsink touching the side of the case, is it possible this could cause a short?
 
Soldato
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Managed to fit in a passive cooled GT430 by cutting down the heatsink, with it still being a tight fit and the heatsink touching the side of the case, is it possible this could cause a short?

Nah, you'll be OK but it's not ideal.

I grabbed a Zotac GT610 *NO COMPETITOR PRICES* which fits right in. Better heatsink design, and it's got a fan too. Whisper quiet, that is to say you can't hear it over the PSU!
 
Soldato
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Having a little trouble installing Server 2008 from USB. Im getting to the copying files bit and its coming up with 80070070 Files missing or something to that effect. I noticed when trying to install onto the hard drive its coming up with two partitions. One is 350mb system reserved. Same for you guys? Any ideas on a fix? :(
 
Soldato
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ESXi vs Hyper-V Server 2012?

I was thinking of going native and just sticking 2012 as the hypervisor on there, anyone had a go at this?
How did you get on?
 
Associate
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ok ok, think im getting settled. server and backup side all sorted.

media player side, almost sorted.

for anyone who uses plex, maybe you can help me out. I can play bluray rips (1080p, dts sound, ~10 to 12bit rate) fine with cpu usage of about 20%.

I also am able to play another bluray from the server on a separate laptop also using PlexMC with no issues whilst also transferring large files and the cpu topped at about 50% although was maxing out my network (this all wired using 100mbit Ethernet atm)

my question is: to whose who say the n40l is able to transcode blurays fine can you explain to me what you are doing as mine cant handle a single bluray transcode without SEVERE stuttering. are you transcoding low res blurays?


spec:
n40l microserver
8gb ram
hd6450 gpu

im in two minds about returning this and spending the extra £100 I would have saved on a better sytem that can transcode without issue.

although not essential transcode would be VERY nice to have. plus a better cpu would be hold up better in the long term...?
 
Soldato
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I have been trying ESXi and it is great. Not bad at all since there is a free version with very reasonable limitations. The only issue I have is that the N40L does not support VT-d so the directpath aka direct access to hardware, is not supported for things like USB devices. That means read speeds from USB mem sticks and HDD's etc are ~8MB/s.

CD
 
Soldato
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I am trying to plan the best way to share my data across multiple VM's, plus multiple people on the network, and just want to check this is the "safest" way of doing it

add storage drive to HP microserver, convert and add as a ESXi Datastore, setup a virtual machine dedicated for NAS using freenas, setup relevant shares etc and give the machine an IP address.

Then on any virtual machine, or any network device I can map drive to said shared folder.

Backup of data on this disk will be performed to an external drive at some point.

If for any reason my machine dies, or I urgently need to grip data off it in another machine, can someone recommend a good tool for recovering raw data in its correct formatting from a drive thats been through a conversion to a ESXi's DataStore? (apart from the obvious sticking it in another virtual host machine), maybe say I want to rip out the drive and put it in a physical widows machine to get recover or copy data.
 
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Soldato
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This is the profile I've Added to the profiles.xml file in the config folder of Serviio, which I use for my old Xbox and it works pretty much flawlessly:

Code:
<Profile id="25" name="XBMC" extendsProfileId="1">
	    		<Transcoding>
   <Video targetContainer="mpegts" targetVCodec="mpeg2video" targetACodec="ac3" maxHeight="480">
      <Matches container="*" />
   </Video>
</Transcoding>
   </Profile>


I'm mainly using it with SD mp4 files and it works fine with i5...would be great to see if the HP is up to it.

I couldn't get your profile to work on my xbox 360, is your profile for the original xbox?

I used the standard xbox 360 profile as a test and for HD mkvs the CPU was at around 80% (high quality)

I don't actually have any MP4 clips but I would expect it to be similar
 
Associate
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Just tried to connect my Seagate Goflex external hard drive to the esata port on the back (using the goflex esata adaptor) and nothing, the drive doesn't power on, is therefore not recognised.

Any thoughts, experience with external esata (bus powered) drives?

Whs 2011.

Thanks

Steve
 
Soldato
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Just tried to connect my Seagate Goflex external hard drive to the esata port on the back (using the goflex esata adaptor) and nothing, the drive doesn't power on, is therefore not recognised.

Any thoughts, experience with external esata (bus powered) drives?

Whs 2011.

Thanks

Steve

The Microserver's esata port isn't powered so it won't work.
 
Associate
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The Microserver's esata port isn't powered so it won't work.

Thanks for your help, it works with my laptop, but I now see that as that is a usb/esata port it is powered by the usb power of the port.

Any idea if there is a solution where I could attach the goflex drives via esata with power, the drive docks I see would not take the Goflex cases, and if I remove them from the cases I couldn't use them elsewhere.

I might just get this:
USB3 & sata card
then I could use the USB3 adaptor for the drives, plus I get extra sata connections, not that I'm sure what I could do with them!!

Thanks

Steve
 
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