HP ProLiant MicroServer N40L Owner's Thread *Part 2*

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Curly99

Distinguished Member
This thread is a continuation of the part 1 thread that can be found here:

http://www.avforums.com/forums/networking-nas/1534144-hp-proliant-microserver-n40l-owners-thread.html

Last Post
Hello

I have a HP N40L with 8GB ram and 4 X Samsung Spinpoint 2TB HD204UI drives. Last week I got a HP 410P Smart Array card (Reported to work very well with the N40L) and I have had no luck getting it to work. The server recognizes the card at the bios level but not as a boot device. It hangs on the screen HP Smart Array 410P initializing ***** for roughly 5 minutes. I have no F8 option. I have tried the HP diagnostic tools and trying to flash newer firmware. In both cases no device is detected.

Any ideas? Bad card maybe? I have searched and found nothing to help me.

Thank you in advance
 

dga

Active Member

Paul666

Novice Member
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barend121

Standard Member
Got my N40L server @home and it's great!

I put in 2 extra 2Tb harddisks, 2 Gb extra ram and windows 2011 Home edition. Installing windows using the RAID controller on was a bit difficult, (doesn't work) now using the windows RAID1 controller function.

Anyway, my problem, did anyone got a OCZ agility 3 120 Gb flashdrive fitting in the removable slots? I bought a adaptor bracket (also from OCZ) but that doesn't fit. Another possibility is to extend the SATA port to the upper part of the server (where a CDROM player could be installed) but does these extension cables exist?

Not a slick solution but the brackit doesn't work.

The internal extra SATA port is also an option but that's not a fast port? and needs some russian tweak bios ****.

Any help is welcome!
 

EMM386

Active Member
I remember there being some talk of the space for the official HP bios being small and the bios itself being large so there was little space to load a 3rd party Bios such as one from a Raid controller

I stumbled across yet another hacked bios. Not Russian and not the bays where he claimed he'd made it specially lightweight to load 3rd party bios

I put the lightweight one on to configure my Lsi raid card and then use the bays on general day to day use (altho I'm almost certain I can get into the controllers bios with the bays loaded)
 

baldmosher

Standard Member
In response to MacUsers comment above re mSATA SSD

I'm currently booting off a 2.5" 500GB e-SATA drive.

I've bought a Crucial M4 60GB which I'll be installing very soon. It's definitely overkill for the SATA 2 Microserver - biggest benefit comes with SATA3 and lots of disk access which most Microserver setups probably don't need.

I'm using it as an HTPC so there are marginally valid reasons for me to use an SSD. Once I build my proper HTPC I'll be relegating the Microserver to NAS and Mediaportal use. I'll take the SSD out of the Microserver and install ESXi and Windows 7 in a VM to boot from a single 32GB USB flash drive - if that's fast enough to run things without crawling, it's good enough for my needs, if it's not I'll get a cheap, small hard drive.

As regards controller reliability the Crucial is the only viable choice at the moment. The return rates on the Sandforce controller means the OCZ drives, although writing 2x faster, are simply not worth the risk IMHO. Most of the speed boost is reads anyway and you're looking at fairly constant 450MB/s compared to max 150MB/s on a Barracuda but only on SATA3. The Microserver is SATA2 which is nothing like as rapid but still a lot faster than a HDD. I'm sure I read someone maxed out their SATA3 bus at 180MB/s anyway so the Microserver probably not fast enough to take advantage of the faster speeds anyway.

If you have £80 to burn, and you're not using it as a server, an SSD is not a bad idea at all.

What's the advantage of mSATA SSD over normal SSD though? Just space?
 
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EMM386

Active Member
That's for the onboard AMD raid. The user WS2000 is having issues with an addin PCI-E HP P410 Raid controller

Still and excellent resource nonetheless. Bookmarked for future reference
 

MacUsers

Active Member
In response to MacUsers comment above re mSATA SSD
I'm currently booting off a 2.5" 500GB e-SATA drive.
How you doing it -using a eSata to Sata cable, running from the back, though the PCI holder stot?
What's the advantage of mSATA SSD over normal SSD though? Just space?
I'm using it as a server (Ubuntu or Solaris - testing both). The reason for mSATA is not to use an internal SATA card for the 5th drive. In this way, the 4 bays can be used for disk-array, 5th for the ODD and the PCIe for the boot drive - I hope it's possible.
Now reason for using a SSD itself for faster booting from "suspend-to-disk" mode. As S3 is not supported, and S4 is essentially the same as shutdown in nature, I reckon a faster booting will an advantage.

Using the eSata port is of course another option, but I thought I better keep it free for off-line backup.
Cheers!!
 
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MacUsers

Active Member
Has anyone noticed that there is a NEC USB3.0 Controller option in the BIOS (Chipset > OnBoard Peripherals Configuration)? Does any one know the meaning or significance? cheers!!
 

Paul666

Novice Member
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Dazo

Active Member
I am wanting to put a spare 2.5" hdd into the ODD bay as a boot drive, Only really got a maplin, pc world and local computer shops near buy. What are the chances of those stocking a bracket/caddie that will fit ?
 

cjed

Well-known Member
I am wanting to put a spare 2.5" hdd into the ODD bay as a boot drive, Only really got a maplin, pc world and local computer shops near buy. What are the chances of those stocking a bracket/caddie that will fit ?
AFAIK there's no single bracket that will do the trick, but Maplin's have both 5.25" to 3.5" and 3.5" to 2.5" frames so a pair of those should do the trick. You can check stock at your local store before making a trip there :

5.25" to 3.5" bracket Here
Although This might be a better bet.
3.5" to 2.5" bracket Here

Note that you'll need a Molex to SATA power converter cable as well (the power in the top bay is a Molex connector). It will be cheaper to order these converter frames from the 'Bay, rather than pay Maplin's prices. Another possibility is to build your own from an old, dead CD/DVD-ROM drive if you happen to have one lying around (as I did).
 

Dazo

Active Member
AFAIK there's no single bracket that will do the trick, but Maplin's have both 5.25" to 3.5" and 3.5" to 2.5" frames so a pair of those should do the trick. You can check stock at your local store before making a trip there :

5.25" to 3.5" bracket Here
Although This might be a better bet.
3.5" to 2.5" bracket Here

Note that you'll need a Molex to SATA power converter cable as well (the power in the top bay is a Molex connector). It will be cheaper to order these converter frames from the 'Bay, rather than pay Maplin's prices. Another possibility is to build your own from an old, dead CD/DVD-ROM drive if you happen to have one lying around (as I did).
Cheers mate not sure my patience will allow me to wait for it to be delivered from the Bay. Might have to bite the bullet and get what I need from Maplin. Pretty sure I have some old DVD drives kicking about somewhere.
 

Dazo

Active Member
Cheers Mate but looking for something local. Looking at what you and cjed have posted though it looks like I should get something easy enough. I strangely thought the ODD bay would need something hard to get to convert it.
 

Dazo

Active Member
Is WHS2011 overkill for purely media streaming ? My server will soley be used to store movies, photos and music and I will not use any of the other features or backing up any desktops to the server, so is there something better suited maybe even less resource hungry ? if indeed whs is resource hungry.
 

dga

Active Member
Is WHS2011 overkill for purely media streaming ? My server will soley be used to store movies, photos and music and I will not use any of the other features or backing up any desktops to the server, so is there something better suited maybe even less resource hungry ? if indeed whs is resource hungry.
Ubuntu, not that I'm a huge fan but its support and documentation is fantastic. If you can copy and paste text then you can use it without understanding it.
 

Dazo

Active Member
Ubuntu, not that I'm a huge fan but its support and documentation is fantastic. If you can copy and paste text then you can use it without understanding it.
Think I may manage the copy and paste bit. :laugh:
 

dga

Active Member
Dazo said:
Think I may manage the copy and paste bit. :laugh:
My reasoning is that nearly all guides for Linux services have a Ubuntu guide/how to which is usually written to a copy and paste level. The output of the commands is normally predicable on a fresh Ubuntu install and so complications rarely exist.

For example, on a generic Linux guide you may see an instruction in plain English (add MyServer to hosts) whereas the Ubuntu guide will give you the exact command to copy and paste into the terminal (# echo 127.0.0.1 MyServer >> /etc/hosts).

I'm annoyed that some users expect to be spoonfed even after many months of using that particular OS instead of reading the wikis and man pages.

A few basic and generic guides need to be read before switching to Linux but YouTube as sped up the learning curve for some and it's true that the devil is in the detail (a # prompt is a command run as root)

I couldn't have such a streamlined setup without Linux/Solaris, unfortunately I still need Windows 7 on a laptop for the odd program.
 

irascian

Banned
Hi,

I've just taken delivery of two of these servers as the £100 cashback offer was too good to turn down. I installed one with 2x250GB drives (took the second drive out of the second box) configured as RAID1 and Windows 2008 Server R2 installed fine.

However having bought 4 2GB WB Green hard drives and configured them to RAID10 I can't get Windows Server 2008 to install. It basically gives up about half way through the GUI setup procedure giving no reason for doing so.

Googling like mad, I can find very little although there is an indication that Windows can't cope with being installed on a drive that's bigger than 2GB and of course RAID10 presents the disks as a single 4GB drive.

HP's own support tools direct me to this page: HP ProLiant MicroServer series - Guided Troubleshooting which has all sorts of stuff about creating a driver floppy for Windows but the link they give for downloading the driver is usless giving a "Not authorised" page. I love HP support!

It was reports on the forums of people happily running four of these drives that made me go that route, but I can see no way of getting the wretched OS to install unless I forego resilience with RAID10 which requires all four discs.

Has anyone successfully managed to install Windows on a RAID10 array where the array is > 2GB. If so, how?
 

MikeK

Well-known Member
AIUI, you need an EFI bios (which you haven't got) to allow booting from a GPT labelled drive, and if you want a 4TB RAID10 drive it has to be GPT, as MBR only supports up to 2TB - catch22, at least as I understand it!

You may have to settle for two 2TB RAID1s!
 

irascian

Banned
AIUI, you need an EFI bios (which you haven't got) to allow booting from a GPT labelled drive, and if you want a 4TB RAID10 drive it has to be GPT, as MBR only supports up to 2TB - catch22, at least as I understand it!

You may have to settle for two 2TB RAID1s!
Yes. I was coming to the same conclusion. Very disappointing.
 

MacUsers

Active Member
However having bought 4 2GB WB Green hard drives and configured them to RAID10 I can't get Windows Server 2008 to install. It basically gives up about half way through the GUI setup procedure giving no reason for doing so.
Booting from a 4TB (I think you did mean to say TB rather than GB) drive?? why you wanna do that? The boot drive should be separated from the other drives and the smallest possible drive you can fit in the OS.

Booting OS from RAID is always a "less straight forward" thing and normally you can avoid the hassle if you are not running a production system and/or not using a dedicated RAID card. Cheers!!
 
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ws2000

Standard Member
Have you tried booting without the SAS-8087 cable connected? Have you any cache on the P410, if so what happens when you remove it?

THANKS SO MUCH!!! :clap:

It appears that my 512 memory module is bad. I pulled it out and the card started working as advertised. I was able to update the firmware to the latest version. I then tried using the memory module again and the card hung on initializing.
 

elrao

Active Member
Want to upgrade my RAM to 4GB as i build my new server as its going in the attic and so upgrading later will be a pain!

Have seen people linking to what looks like non ECC ram and 8GB kits are similar money to an extra 2GB stick of ECC!?! Not really sure what the benefit of ECC is in a home server? Would I be better off with 4GB ECC or 8GB non-ECC?

Anyone upgraded and got the original 2GB HP stick going spare?
 

MikeK

Well-known Member
Yes. I was coming to the same conclusion. Very disappointing.
Not sure why you want a 4 drive RAID10 though TBH - it'd be no more resilient than running two 2 drive RAID1 mirrors. In fact you could argue that it's less so!

It might be a bit faster with some I/O, but then for a home NAS, you'll most likely max out your network before the disks anyway, so that's probably a moot point!
 

irascian

Banned
Booting from a 4TB (I think you did mean to say TB rather than GB) drive?? why you wanna do that? The boot drive should be separated from the other drives and the smallest possible drive you can fit in the OS.

Booting OS from RAID is always a "less straight forward" thing and normally you can avoid the hassle if you are not running a production system and/or not using a dedicated RAID card. Cheers!!
The whole sales pitch for the HP goes "up to 8TB storage" and there are many reports of people maxing out the storagen to 8TB. Clearly this is impossible with RAID10 (which of course halves the capacity anyway). Artificially crippling the capacity down to 2TB maximum ie 4x500MB (RAID10 has to support 4 drives) to support Windows and RAID10 is pretty poor and makes the whole idea of RAID10 pretty redundanct in my book. Unfortunately you can't just make the first drive small enough and separate for a boot partition because even for the "minimum" RAID support of RAID 1 you have to have two drives the same size.

Have ended up going with two RAID1 logical drives which gives me 4TB total, although would have preferred the speed benefits of RAID10.
 
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