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HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 fan issue solution

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HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 is a great piece of hardware which would be perfect as XPEnology host but it has a problem: when iLO drivers are not installed the HDD temperature can't be read so the fan will be set at a safe value (at least 39%) to prevent overheating. Of course, the noise coming out of this fan level is rather high so the MicroServer can't be used in environments where noise is a problem.


The solution is simple but challenging in the same time: have the right drivers for iLO. As the drivers are closed source from HP, the chance of getting this from HP is rather low. Still, as HP provides drivers for ESXi the solution is to use XPEnology on ESXi with Raw Device Mapping (RDM) so that the disks are accessed directly and not via a VMDK container. This setup allows unplugging the disks from MicroServer and attach to another XPEnology machine to have all the data available immediately.


As there is no straight forward tutorial on how to do this I've created the tutorial myself, to help other HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 (and not only) users:


1. Install a 2.5’’ HDD on your HP Proliant Microserver Gen8 in the optical bay (see details at http://www.adamfowlerit.com/2013/09/30/ ... rld-usage/ ) and add more RAM if possible. ESXi can be installed on a microSD card or USB drive but you need a HDD to host a datastore as this is required for RDM.


2. Configure each individual drive in Smart Array Controller as RAID0 – start with 2.5’’ HDD first and then the other drives as this will allow booting from the 2.5’’HDD drive (will get the lowest logical drive ID and the system will always boot from the lowest logical drive ID)


3. Download the HP Customized ESXi Image for HP ProLiant Servers from http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/serv ... image.html


4. Install ESXi on the 2.5’’ HDD using the downloaded ESXi image. Please note that you need more than 2GB RAM for ESXi 5.0.0 / ESXi 5.1.0 and more than 4GB RAM for ESXi 5.5.0 otherwise you’ll get “MEMORY_SIZE ERROR: This host has 1.84GiB of RAM. 1.97GiB are needed” or “MEMORY_SIZE ERROR: This host has 3.84 GiB of RAM. 3.97 GiB are needed”

There is a workaround to minimal RAM size when installing ESXi (source: http://simon-simonnaes.blogspot.no/2012 ... b-ram.html and http://dtucker.co.uk/virtualization/byp ... are-esxi-5 ):

• Boot the system from USB Stick with ESXi installer on it.

• Once the installer welcome screen shows up, press ALT+F1

• Login as “root”, no password.

• cd /usr/lib/vmware/weasel/util

• rm upgrade_precheck.pyc

• mv upgrade_precheck.py upgrade_precheck.py.old

• cp upgrade_precheck.py.old upgrade_precheck.py

• chmod 666 upgrade_precheck.py

• vi upgrade_precheck.py

• Type “/MEM_MIN” and press ENTER

• Press “i” for insert

• Edit the line to read “MEM_MIN_SIZE= (1*1024–32)”

• Press ESC and then type “:w” and ENTER

• Press ESC and then type “:q!” and ENTER

• ps -c | grep weasel

• Note the process id for “python”

• kill –9 /

• This brings back the main screen where you continue the install process


5. Download Trantor archive available at http://xpenology.trantor.be/xpenology.c ... xi_v1.1.7z and extract the VMDK


6. Open up the vSphere client and create a virtual machine using custom configuration, any name you want for the virtual machine (like XPEnology), the files stored on the datastore available from the 2.5’’ HDD, Virtual Machine version 8, Linux 64-bit (any flavor you want) as OS, 1 virtual socket and 2 cores per virtual socket, as much memory you want to allocate to this machine, 1 LAN as VMXNET 3, VMware Paravirtual SCSI controller and no disks attached.


7. Upload (using datastore browser) on the datastore used to hold the VM configuration files the VMDK file from Trantor (see step 5) in the VM folder. Once the VMDK is uploaded attach it to the VM using “Edit virtual machine settings” on the VM, add hard disk, use an existing virtual disk and select the VMDK from Trantor.


8. Enable SSH service on ESXi by going to Configuration / Security Profile (under Software section) / Services Properties / SSH Options and start the SSH service.



13. Power on the virtual machine, connect using “Synology Assistant” and install the system with the standard PAT file from Trantor.


14. Configure your XPenology machine


15. Download DSM update, create a task with the below code, execute the task and finally apply the update.

sed 's/flashupdateDeb/flashupdateDeb1/' /autoupd@te.info > /autoupd@te.info1

mv /autoupd@te.info1 /autoupd@te.info


If this is not working try to remove files autoupd@te.info from the root folder (rm /autoupd@te.info* )and execute the update step again


16. You’re done, enjoy it!




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Did you separate the drives an use XPEnology just for the compatibility with other XPEnology solutions or for any performance reasons?


I have just ordered a Gen8 2020 with 16GB ram, 4 x 4TB WD Reds + SSD boot and plan on performing the same installation as you have done here (great guide btw) but using the i120 RAID controller to create a single 4x4 datastore to present to ESXi so I have additional flexibility for other VM hosts.


I saw in another post related to the N54L that a VM based install of XPEonolgy halved the data transfer rate. What's your experience so far?




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I saw in another post related to the N54L that a VM based install of XPEonolgy halved the data transfer rate. What's your experience so far?



On N54L with 2.2Ghz CPU, performance is closer to native (80MBps+). On older, slower models it does suffer noticeable. On the newer Gen8 I would expect the difference between native and VM performance even lower, but it depends on the other VMs behavior.

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This setup was meant mainly to have XPEnology on a quiet HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 and only secondary to have compatibility with other systems. You can install XPEnology directly on the MicroServer Gen8 but you won't have drivers for iLO meaning that the fan will be noisy (at least 39%) - you need to do the workaround with ESXi in order to get the temperatures from the HDD into iLO and have the fan spinning at low rate (I have the fans at 6%).


If you setup your HDD as a single RAID0 volume you'll get max of the space but will loose the redundancy - in case of any drive failure you'll loose all data. As MicroServer Gen8 can't do RAID5 at hardware level you'll have to use Synology's SHR if you want redundancy.

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Ok, it's dead silent now :mrgreen:

However, i installed it on a 3.5GB internal drive, and i'm using the remaining diskspace as datastore.

The problem is that copy speed is around 50 Mb/s. Would RDM improve this?

There's one thing i noticed. The rear USB 3.0 ports are not working. Do you have any idea why?


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You are right: write speed is significantly higher than read speed (100MB/s vs 50 MB/s) but I don't know exactly why. Still, it seems that this comes from DSM itself and it's not a result of virtualization - the same behavior happens on bare metal installation of DSM (the "noisy" approach).

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There's a new firmware update that brings the fans down to 27%. Still nowhere near the 6% you're likely getting with this method. I flashed it and it works okay. I updated through iLO since I didn't have an OS and it went smoothly. I used the file named CPQJ0612.B69. It was a bit of a pain to extract using my mac but that's all I have handy at the moment so I've uploaded the file to this link if anyone wants it. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwdOXjhCCqWcUXhXcDJqRkxsNjQ/edit?usp=sharing





For what it's worth, I wasn't able to get past the ram limitation issue with ESXi 5.5 from the HP website. I haven't tried any other configurations.

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  • 1 month later...

Just joined and recived my gen8 yesterday but i got a couple of questions, first Very nice guide, thanks bulisor007 for ur compilation and explanation, now almost all works as i need,but i got the problem that the usb extrnal hardrives dosnt work, how do you enable usb support?, and also i got another, if i reinstall the xpenology for whatever reason how can i mount again the disks created in ESXi again whitout losing data.

PS. The Microserver Gen8 is a very nice piece of hardware

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Too bad I read this post a little late. I already have my gen8 server running esxi and xpenology with 3 disks running RDM but not using raid0 and using ahci mode. Fans are a little loud at 27%. Is there a way to still use raid0 mode without loosing all the data?

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  • 4 months later...

Hi everyone,


First of all, thanks bulisor007 for the guide.


I'm an absolute newbie when it comes to configuring the microserver as I'm actually still contemplating of getting one. I've been using a 4 bay synology for quite a while, which is why I'm attracted to using the DSM even though I know I can also use Freenas and other options. The reason why I'm considering the HP microserver is because it's cheaper than synology and also it is more versatile with usb ports and can attach an optical drive. I just have a few questions which I wish someone can help me with before I make the jump.


1. From the specifications, it said it can support up to 4x 3TB hdds. Can it take the WD 4TB Red instead or the 3TBs?

2. One of the main reason for buying the microserver is for the USB port, but if I use the DSM, can I actually use the usb port to transfer files since I don't think DSM actually uses usb ports.

3. Apply question no. 2 to an optical drive.


Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks in advance!

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