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HP NL40 (previously ZFS for esxi): only 2 of 6 ssd's visible in windows 2012

Posted on 2014-01-24
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Last Modified: 2014-01-24
Hi,

Please see previous post (http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_28347213.html) for more info.

Currently my NL40 is on latest HP Bios firmware. Now I succesfully installed Windows 2012 by setting SATA controller mode to IDE (previously it was AHCI, RAID is also an option).
I also installed the megaraid tool (http://www-947.ibm.com/support/entry/portal/docdisplay?lndocid=MIGR-5077712) which allows me to configure raid.

However, now only 2 out of 6 ssd's in sharkoon are visible in Windows. All sata drives are drives but only 2 ssd 's (60 GB OCZ's Agile 3) can be seen, the other drives: Kingston 120 GB are not visible. Probably something in BIOS, but not sure what.

Please advise. In BIOS harddiskdrives all show.

J.
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Question by:janhoedt
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29 Comments
 
LVL 124
ID: 39806394
How are your SSD drives connected to your Host Server?

The LSI connector, only supported 4?

So do you have 4 connected to LSI, and 2 SSDs connected to motherboard?

Motherboard BIOS should really be set to AHCI or RAID not IDE, this is for old legacy drives.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39806414
I have an LSI LSI SAS 9211-4i | LSI00190.
Sata s are connected to motherboard indeed. 1 ssd via esata (bios fix), other on motherboard but those disks it cannot see. It are only two of four connected to lsi (sharkoon), it can see.  

When on AHCI, it could see all drives but Windows couldn't install(?!)
When on IDE, it can install to the drives but it can only see 2?
Now when I switch back to AHCI ... Windows boots up ... and sees them all.

Damn, do I really need this trick to install?
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39806424
You must have AHCI and all RAID disabled.  You do NOT want a megaraid controller. You want a plain, vanilla non-RAID LSI controller.   The megaRAID firmware will virtualize the I/O and not only kill performance, but defeat all the advantages of ZFS in the first place.

Your disk configuration is simply a non-starter.   Get the right controller for the job.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39806425
Oeps, not correct, it sees one disk more, 1 of 120 GB but that's it.
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LVL 124
ID: 39806427
Okay, so you have

4 x SSDs - connected to LSI controller.

2 x SSDs - connected to Motherboard. (please note now that you have un-done the BIOS-FIX both these SSDs will only operate in legacy IDE mode, AHCI is not available, unless you have hacked your new BIOS!)

AHCI will only affect the disks connected to the motherboard.

AHCI BIOS enabled on motherboard will not alter LSI config.
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39806429
Clarification, you must have AHCI on, and a non-RAID controller.  Legacy mode will kill performance also, as it restricts use of many of the low-level ATA commands that one needs for large block I/O and queued commands.
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LVL 124
ID: 39806436
@dlethe This is a standard Windows 2012, no VMs, no ZFS!

also as the mapping of the LSI Storage BIOS is not working, it's unlikely you will be able to BOOT an OS, from any RAID configuration or disks on this controller.

So you will need to BOOT your OS from the disks attached to motherboard, and they will only be in IDE mode, because eSATA and CDROM SATA port, and restricted to IDE only. (without hacking your BIOS!)
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LVL 47

Expert Comment

by:David
ID: 39806441
Buy another controller if you have to, strictly for the SSDs.  Legacy mode is absolutely unacceptable or you leave a great deal of performance on the table.  Use host-based software mirroring on them.  In perfect world you'll get 2X the read performance.
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LVL 124

Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 39806446
Damn, do I really need this trick to install?

with you current configuration, and motherboard BIOS, yes this is what is required.

I did recommend another server, you would not have ALL this hassle with!

(PS We've already been there, and feel your pain with the Microserver!)
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39806505
The config costed me quite some money. Can t switch for now.  Thanks for all the answers but what should I do then to make it work on Windows 2012? Flash the bios to hack? Then use software mirroring? No use of lsi then?
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LVL 124
ID: 39806523
LSI and connected disks will work in Windows 2012, but you will not be able to boot from these disks.

Software Mirror in the OS on SSDs, probably will work as well as RAID (which you cannot configure!).

if you flash back - no support for Windows 2012 R2.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39806557
Please clarify. What is the conclusion then?
I do have all disks on software raid now, my only option I guess(?) so performance should not be less then hw/lsi raid?
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LVL 124
ID: 39806575
If you are happy with the performance "leave as is".
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39806589
After reboot screen is black.
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LVL 124
ID: 39806643
has it rebooted?
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39806644
Back to square one then.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39806649
Yes, it rebooted.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39806658
I might consider buying another machine after all then. Esxi on it this time and ZFS for vm's and NAS functionality. The one you proposed seems interesting, but why not 64 GB instead of 32 GB (to not bump into limits a few years from now ... again). And I'd also like to built in my Shakroon with SSD's .... Now I have a mixture of ssd's, lsi, rac. Hope to recuperate at least some of it.
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LVL 124
ID: 39806675
The server listed is entry level, not designed for Hypervisors!

If you want a large Hypervisor system, use a desktop and add 64GB of memory.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39806742
Off the record: raid created with megaraid software (windows), will it persist? Then I can use it for my zfs vm on esxi.
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LVL 124
ID: 39806773
Yes, it should be fine.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39807063
No it was not, unfortunately. Back to ZFS now. Flashed the bios. I've set the steps: http://homeservershow.com/hp-microserver-n40l-build-and-bios-modification.html but the 6 th disk is not visible ...
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LVL 124
ID: 39807075
Yes, that site references my site.

Use another N40L, maybe the newer bios has changed something, and this server will no longer correctly, apply this hack.

Did you factory reset the CMOS.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39807084
Never mind, I only need 5 disks, 2 for OS, 3 for cache & logs. Thanks anyway.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39807169
And a black screen after reboot. This never ends.
Sounds familiar though, this blinking cursor. Had it before but no clue what it was.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39807185
And here it is: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/VMWare/Q_27976696.html

but I'm installing from USB from external usb drive.

Though I yanked the cd drive out, that's true. I'll try to reinstall and remove cd-rom instead of usb of cd drive.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39807187
Maybe that could also be the  problem of my Windows 2012 installation before ....
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39807332
No luck this time. Reinstalled Nexenta with cd usb drive. After succesfull install I rebooted, ejected the cd when on boot screen ... blinking cursor. Nothing happens.
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Author Comment

by:janhoedt
ID: 39807360
No lights are blinking on the sharkoon. I removed all but the two laptop disks on which I installed the Nexenta OS. No lights blink, it's just not looking at the ssd's in the sharkoon.
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