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Introducing my HP Microserver N36L / N40L / N54L using WHS2011 + XBMC - Printable Version

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- QLink - 2011-07-29 20:17

thx4info.

my n36l with os installed on factory 250GB HDD takes about 140 sec from first bios post till all services are loaded, if anyone is interested in.
(but acronis service takes his time for sure)

but i dont mind anyway cause i'm running it 24/7 Wink


raid question - aluders - 2011-07-31 09:47

Wondering if any of you have insight into this.

I currently have 4 2TB hard drives setup as 2 mirrored arrays using the onboard raid. I am wishing now that I had just mirrored them using dynamic disks.

Not knowing how exactly this raid controller behaves in these scenarios, I have 2 questions...

If one of the mirrored drives is pulled can it be read as a normal drive? I really don't see why it shouldn't be that way but it wont surprise me if it is locked into that raid controller now. Obviously I could re-format and start over but I have a lot of data on these drives already.

Secondly if it is readable without the raid controller can I just change it to a dynamic disk and say mirror to the other? I know that if I wasn't mirroring I could just convert to dynamic but I haven't tried adding mirroring to know if I would lose data or if it would force formatting then.

Hope that all made sense. I basically want to switch from "hardware" raid to software raid without having to reformat.


- QLink - 2011-07-31 11:47

aluders Wrote:If one of the mirrored drives is pulled can it be read as a normal drive?

yes, it should still be readable.

aluders Wrote:Secondly if it is readable without the raid controller can I just change it to a dynamic disk and say mirror to the other?

never tried that too, so i can't give you a definitve answer.
but i guess this should work also, cause the pulled drive should be seen in windows as normal drive...


- aluders - 2011-08-01 09:31

Worked like a charm....

changed bios from raid to ahci
booted into windows 7, it installed new hardware and I rebooted
opened disk management
convert to dynamic on the first disk of each set
deleted partition from second disk in each set
selected add mirror on the first disk in each set and selected appropriate disk


- jimbosis - 2011-08-02 21:38

Good to know you can drop back to AHCI without any hiccups.

I'm using the onboard RAID with 4 x 2TB and I've been happy with it but one question has been bothering me.

I run my system disk off of a mirrored drive. The swapfile is also on a mirrored drive. I'd think any changes to the swapfile would also be mirrored which could mean degraded performance in some applications. Opinions? I've turned off the swapfile entirely on my rig so this shouldn't be an issue but it is something I've been wondering about.

Another question - I've spanned my disks into a single 3.6GB volume. The big risk of spans is that if you lose one, you lose everything (or spend weeks rebuilding an avocado from guacamole with obscure disk utilities). With RAID 1 there should be no issue with maintaining the volume with a single disk failure, right?

Re: boot speed - from post to XBMC screen (autologon enabled) - I'm at 68 seconds. Server 2K8 / 2GB.


- aluders - 2011-08-03 00:10

Interesting way of doing it. I assume you are software spanning 2 hardware mirrored arrays. I was just thinking about something like that but hadnt come to that conclusion. If that is how you are doing it then ya a single drive failure would be fine. The only advantage to not spanning is that you are guaranteed at least half your data is fine in the event of 2 drive failures. Of course if you got lucky and had 1 from each hardware array fail you would still be fine on all your data.

In the few instances that I wanted to see all my storage as one structure I just used a symbolic link from one drive to a folder on the other. Might be something to think about to see if you need the spanning.


- aluders - 2011-08-03 10:30

It occurs to me what would be sweet as a boot drive for this server is a pci express ssd which would be crazy fast and free up a sata port. Anywone used a revodrive or anything? As it is I have to use the esata port patched back into the case for enough ports.

At second glance the only mainstream low profile pci express ssd is the velodrive models. Super expensive.


- QLink - 2011-08-03 11:03

afaik there's no revodrive with pcie x1 slot out there...

so if you have inserted an dedicated graphicscard into the pcie x16 slot, you only have the pcie x1 slot available.


- red grenadine - 2011-08-03 11:27

This might be a stupid question but can you use this box just to surf the web on your TV? Like does this boot to a desktop much like windows 7? I've never used WHS 2011 before so don't really know what to expect. Looking to make the jump here shortly and am leaning towards this build

Thanks


- QLink - 2011-08-03 11:55

sure it boots like every other windows to a desktop with startmenu, icons, internet explorer and all the other things you know from windows Wink


- red grenadine - 2011-08-03 12:13

QLink Wrote:sure it boots like every other windows to a desktop with startmenu, icons, internet explorer and all the other things you know from windows Wink

Cool. Thanks for the help (throughout the thread). I'll be purchasing a rig very similar to yours shortly.


- aluders - 2011-08-03 20:55

Yeah I saw while I was looking around that there weren't really any for x1.

Best solution I have found is getting one of these to free up that x16 port...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814131432


- QLink - 2011-08-07 20:07

good to know, there are also PCIe x1 HD5450s out there Smile


- aluders - 2011-08-09 00:21

Yeah, that's what that card is.


- jimbosis - 2011-08-09 16:51

Decided to do an overhaul based on various posts in this thread.

1. Added a USB 3 x1 PCI-e card in the spare slot. No LP bracket with it. Amazing what you cna get accomplished with a hacksaw, a dremel and a bench press...

2. Upgraded to Russian BIOS (required reverting to a previous HP BIOS to make it stick) and added a 1GB WD Green in the ODD I had sitting around as a boot drive.

3. Rebooted and got a RAID error - ODD disk was identified as RAID1 missing the mirror - since all of my info was backed up I decided to go to bare metal for the entertainment value.

4. Turned off H/W RAID so I could compare Windows RAID. For entertainment decided to rebuild array as RAID5 - 24 hours later array was at 4%. Time for a mirror instead.

5. Mirrors took about 20 hours to build while restoring +/- 1/6GB from USB 3 drive. Average write speed was about 45 MB/s which seemed perfectly reasonable on a mirrored WD Green.

6. No discernible difference between SoftRAID and Windows RAID. Using MS AHCI drivers based on various posts on the web as to the sketchiness of AMD AHCI.5.

Real-world perceptual performance? Every bit as responsive as the SoftRAID and the added benefit of portability if all hell breaks loose down the line.

Next change is swapping the GT210 with a GT520 - same power draw, about 3 times the GFlops. Necessary? Not really but the onboard XVID decoding in Feature set D appeals to me. HDMI plug on GT210 was a bit loose anyway. Anybody want a Zotac GT210 cheap?