Convert Disk from RAID to Non-RAID – Dell PERC H730 Mini

Last week I was working on setting up two new servers at a new office about 6,000 km away. Initially, everything was going smoothly on Server #1 until I tried to configure the second server in a similar manner.

Let me explain…

We are using the following:
-Dell R730xd servers
–Bios 2.12.1
–iDRAC firmware: 2.75.100.76
-Dell PERC H730 Mini
-Seagate ST8000NM0065 SAS (6 of them)
–Revision K004
-Two volumes
–OS (RAID-1, SSDs)
–Storage (RAID-6, Seagate)

What we did on each server for the OS boot drive is combine two enterprise SSD disk into a RAID-1 configuration. This worked well for us as expected.

While investigating some options for local storage that could possibly be shared, we wanted to do some testing with Microsoft’s Storage Spaces Direct, which required us to remove the Storage Volume and convert the disks from a RAID to Non-RAID configuration.

Server #1 was completed successfully. Entering the iDRAC configuration, we expanded Overview –> Storage and then selected Virtual Disks.

We clicked on Manage and deleted the chosen volume via the drop down option under Virtual Disk Actions.

Once the volume was deleted, we needed to convert each disk from a RAID drive to Non-RAID drive.

This is done by going into the Physical Disks section under storage (within the iDRAC menu) and going to the setup section.


From there, you would just click the Setup section at the top, select each or all disks that you want to reconfigured for Non-RAID and select apply.

This worked great for the first server but not so much for the second server.

When doing so, the job would be accepted and checking the Job Queue which is under the Overview –> Server section, we noticed the following basic error message: PR21: Failed

Since the message didn’t provide enough information, we went to the Logs section under Overview –> Server and selected the Lifecycle Log section.

Here you can possibly get slightly more details but in our case, it wasn’t enough to figure out what was going wrong.

We started off by searching that error message on Dells website and found the following:

We couldn’t find out why we were not able to reformat the disks into a Non-RAID configuration. Server #1 completed this without issues. We compared both servers (exact same spec) and there was nothing out of the ordinary.

We stumbled upon an interesting Reddit post that speaks about a very similar situation. The user in this case had 520 bytes sector drives and was trying to reformat them to 512 bytes.

We compared the drives between both servers and everything was the same. We couldn’t perform the exact steps as identified on Reddit since we couldn’t get the drives detected and we didn’t have any way to hookup each SAS drive to a 3rd party adapter and check the drive details.

We decided to do a test and shut down both servers and move the drives from one unit to the other, thanks to our remote office IT employee. Doing so would identify if the issue is in fact with the drives or with the server/raid controller/configuration.

With the drives from server #2 into server #1, we were able to format them into a Non-RAID configuration with ease. We knew our issues were with the server itself.

Diving more into Dells documentation, we found one area that was not really discussed but required to reboot the server and tap F2 to enter the Controller Management window.

Here, we looked around and found what we believed to be the root cause of our issues, located in Main Menu –> Controller Management –> Advanced Controller Properties.

Look at the last selection, Non RAID Disk Mode, we had this as Disabled!

This wasn’t a setting we setup and the initial testing was done by our vendor a great distance away.

We choose the Enabled option for Non-RAID Disk Mode and applied and restarted the server

With that modified, we loaded back into iDRAC and we were finally able to select all of our disks and configure them as non-raid.

Once done, all the disks were passed through to windows and we were able to use them for our storage and to test Microsofts Storage Spaces Direct.

I wanted to take a few minutes and write this up as this was something we couldn’t pinpoint right away and took a bit of time to investigate, test and resolve.

Some resources that I came across that might help others:

http://angelawandrews.com/tag/perc-h730/

https://johannstander.com/2016/08/01/vsan-changing-dell-controller-from-raid-to-hba-mode/amp/

https://www.dell.com/support/kbdoc/en-us/000133007/how-to-convert-the-physical-disks-mode-to-non-raid-or-raid-capable

https://www.dell.com/support/manuals/en-ca/idrac7-8-lifecycle-controller-v2.40.40.40/idrac%20racadm%202.40.40.40/storage?guid=guid-9e3676cb-b71d-420b-8c48-c80add258e03

Thanks for reading!

Firmware Upgrades on Jabra Headsets (Evolve 20)

Good afternoon all,

Headsets used to be a simple ‘plug it and forget it’ kind of device but there are certain makes and models that can have firmware upgrades applicable to them.

Some headsets that I deal with on a daily basis are Plantronics HW520 with the Plantronics DA70 USB adapter and the Jabra Evolve 20 headsets.

I won’t get into specific details regarding the Plantronic headsets paired with the DA70 USB adapter but avoid that combination if you can. Compared to the Jabra headsets, I’ve had a ton of failures and issues with the Plantronics configuration listed above than I’ve had with Jabra.

Anyways, this isn’t a post to compare both but I just wanted to mention it. I might write a post about this in the future outlining my experience and the issues/failures I’ve seen.

This sunny and hot saturday afternoon, I decided to pop by work to get some quiet time and push through with some outstanding tasks on my plate.

One of the tasks is to prepare a large amount of Jabra Evolve 20 headsets to be deployed to our staff over the comming weeks.

Companies deploy most if not all staff to Work From Home (WFH) due to COVID in 2020/2021+ and while we prepare and send employees to work at home, we want to make sure we patch and reduce the amount of unnecessary calls to helpdesk.

Our staff primarily use Jabra Evolve 20 headsets and they are great, well priced and comfortable but we have had some compatability issues in the past with them.

Some of the issues we experienced was performance and stability of the headset and compatibility with platforms such as Genesys cloud dialers.

When we initially started to troubleshoot, we realized that Jabra Evolve and Plantronics headsets can have firmware upgrades applied to them via Jabra Direct or Plantronics Hub.

When comparing current software versions detected on the headset and new updates and their release notes, we found that often Performance and Stability Improvements are listed in each firmware upgrade along with software compatibility improvements.

When we updated the Jabra Evolve 20 headsets to the latest firmware version as of 2021 (version 4.3.1), we found that our issues were no longer valid. Voila!

95% of these headsets update without issues within the Jabra Direct application but this afternoon I ran into a few headsets that upon starting the firmware upgrade, would error out and no longer cooperate with the application, shown below.

The error above shows after I tried to apply the firmware upgrade, the same way I did it for the many previous headsets.

Pressing Recover Now / Recover just provides me that bland Firmware was not updated message, with the recommendation to contact the local IT Administrator (myself) or Jabra Support.

Since the Jabra Direct application refused to cooperate, I decided to check the Jabra Website to see if a manual firmware upgrade file exists. Low and behold, it does. Release date 2021/04/15, version 4.3.1. I download the file (Jabra_EVOLVE_20_30_4.3.1.zip) and look at the contents of the zip.

Inside is just a basic info.xml and a .hex file.

How do I execute this zip file or the contents of the zip file?

I do some searching online and find mention of an application called Jabra Firmware Upgrade wizard, but I wasn’t able to successfully locate it, nor unsure if it would actually work in my case.

I kept searching and eventually found an article on Jabras website that explains how to manually upgrade the firmware when a failed firmware installation occurs.

The important part of this is when you enter the Updates section of Jabra Direct, press the following keys to unlock the Update From File option.

CTRL + SHIFT + U

As you can see above, the same headset that failed the firmware and failed to recover the previous version, was successfully updated using the .zip file via the Update From File hidden option.

Thinking that the few headsets might have to be RMA’d, I was able to get them updated and ready for deployment.

As this was not an easy find, despite the instructions on Jabras site, I found many discussions and attempts to manually apply the firmware via alternative methods.

Coming across this Jabra article and the hidden menu, I knew I wanted to share it here in the event that somebody runs into the same issue as I have.

Thanks for reading.

VMware VMUG Advantage 15% off discount – 03/13/2021

Hello all,

Those of you that want to the full benefits and features of VMware for a homelab, you can register for the VMware VMUG Advantage Program get a decent discount with the following code:

ADV15OFF

The VMware Advantage is a single user, 1 year subscription for $200.00 USD but if you enter in the 15% code (ADV15OFF), you can get it for $170.00 USD.

This has its benefits as it provides you with various VMware products and the ability to have full access to ESXi and the advanced functions (ie: vSAN + more).

I have no affiliation with this code and I was able to use it today successfully, on May 13th 2021.

This code from what I tested only worked with the 1-year subscription and not the 2 or 3 year.

For those of you that want to know more about this offering from VMware, please see the following link:

https://www.vmug.com/home
https://www.vmug.com/membership/vmug-advantage-membership

It is pricey but if you are working at advancing your skills in this platform, I think it’s a small price to pay.

Sure you can just download ESXi and have the 30 day free version but this is less hassle and has a large community backing this group.

Just last week I was listening onto a session from VMware VMUG presenters about homelab configurations, costs and best practices.

I figured I’d offer this out if anybody wants to try. The code may not work by the time you check so I apologize. I only came across this code from other references on various blogs.

Good luck and stay safe!

Fantastic Article regarding Domain Controller Security

I’ve been recently doing a bit of reading regarding corporate domain security and I came across this short but detailed Microsoft Article that references some best practices.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-server/identity/ad-ds/plan/security-best-practices/securing-domain-controllers-against-attack

One interesting thing that I came across and it might already be common knowledge is the recommendation to enable BitLocker on Domain Controllers.

I figure if anybody is looking at working on their homelab and building skills, you might as well start off with good/best practices which would follow you from the homelab to the corporate world.

The article also has links that open up further security documents such as Administering security policy settings, Avenues to Compromise and configuration of firewall for AD Domains and Trusts.

As I continue to review and read more into these, I wanted to share this link in case anybody else has an interest in this topic.

Error when trying to add ESXi host to VCSA

“Cannot decode the licensed features on the host before it is added to vCenter Server. You might be unable to assign the selected license, because of unsupported features in use or some features might become unavailable after you assign the license.”

That is the exact message I received this past weekend when I was trying to add my Lenovo M93p Tiny ESXi host(s) to my vCenter cluster.

A quick explanation is needed here. While I’m waiting for some networking gear to arrive from eBay, I’ve decided to configure my Lenovo M93p Tiny ESXi hosts together using my VMUG advantage license and install VCSA onto them. The goal is to build a lab/cluster at home and utilize all of the VCSA functionalities.

If you are just reading my post for the first time, read this for some further insight.

Anywho, for each of my three Lenovo M93p Tiny computers, I initially installed VMware vSphere 6.7 that I obtained from myVMware.com.

My hosts are using a very basic IP addresses. 192.168.1.250/251/252.

On ESXI01 (192.168.1.250), I started the process to install the VMware VCSA appliance on said host. When the VCSA configuration was complete, I made sure I had the appropriate license applied to VCSA and under license management.

When I would try to add my host(s) to VCSA, I would get the message that I posted at the top of this post.

“Cannot decode the licensed features on the host before it is added to vCenter Server. You might be unable to assign the selected license, because of unsupported features in use or some features might become unavailable after you assign the license.”

I couldn’t figure it out. Initially I thought this was a license issue but it didn’t make sense. When I installed VCSA on a clients production environment in the past, I never ran into this. Confused, I started searching Google for some suggestions.

Some results pointed to a time specific issue(NTP) or even license related. Both weren’t the case in my situation so I continued my search. Eventually I found something that was quite interesting regarding versions of ESXi and VCSA. The VCSA version cannot be older than the vSphere ESXi version.

This was my best bet as I recalled that my ESXi hosts were on version 6.7 while the VCSA appliance I was putting on was at 6.5. I configured my VCSA with the IP of 192.168.1.253 for the time being.

Why was I trying to put on an older version? Simply to learn and upgrade it. Try to mimic live production tasks and practice at home.

This afternoon I went ahead and downloaded from VMUG advantage the ISO for VMware ESXi 6.0 and VMware VCSA 6.5. This way I can install those, get VCSA setup and after a few days of playing with updates/patches, perform upgrades.

I’m writing this post because it was successful. The issue that I was initially experiencing was most likely due to the version difference.

I know this isn’t an overly technical post but I wanted to write this up in case I ever forget and have to reference this in the future or somebody else may run into this.

Lastly I’d like to recommend the VMware 70785 Upgrade Path and Interoperability page for referencing which versions of VMware products play nice. It helped me confirm that re-configuring my hosts for version 6.0 will play nice with VCSA 6.5.

Thanks for reading!

HP NC523SFP into ML150 G6, Will it work?

My last post went 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.

The NP NC523SFP is sold at a fairly low price point and if it will perform well, seems to be a great option for homelabbers wanting to play around with 10Gb.

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.

Thanks!

What I’ve been up to recently

Since my last relevant post regarding the HP ML150 G6, I’ve been thinking about how to tackle my education on iSCSI/NFS in my home lab environment and also replace my againg 10 year old NAS.

Lets take a step back and let me explain my storage history. About 10 years ago when I beginning to get into IT career wise, I decided to purchase an HP EX490 Mediasmart Server. This little nifty box was one of HP’s products to get their foot into the door of the home NAS market, but the EX490 was a bit more than just a regular NAS.

The EX490 had:

  • Socketed CPU, so upgrading the processor was possible (Intel Celeron 450 2.2Ghz)
  • Upgradable memory (2GB DDR2 but still…)
  • Windows Home Server v1 (based on Server 2003)
  • Toolless drive cages
  • 4 drive bays
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports and 1 eSATA port

This unit was great when it launched and I did enjoy it what it did for me. Although, the OS was already outdated on the launch of the server, shortly after WHS v2 was released. I didn’t bother changing the OS due to the hassle and my data so stuck with the ancient v1 release.

I’ve kept this little box full with Western Digital Green 2TB drives, which have performed flawlessly over 10 years without any failures. I still have them and will post SMART data in anther post.

The EX490 was and still is a great little unit for the tasks it was designed for but we can all agree that those specs are on the light side even a few years ago. It can still handle file serving needs in 2019 for somebody that doesn’t have high requirement so I will try to find a new owner for this little box.

About a year or two after owning this HP EX490, I did upgrade the EX490 from 2GB to 4GB of memory, using the following make and model RAM: Patriot Memory PSD24G8002 Signature DDR2 4GB CL6 800MHz DIMM, PC2 6400

I also had the EX490 upgraded from it’s slow Intel Celeron 450 to a Intel E8400 CPU around that time. Look at how both CPUs compare using CPU-World here. I’ve always wanted to purchase the Intel Q9550s but back then the CPU was fairly pricey and the E8400 I had laying around from past desktop builds.

With the memory and cpu upgraded, I did notice the increase in performance and continued using the NAS for a few more years.

About 4 years ago, bored and having the want to tinker with the EX490, I finally decided to purchase the Intel Q9550s from eBay. The processor arrived and it was immediately installed. The performance bump from the E8400 to the Intel Q9550s wasn’t very noticeable for me but I was able to check that off my list. See the comparison here.

Anyways, that is my real first exposure to a home NAS/server unit, purchased sometime around 2009-2010. I have since collected more data and I’ve been on the hunt to replace the aging EX490.

I’ve toyed with the idea of a custom NAS or enterprise SAN (LOLZ) since that is really the closest thing I can somewhat relate to from my work enviroment. I didn’t know much about Terramaster, QNAP or Synology so I started searching around to try and find out which manufacturer will provide me a scalable yet powerful and quality unit. My needs were quite basic really;

  • Store my personal data, photos and videos from over the years. No brainer
  • Storage for all my Linux ISOs…
  • Capable of iSCSI and NFS storage that I could integrate with my HP ML150 G6 to practice storage configurations.
  • 2-4 NICs so I could do NIC teaming and practice failover.

So on April 12th, I purchased the Synology DS1618+. The fancy matte black unit arrived and I was really excited. I compared many of the Synology units, from the DS918+ all the way to the ridiculously priced DS1819+.

I’ve played around with the DS1618+, setting a 4x2TB SHR1, Btrfs configuration for my personal data and 2x3TB RAID-1 EXT4 for what I wanted to use for datastores for VMware. I liked the OS, it was nice and basic. I was a bit surprised that enabling ‘advanced’ mode in the Synology control panel seemed to have displayed up a few more items, but everything still looked fairly basic. Regardless, it looks like a polished OS overall.

What sat wrong with me was the hardware. The processor was decent and the memory capability with ECC capable RAM is fantastic but I didn’t feel that what I paid (1100.00 CAD) was worth it. About two weeks after receiving the Synology, I noticed QNAP had a few nicer offerings. I looked at a few modes and noticed that the hardware features of QNAP are much better than Synology. Doing some searches on Google, most user’s that have used both platforms have the same opinion. Synology for the OS and updates, QNAP for the hardware. Multiple QNAP units incoporate PCIe slots (one or two) but also have intergrated 10Gb NICs. I wanted to like the Synology, so I looked at the bigger brother, the DS1819+. I don’t really want 8 bays but for scalability and being able to have a hot spare and SSD for caching (or SSD’s for VM’s) is a benefit.

The DS1618+ was starting to look like something I was going to return. Browsing on Amazon, I was surprised to see the massive total price difference between the DS1618+ and the DS1819+. My DS1618+ cost me about $1107.xx Canadian currency. The DS1819+ sells for about $1333.xx + tax, which brings it to a total of about $15xx.xx Canadian dollars.

$400.00 bucks for another 2 bays? No way Jose.

So I actively searched for a comparable but better(in my eyes) QNAP unit. I’ve looked at a few which met some of my requirements, such as the QNAP TS-932x, TVS-951X or the TS-963X. I love how they are 9-bay, have 10Gb integrated but for some reason something didn’t appeal to me.

I kept searching and I found one that looked like a small price increase over the DS1618+ but still cheaper than the DS1819+ and had more capabilities and features. The QNAP TS-873. This seems to tick off all my wants. 4 NICs, 8-bay, lower cost than the Synology unit but much better in hardware. The only real downfall I see is that the CPU uses a bit more power (15W more normal use vs the DS1618+) but the overall gains from it at the price point leave Synology in the dust (IMO of course).

Now people will say that the QNAP OS isn’t as refined as the Synology unit. Sure I get that, but that is something that QNAP can improve over the years. The hardware, well I’m stuck with for the period I plan to keep this unit for.

I am not purchasing a NAS to use at home for 2-3 years. I am looking to get something for the long haul. My HP EX490 operated pretty reliably for nearly 10 years and thankfully I had no failures.

Last night I placed an order for the TS-873 and I am excited to see what this unit holds. I did have two QNAP NAS (TS-EC879U-RP) at work so I have some familiarity of the OS already. I say did because one of them randomly failed out of the sudden. Thankfully I was able to use the other one to retrieve my data from the drives. Qnap support was pretty poor and slow. Oh well.

Anyways, that’s the gist of my storage history for the past 9-10 years. I know RAID and the number of bays are NOT backup, so fear not. Any critical data will be uploaded to Backblaze under a personal account. Their pricing seems fairly good and the general feedback about them looks to be positive.

What do you think? Do you think I made a wise choice? What do you look for when purchasing a NAS?

Thanks!

The trouble with hacks

/rant

I want to rant. I’ve been working as an IT/Sysadmin for about 2 years now and there are two things that I am haunted by.

  1. DNS
  2. Group Policies

Now, I am always learning and I am by no means an expert at windows systems administration. I took on more and more responsibilities that removed me from the ‘IT Support’ role and let me grow into Systems Administration and I continue to learn daily.

Now, not get into specifics, but taking over a AD infrastructure that was neglected by hacks is terrifying. I refer to hacks, as in people that neglect the network, that don’t have a proper vision for documentation and structure and that don’t understand how AD and GPOs work.

Within the IT SysAdmin community “It’s always DNS” is a common phrase and a joke at times. Well god dam, I can’t believe how accurate it is or how powerful DNS is in a network.

You know what irks me? People that use crafty stupid hostnames for critical servers or any server at that. Stupid names such as “Sugar Baby” “Super Man” “Bat Man”, etc… you get the gist.

When you take over a network and have critical servers with stupid naming conventions like that, it can get very easy to shut down the wrong server or make changes because all of the names are so irrelevant. Especially when nothing is documented and you are left to your own to research and investigate carefully.

Not that I’ve had that happen, but I have had a mishap with a DNS record that was named something ridiculous. The server wasn’t even around anymore but a critical server was using that DNS record for a link to an IP in it’s hostfile. Something I never thought to check nor look into.

The other thing that annoys me is the ignorance of not knowing how to properly setup GPO’s and push them out to AD. You do NOT need to enforce everything. Stop doing that. After spending time looking around and cleaning up GPO’s, you wonder what would drive a person to just enforce everything.

Sure, if it’s a critical policy that you want in every OU regardless if it has Inheritance blocking or not but don’t enforce everything just because you are trying to push the policy out faster or believe that it will guarantee that the policy will get to the clients.

I cannot believe that a novice admin is correcting domain wide issue that a senior IT director of many years had made.

I can spend the rest of my afternoon ranting about stuff that I’ve come across but that’s not the point of this post. I wanted to get DNS and GPO’s off my chest only.

I suppose you will find this in any job/career. People that want to take initiative, drive, pride in their work and do the best with what they can. Others will just let things fall into disarray and not bother.

/rant

VMware ESXi – Cannot add VMFS datastore

To give some greater context, see my previous post.

When I was initially planning on how to setup these drives, I configured them with the HP P410 RAID utility as a RAID-0 array. I made the decision to not live such a risky lifestyle and blow away the array and configure it for RAID-1. I want to build a solid homelab that will assist me in aspects of systems administration so I didn’t want to risk everything by running the wrong array.

Anyways, when I booted into VMware, I was unable to add the VMFS datastore after setting it to RAID-1.

I received the following error:

“Failed to create VMFS datastore – Cannot change the host configuration”

As seen by VMware ESXi

I did a bit of searching around and tried to re-scan the datastore and get vmwre to detect it but nothing was working. I soon came across the following VMware communities post here, user Cookies04 was on onto something.

The user identified a very familiar scenario to mine.

From what I have seen and found this error comes from having disks that were part of different arrays and contain some data on them.”

That’s the exact thing that happened to me. RAID-0, some VMware data, then RAID-1.

I proceeded to follow the three easy steps and my issue was solved.

To correct the reported problem

I didn’t really have to post all of this but I wanted to in case somebody were to come across my page and had the same issue.

The interwebz if filled with many many solutions for issues. I’m just adding what’s worked for me.

🙂

HP Ml150 G6 – My first datastore

I don’t spend the amount of time on my home server as I’d like to. After a long day of sitting at my desk at work, dealing with production servers and everything super sensitive, I try to unwind a bit and work at a slow pace. My slow pace this week is my esx datastore.

I’ve spent the past couple of days thinking about how I want to setup the datastore that will contain my virtual machines. Initially I had the HP P410 RAID controller connected to two, WD Green drives in a RAID-o array. I was satisfied with that at first because the drives will run at SATA 2 speeds and hopefully RAID-0 will improve the performance ever so slightly.

Then I got thinking, my goal is to setup a ‘corporate’ environment at home. Multiple domain controllers, WSUS, Sophos Firewall, play with SNMP and PRTG monitoring but that made me realize that I don’t want to build a large environment that will go to waste if one drive was to fail. My ultimate goal is to move onto SSDs and use a more complex raid (RAID 6 or 10) for this server, but that’s down the line when I free up funds and more resources.

Last night, I decided to delete the RAID-0 array, pull out the WD Green drives and install two new-to-me 1TB SAS drives and proper cabling (Mini SAS SFF-8087 to SFF-8482+15P). I briefly talked about the cabling in this previous post.

I purchased a few SAS drives from ebay, not knowing exactly which one would be compatible with the HP P410 raid controller. Most of what I can find on the internet, points to the HP P410 controller not being picky with the brand of drives.

Initially I installed a two Seagate 1TB SAS ST1000NM0045 drives but the RAID utility would not want to see the drives. Thinking it’s the cable, I replaced it with a spare but the outcome was still the same. I did a bit of searching around and found a discussion on serverfault.com, regarding HP Proliant not recognizing EMC SAS drives. One user points out that some drives can be formatted in 520-byte sectors vs 512-byte sectors that you would normally get on normal PC/server class drives.

I haven’t tested that theory but I will. With that said, I decided to install two other drives, which surprisingly worked right away.

The drives that are functioning fine with the HP P410 raid controller are:

  • Dell Enterprise Plus MK1001TRKB
  • Seagate Constellation ES.3 ST1000NM0023

Now that I have two drive’s in a RAID-1 array, I loaded into VMware ESXi and proceeded to add a the new VMFS datastore. Adding the datastore gave me some issues, which I’ve documented here.

I have in my possession two SAMSUNG Data Center Series SV843 2.5″ 960GB drives that I purchased about 2 years ago from newegg for a fantastic price. I’ve toyed with using them in this build, but the SSD drives would only work at SATA 2 speeds. Maybe I’ll use them to house my personal data, but I should purchase a few more to do RAID-6 or RAID 1+0.

Regardless of my direction, I am still working out the kinks in my homelab environment.

Ideally, I’d like to find a cheap or reasonably priced NAS that has iSCSI ports. I then would be able create two datastores on the NAS, one for extended VM storage if required and the other for user data.

Thanks for reading.