My last postwent into detail regarding the hunt for a new NAS for my needs. Synology vs Qnap, 10Gb upgradability, 6 or 8 bay, 1 NIC vs 4. I was confused
Anyways, whichever NAS I do go with, will have 10Gb compatability. I have no immediate want nor use for 10Gb but as the prices come down, I will eventually move to it. Even the connectivity between my 10Gb capable NAS and hopefully my server is good enough for me.
That brings me to the server. As you may have read, I have an HP ML150 G6 with two E5540 CPU’s, 96Gb of memory and a HP P410 RAID card. I was wondering if the HP ever came with 10Gb capability and although I can’t find anything direct, I do see that some HP servers in the G6 line had 10Gb options.
I came across a low cost HP 10Gb card on a Google search that seems to be popular among the homelab community. The HP NC523SFP 10Gb 2-port card. Looking at the list of compatible servers here. HP identifies a few ML G6 servers (330,350,370) along with a bunch of other DL and SL series G6 servers. This 10Gb nic appears to be the same as the Qlogic QLE3242 and a newer model compared to the HP NC522SFP.
Initially I did come across the HP NC522SFP(Qlogic QLE3142) but from what I’ve read, it appears to run a bit hot and the NC523SFP seems like a newer version of the card, although I can’t state that for certain.
What I am going to try is to plug this card into my server and see if it will automatically detect it. I’m curious is what VMware will see.
When I installed Vmware ESXi 6.5 on the server, I had difficulty using the HP Proliant specific installation. I would get purple error messages. I’m really curious and interested to see what I can push this server with. Like most of this blog, this is all about my learning and understanding. Things may not work out and others will. I don’t mind the outcome and I will do my best to keep you all in the loop.
I should be installing the card this weekend so I’ll try to provide some feedback as soon as I can.
I’m back with the ML150! 2018 was a rough year but now that it’s in the rear view mirrors, I can sit back, reflect and move forward. I started focusing more at work to keep myself busy through a few difficult times and in mid-2018, I was involved in a large network outage that took weeks to rectify with a new network rebuild. That’s another story in itself that I won’t get into.
I’ve finished my home office and I’m eager to continue my projects, the HP ML150 and my tinkering of all electronic and IT related areas.
In my corporate setting, I’ve inherited a three node VMware ESXi cluster, a two node XenServer cluster and one lonely serer running Hyper-V about 2 years ago. The ESXi cluster had its vCSA ‘broken’ as I’ve detailed here. I resolved the vCSA issue and it’s worked great since, but that whole process had me on the edge.
This is the exact reason why I am building this ESXi node at home, so that I can learn and break things in my safe environment.
I bet that if you are visiting my site and have read my previous posts, you may be wondering what I’ve decided to do regarding storage. Storage in general, is a foreign area for me that I’d like to get learn and get better at. Keep on reading…if you want to 🙂
So the ML150 G6? Well I was able to acquire the a HP P410 Raid card with Battery Backed Write Cache and a 512mb cache memory module. My only concern about this card is and was that it will do SATA 3 (6Gbps) speeds on SAS and SATA 2 (3Gpbs) speeds on SATA interfaces. Link to the HP P410 Controller Overview.
Initially I wanted to run a few 500gb SSD’s but that’s been put on hold for now due to the Sata 2 speeds of the RAID controller. I was able to purchase two 1Tb 3.5″ Seagate SAS drives that I wanted to install but I realized that I was missing the correct cabling. I purchased Mini-SAS to SFF-8087 cables, but those are incorrect and will not work with SAS drives.
The image below shows the difference between the SATA interface and the SAS interface. The difference is obvious.
With the wrong cable purchased and wanting to use the SAS drives that I have, I ordered the following cable: Mini SAS 36P SFF-8087 to SFF-8482+15P.
With the SAS cables still being in transit somewhere, I’ve resorted to just using the HP P410 Controller with the original Mini SAS to 4-Sata SFF-8087 cables and two regular SATA WD Green 2TB 7200RPM drives.
While reviewing my storage options, my interest peaked in ZFS and I purchased the highly recommended IBM M1015 RAID aka LSI SAS9220-8i controller. I suspect this is something I will dig into but not just yet. Right now I have to get this server up and running as I want to tackle some VMware projects in the coming weeks.
The physical storage for now is sorted. I installed VMware ESXi 6.5 Build 4564106 onto a USB flash drive that is plugged directly onto the motherboard of the server. No need to utilize any raid controller ports nor sata ports for a small hypervisor install.
Booting the server, I entered the HP P410 controller configuration and setup RAID-0 (NO RAID) with the two, 2TB drives. This is a lab. I can afford the loss of a drive/data. This server and this datastore will not hold any of my critical data and is only a test environment.
Raid-0 will provide me with striping and that’s fine by me as I want the most speed possible in my given situation.
I had planned to install ESXi on a smaller , non protruding USB Flash drive from the manufacturer Verbatim (16gb USB2). The ESXi installation would near 75% and crash with a timeout error. After trying a few times and trying different USB ports, it turns out the flash drive was the issue. I used a completely different brand flash drive to host the ESXi installation and it worked on the first try.
Here are two snips of my VMware ESXi management interface.
That’s about it for tonight. The ESXi install took way too long because of that oddly performing flash drive.
Long term plans are to bring in a NAS with an iSCSI interface so that I can mimic an external datastore that is not directly attached to the server. I will be building my lab-corporate environment that consists of a few Domain controllers that will run a select number of features. I would like mess with DHCP split scopes, WSUS, iron out some GPO skills and mess around with VMware.
I would like to setup vCSA here at home and possibly another node to build a 2-node cluster, but that’s not yet.
As you may recall from my last post here, I am trying to run two Xeon CPUs and a lot of memory, thus I need the HP Redundant fan configuration. I purchased the wrong fan (Part Number: 519740-001), thinking I can use it in the redundant fan slots. As you found out, I discovered HP Part number 513927-B21 / now revised as 519737-001, to be the correct option.
I jumped on ebay and ordered 519737-001 and had it delivered a few days ago. Once I got home from work, I opened up the server and I hoped that the server starrs would all align and my concerns would be nulled.
The fan/server work fine and this should be all I need. Of course I could add the 4th fan for further redundancy, but until these fans get a bit cheaper I’ll hold off.
Below I’ll show you the difference between the 519740-001 ‘System Fan’ and the 519737-001 ‘Redundant Fan’.
As you can see, the difference is quite large between the two. I’m glad I decided to spend a bit more and order the correct fan than to hack up the case and make the other system fan work. The air direction baffle sits properly over the fan/heatsinks so I’m a happy camper.
Last but not least, I fired up the server and was able to get 98,304MB of memory recognized.
The next step for the server is apply the most recent bios firmware to bring the server up to date. I was able to source the HP SPP (2017.04), which was the last SPP with G6 Support.
Now I am still unsure what to do with hard drive and storage. I have a few 2.5″ SAS drives that I could run in there but I’m uncertain what raid controller I should look for. I’ll have to do some more digging into that.
I’ve planned doing this for a while but I just never got around to doing it. Building myself my first homelab with a new to me HP ML150 G6.
I’ve thought about this long and I’ve tried to make sense of why I do in fact need a homelab. Well for a few reasons.
Replicating a lot of stuff I do for work, in a lab will help me grow and learn. Working in a 24/7, 365 day environment is extremely difficult. I need to be able to work on certain projects in my spare time and practice so that I can deploy them in a live environment.
I need more practice and experience with Hypervisors. During my day job, I have access or our Vmware ESXi infrastructure but there really isn’t a whole lot to do in our environment. We do have two other Hypervisor’s in use (Microsoft Hyper-V and Xenserver), which will be decommissioned over the span of a few months and the servers moved onto ESXi.
Building a home network would help me work on skills that I lack in and need to improve on. Working on a proper firewall, such as PFsense or Sophos for home would allow me to step away from the typical consumer grade software/hardware and deal with it on a daily basis at home.
Hosting a game server or two for friends is important for me.
Lastly, I will be preparing to write my CCNA so I’d like to create some kind of working lab (GNS3 or physical) in home home office.
Now as this is my first homelab, I don’t have high standards for the hardware. I know I don’t want a rack or a rack mounted server. I don’t have the space for it. My house is old and small and I need something much smaller. A tower server would suite me well.
Tower server’s tend to be a bit quieter as there is much more air flow, thus the fan’s don’t necessarily need to be extremely fast, powerful nor loud.
I have a friend that was selling a tower server I helped him acquire a year ago. It’s an HP ML150 G6. This is a pretty basic server for me but looks like it will work fine. Looking at the specifications from HP, it was an entry modelunit, so it doesn’t have all the higher end components on it. Not a problem.
HP states that this server can take up to 48GB of memory, with both CPU’s occupied. This is a bit of a bummer as I do plan on having a bunch of Virtual Machines and I don’t like being limited by such an amount. Reading up on the forums regarding this server, many people have been able to surpass the 48GB limit. Reading this, I test installed 6 sticks of DDR3 ECC server memory. I currently only have one processor (Intel Xeon E5504 but I have two E5540’s on the way!) installed so I can only use 6 memory slots of the 12 available.
With 48GB of memory installed in the 6 memory slots, I turned on the server and it fired up as normal. Checking BIOS, it reads the memory just fine. WUNDERBAR!
So now for me to utilize 96GB of memory, I need the following:
2x Intel Xeon E5540 CPU’s
Second HP ML150 G6 Heatsink
Third system fan for the second CPU installation
I ordered all the components and now I’m playing the waiting game for all the items to arrive.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten with the server. With a hectic personal life and a busy work schedule, I don’t have a whole lot of time. This will change soon!
The HP ML150 G6 comes with SATA 2 (3Gbps) speeds. As I would like to run an enterprise Samsunsg SSD or possibly a few SAS drives, I will need to look into a RAID controller which will give me faster drive speeds. This server came with the built in HP Smart array B110i SATA Raid controller, which can do RAID 0, 1, and 10.
So the next step is to look into a storage solution. I don’t want to run an external data store. I need to keep power consumption as limited as possible for the server. I plan to have a few hard drives in a raid fashion, stored inside the server.
For personal data, I do have an older HP EX490 server (not stock) that I use for storing images, videos and personal data. The data is saved and replicated to a total of 4, 2TB drives. It’s a older server but it’s worked great for my needs at home.
That’s about it. It’s time to sign off and get some sleep before digging into deploying Bit Locker at my workplace.
Once the components arrive, I’ll create a follow-up post and will document my journey from start to finish.