New (to me) HP Proliant Microserver G7 N54L Build... RAM upgrade, boot device, additional drive bay (non hot-swap)..

    This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy.

    • New (to me) HP Proliant Microserver G7 N54L Build... RAM upgrade, boot device, additional drive bay (non hot-swap)..

      Hello all...

      Openmediavault newbie here.... I have recently acquired a HP Proliant Microserver G7 and will be building + configuring over the next couple of months. Intended use is media storage for the most part. Music, photos, videos:
      • stream FLAC music collection to a laptop/pc to drive a DAC/headphone amplifier
      • will store, organize, develop and publish photos with Lightroom
      • Plex streaming (mostly 480P content) if I get the inclination
      First order of business is to upgrade the RAM to capacity. 8GB max "officially" correct? Will it take only ECC Non-Buffered, or will non-ECC do? Any real benefits with ECC in practice for a home NAS? Any benefit to going beyond 8GB "unofficially"?

      The system has the latest HP BIOS on it.... I see that there are other versions... any real benefits? Again... I'm a newbie...

      Which boot/OS device? I like the idea of a USB drive since I can use 2 of the 4 bays with mirroring... if the data approaches capacity, I can add 2 larger drives and mirror in the remaining bays and move the data over. wash-rinse-repeat until I get a new server. Are there a downsides to running OMV off of a USB drive? Also... I am assuming one needs 2 USB drives to install (1 for the media and 1 to install on).... capacity/type recommendations? I have several 32 and 64 GB spares.

      I also have a Vantec 5.25" EZSWAP 3.5" SATA drive bay I can install on the media bay (presently empty) which I intend to use as a means for data backup (insert a drive, dump data onto it, store at work). It will also be used to dump data from old PC drives to the main OMV storage. Will this work? How does OMV handle drives formatted in NTFS/FAT32?

      Thanks for any responses in advance... I'm sure I'll have more questions as I get into this...
    • diogenes wrote:

      First order of business is to upgrade the RAM to capacity. 8GB max "officially" correct?
      Why? for what you want to do the 2Gb should be enough.

      diogenes wrote:

      The system has the latest HP BIOS on it.... I see that there are other versions... any real benefits?
      The 'other' bios I assume you mean the one from Bios Mods, yes and no, this 'opens up' the bios to hidden settings within the bios, check out homeservershow.com

      diogenes wrote:

      Vantec 5.25" EZSWAP 3.5" SATA drive bay I can install on the media bay
      You may need to hack the bios to make that usable attached to the odd sata port, you'll need to some searching.


      diogenes wrote:

      How does OMV handle drives formatted in NTFS/FAT32?
      Same as any other, but why?

      diogenes wrote:

      I am assuming one needs 2 USB drives to install (1 for the media and 1 to install on).... capacity/type recommendations? I have several 32 and 64 GB spares.
      So you're looking at creating a USB boot/install to install to another USB flash drive? That's possible.....but, and this is only a suggestion, I personally use 32Gb usb flash drives and I have 3, 1 master and 2 working, I then use Win32DiskImager to create an image to write back to the master. If you use usb flash drives you'll need to install the flash plugin.

      diogenes wrote:

      2 of the 4 bays with mirroring
      Why? waste of disk space...use 3 drives and set up UnionFS and SnapRaid both are omv plugins that is what I shall do when mine arrives this week
      Raid is not a backup! Would you go skydiving without a parachute?
    • geaves wrote:

      diogenes wrote:

      First order of business is to upgrade the RAM to capacity. 8GB max "officially" correct?
      Why? for what you want to do the 2Gb should be enough.

      diogenes wrote:

      Vantec 5.25" EZSWAP 3.5" SATA drive bay I can install on the media bay
      You may need to hack the bios to make that usable attached to the odd sata port, you'll need to some searching.

      diogenes wrote:

      How does OMV handle drives formatted in NTFS/FAT32?
      Same as any other, but why?

      diogenes wrote:

      I am assuming one needs 2 USB drives to install (1 for the media and 1 to install on).... capacity/type recommendations? I have several 32 and 64 GB spares.
      So you're looking at creating a USB boot/install to install to another USB flash drive? That's possible.....but, and this is only a suggestion, I personally use 32Gb usb flash drives and I have 3, 1 master and 2 working, I then use Win32DiskImager to create an image to write back to the master. If you use usb flash drives you'll need to install the flash plugin.

      diogenes wrote:

      2 of the 4 bays with mirroring
      Why? waste of disk space...use 3 drives and set up UnionFS and SnapRaid both are omv plugins that is what I shall do when mine arrives this week

      Thanks... not sure how to separate into multiple quotes so here's the response.

      Maxing out the RAM now during the initial build is not cost prohibitive. I might not have a use for it at the moment, who knows in the future? Myself or the next owner might. I just want to build it, get it working and not have to think about dis-assembly should I ever need more RAM.

      So the unused SATA port may not enabled by default.... will look into it. I was hoping to install the EZSWAP so I would have a quick means to dump or load data onto my NAS. Some of these disks may be formatted in FAT/NTFS.

      Doesn't one need a boot disk/media and a drive to install onto? This is why I was thinking I needed 2 USB drives. On the initial install, one can't boot with a USB drive and install onto that same USB drive... right?

      I'll have to look into Snapraid but doesn't it require 4 identical drives or at least drives with the same capacity? At present I have 2x3TB and 2x2TB on hand.
    • diogenes wrote:

      Doesn't one need a boot disk/media and a drive to install onto?
      Yes, that was me probably not explaining very well, so you'll need 1 usb as a bootable image and the other to install onto.

      diogenes wrote:

      I'll have to look into Snapraid but doesn't it require 4 identical drives or at least drives with the same capacity? At present I have 2x3TB and 2x2TB on hand.
      Snapraid requires that the parity drive is the largest, so if you used all 4 one of the 3Tb drives would be used as the parity drive.

      diogenes wrote:

      Some of these disks may be formatted in FAT/NTFS.
      It's always advisable to wipe the drives (Storage>>>Disks) then format ready for use...you'll have to that anyway to set up whatever Raid option you use.
      You can plug in an NTFS formatted drive and omv will mount it for use.

      diogenes wrote:

      Maxing out the RAM now during the initial build is not cost prohibitive.
      In that case then I'll drop you a PM with my address :D :D

      My MicroServer should arrive sometime this week and I shall try and have it up and running by the weekend, I'll try and locate some info regarding the ODD Sata port and experiment with booting a standard laptop drive.

      Found some info regarding 5th (ODD) Sata Port that will require the bios mod
      Raid is not a backup! Would you go skydiving without a parachute?
    • diogenes wrote:

      I am assuming one needs 2 USB drives to install (1 for the media and 1 to install on).... capacity/type recommendations? I have several 32 and 64 GB spares.
      You might avoid a BIOS device naming issue by installing from a CD, to a USB drive.

      When installing from a USB thumbdrive (/dev/sda) to another thumbdrive (/dev/sdb), a grub entry is made to boot /dev/sdb. When the installation source thumbdrive is removed and the server is rebooted, the OS installed on /dev/sdb now becomes /dev/sda - which can result in a boot failure. Whether this happens, or not, depends on the BIOS version, but installing from a CD (/dev/sr0) avoids the issue altogether.

      If you're planning to backup your OS installation (a very good idea), I'd go with 32GB thumbdrives. Some versions of imaging software will image the entire drive, to include empty space, which makes imaging 64GB drives take twice as long when compared to 32GB drives.
      ___________________________________________________________________________________________________

      diogenes wrote:

      The system has the latest HP BIOS on it.... I see that there are other versions... any real benefits? Again... I'm a newbie...
      Upgrading, as @geaves has indicated, come with risks beyond adding potential security holes and back doors. If a mistake is made or something goes wrong during the flashing process, the Mobo can be rendered unusable. It the existing BIOS works, it works.

      diogenes wrote:

      First order of business is to upgrade the RAM to capacity. 8GB max "officially" correct? Will it take only ECC Non-Buffered, or will non-ECC do? Any real benefits with ECC in practice for a home NAS? Any benefit to going beyond 8GB "unofficially"?
      If your box can use it (yours can) always use ECC. Depending on what you do with it, 2GB would work but I'd consider getting a 4GB stick from Ebay ($15 - cheap enough) and testing it for a day or two with memtest86. (Note, if poking around on Ebay, your box uses ECC unbuffered. Registered ECC will not work.) I'd want 8GB, but it's not necessary. OMV runs well on SBC's with 1GB.

      diogenes wrote:

      I also have a Vantec 5.25" EZSWAP 3.5" SATA drive bay I can install on the media bay (presently empty) which I intend to use as a means for data backup (insert a drive, dump data onto it, store at work). It will also be used to dump data from old PC drives to the main OMV storage. Will this work? How does OMV handle drives formatted in NTFS/FAT32?By default, OMV doesn't "automount" drives.
      (As you've noted OMV doesn't automount.) Drives are mounted in the OMV GUI, under Storage, File Systems. After they're mounted, to prevent missing drives issues and Error Dialog boxes, they should be present each time the server is booted up. And while OMV will mount NTFS, frankly, it's better to use a Linux native file system.

      To get data onto and out of OMV, the easiest approach is to set up an SMB network share for copying. Your server has a 1GB NIC so, with 1GB networking equipment and clients, moving data shouldn't take too long.

      Video Guides :!: New User Guide :!: Docker Guides :!: Pi-hole in Docker
      Good backup takes the "drama" out of computing.
      ____________________________________
      Primary: OMV 3.0.99, ThinkServer TS140, 12GB ECC, 32GB USB boot, 4TB+4TB zmirror, 3TB client backup.
      OMV 4.1.13, Intel Server SC5650HCBRP, 32GB ECC, 16GB USB boot, UnionFS+SNAPRAID
      Backup: OMV 4.1.9, Acer RC-111, 4GB, 32GB USB boot, 3TB+3TB zmirror, 4TB Rsync'ed disk

      The post was edited 2 times, last by flmaxey: edit2 ().

    • Nice little machine. I just sold mine.

      I had upgraded mine to 12 GB (8+4 non-ECC). I see no reason why you couldn't go up to 16 GB.

      Why ? 2GB is fine if you're only using it as a file server, but if you are using your NAS to run multiple VMs, then the extra RAM can come in handy. I ran OMV, Plex, Transmission, Sonarr, Nextcloud, Pi-Hole, Logitech Media Server, Jeedom, etc... all in different VMs under Proxmox.
    • Nibb31 wrote:

      2GB is fine if you're only using it as a file server,
      2GB is MASSIVE for a file server with less than 100 users.

      I wonder how many novice Linux users still believe they would be low on RAM while in reality it's just the filesystem cache using the otherwise totally useless RAM so that it at least serves some purpose: linuxatemyram.com

      And if you're really low on RAM simply switch on zram or better zswap when you have somewhat decent backing storage (read as: an SSD and not a HDD). Memory overcommitment of 300% works just fine. Even on impressively underperforming ARM thingies: forum.armbian.com/topic/8161-swap-on-sbc/

      But by looking at Turion II performance numbers and comparing with el cheapo ARM boards the OP's N54L has almost twice the horsepower compared to my test setup (quad-core Cortex-A53 running at 800 MHz). Also with more recent kernel versions zram is more efficient so there's even less reason to not use intelligent approaches to make better use of available DRAM.

      Side note: I did recently 'audit' a VMWare cluster at a customer since they wanted to buy new hardware (CPU ressources ok but they thought they were low on memory). Now they can keep their hardware and add even a bunch more VMs since all I did was monitoring memory usage and then cutting down the amount of assigned memory and switching on zswap (backend storage on a NVMe SSD)
    • New (to me) HP Proliant Microserver G7 N54L Build... RAM upgrade, boot device, additional drive bay (non hot-swap)..

      To all...

      I understand that 2GB may be adequate but other than added power consumption, what are the downsides to 8GB?

      I got this system for under a $100... Adding 8GB isn't going to break the bank even if in it's present use if it doesn't use it... Who knows later on? A couple of years from now I may pass on or sell the system to a new owner and depending on their use 8GB may come in handy.

      Sent from my LM-G710 using Tapatalk
    • diogenes wrote:

      I understand that 2GB may be adequate but other than added power consumption, what are the downsides to 8GB?

      Depending on the perspective (NAS usage or hardware tinkering) the answers might differ. Me personally dealt way to often with crappy RAM upgrades so I simply prefer smart solutions over probably unreliable hardware.

      Last time I got a N54L in my hands checking the links from n40l.wikia.com/wiki/Memory was frustrating.

      So consider my answer being from a NAS point of view trying to explain why 2 GB is not 'low' and how you can simply solve the problem if you really run low on memory (not by throwing hardware at the problem but tweaking settings).

      Also from a NAS point of view ECC RAM is always the best idea since (silent) data corruption sucks. If you love your data then take ECC RAM, if you don't care it doesn't matter.
    • geaves wrote:

      my N54L has 4Gb

      My EspressoBin has 1 GB ;)

      Currently serving 2 clients simultaneously:
      [IMG:http://kaiser-edv.de/tmp/7JkSNN/Bildschirmfoto%202018-09-10%20um%2017.11.12.png]
      805 MB RAM available while also some zram is already used to store inactive pages. Each Fileserver task (backing up one of my client Macs) using a whopping 0.6% of RAM. Memory utilization doesn't change when the clients do other stuff or are executing a NAS benchmark.

      So with my 1 GB RAM and current settings this little NAS could serve 100-150 clients (of course then network and CPU become the bottleneck but available DRAM? No way!)
    • diogenes wrote:

      To all...

      I understand that 2GB may be adequate but other than added power consumption, what are the downsides to 8GB?

      I got this system for under a $100... /---/
      Other than a bit more power consumption, there's is no down side to having more ram.
      (For those who may want to snipe, that generic statement doesn't take into account having dissimilar sticks, different timings, dimm's that are not approved etc., etc.)
      Used ram that's on the compatible list, that's throughly tested, is fine as well. If I had your box, I'd have bought that E-bay stick in the previous link but I would've tested it, non-stop, for at least a couple days before using it.
      ___________________________________________________________________

      If you don't mind the disclosure, where did you get the N54L for under a $100. :) That's a nice little 4 to 5 drive box,, AND it's ECC capable. (That question also is directed to @geaves, since he seems to have a nice clean item as well.)

      Video Guides :!: New User Guide :!: Docker Guides :!: Pi-hole in Docker
      Good backup takes the "drama" out of computing.
      ____________________________________
      Primary: OMV 3.0.99, ThinkServer TS140, 12GB ECC, 32GB USB boot, 4TB+4TB zmirror, 3TB client backup.
      OMV 4.1.13, Intel Server SC5650HCBRP, 32GB ECC, 16GB USB boot, UnionFS+SNAPRAID
      Backup: OMV 4.1.9, Acer RC-111, 4GB, 32GB USB boot, 3TB+3TB zmirror, 4TB Rsync'ed disk
    • flmaxey wrote:

      If you don't mind the disclosure, where did you get the N54L for under a $100. That's a nice little 4 to 5 drive box,, AND it's ECC capable. (That question also is directed to @geaves, since he seems to have a nice clean item as well.)
      I got mine from 'that auction site' :) but mine was £100 incl post....was listed as new, apparently installed Ubuntu but decided not for him and bought something else...it's immaculate, as if it had come from the factory....but don't forget we do pay more here in the UK.
      Raid is not a backup! Would you go skydiving without a parachute?
    • I'm not gonna take sides here but I have to agree with @tkaiser the beast I have is the old school server 4GB Ram single Xeon processor and it served 250 + users and was running Windows Server 2008.

      The new one has 32GB Ram and an 8 core Xeon running Windows Server 2012 with 6 VM's one of those VM's requires a minimum of 8GB (which turned into 12GB minimum in the end, runs a 'heavy' db and finance software)
      Raid is not a backup! Would you go skydiving without a parachute?
    • flmaxey wrote:

      diogenes wrote:

      To all...

      I understand that 2GB may be adequate but other than added power consumption, what are the downsides to 8GB?

      I got this system for under a $100... /---/
      Other than a bit more power consumption, there's is no down side to having more ram. (For those who may want to snipe, that generic statement doesn't take into account having dissimilar sticks, different timings, dimm's that are not approved etc., etc.)
      Used ram that's on the compatible list, that's throughly tested, is fine as well. If I had your box, I'd have bought that E-bay stick in the previous link but I would've tested it, non-stop, for at least a couple days before using it.
      ___________________________________________________________________

      If you don't mind the disclosure, where did you get the N54L for under a $100. :) That's a nice little 4 to 5 drive box,, AND it's ECC capable. (That question also is directed to @geaves, since he seems to have a nice clean item as well.)

      That auction site as well... After some research, I had been looking for one for ~1 month now... wanted an N54L for the faster processor... Set up a search filter and notification and when I saw this one come up for auction I bit.

      I'm downsizing and consolidating everything. I'm coming from the stone age. I built a large desktop which had been powered on 24x7 for file/printer sharing (also for photo developing along with other productivity work)... worked for years but now everyone in the family has laptops and don't touch the desktop. My thinkpad carbon is good enough for lightroom so I had been looking at retiring the big mother desktop which includes all my photos and 6,000 CD music collection in FLAC (will be streaming it to a DAC+Tube headphone amp). I will also be using the opportunity to put my DVD collection on it and get PLEX going as well. Got some work to do this Winter.
    • diogenes wrote:

      I'm downsizing and consolidating everything. I'm coming from the stone age. I built a large desktop which had been powered on 24x7 for file/printer sharing (also for photo developing along with other productivity work)... worked for years but now everyone in the family has laptops and don't touch the desktop. My thinkpad carbon is good enough for lightroom so I had been looking at retiring the big mother desktop which includes all my photos and 6,000 CD music collection in FLAC (will be streaming it to a DAC+Tube headphone amp). I will also be using the opportunity to put my DVD collection on it and get PLEX going as well. Got some work to do this Winter.
      Heavens! Don't forget about SOLID data backup. With drive failures being inevitable, It would be a shame to do the work to consolidate that much data and risk losing it.

      Video Guides :!: New User Guide :!: Docker Guides :!: Pi-hole in Docker
      Good backup takes the "drama" out of computing.
      ____________________________________
      Primary: OMV 3.0.99, ThinkServer TS140, 12GB ECC, 32GB USB boot, 4TB+4TB zmirror, 3TB client backup.
      OMV 4.1.13, Intel Server SC5650HCBRP, 32GB ECC, 16GB USB boot, UnionFS+SNAPRAID
      Backup: OMV 4.1.9, Acer RC-111, 4GB, 32GB USB boot, 3TB+3TB zmirror, 4TB Rsync'ed disk