HP MicroServer Gen8 – OMV NAS

Early into this semester I bought a HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8. A few months after, everything seems to running well! 🙂

This is a huge upgrade from the Noontec N5… oh, *exFAT* as a 24/7 single disk NAS filesystem? NEVER AGAIN. Especially as it definitely wasn’t running any of Microsoft’s OSes!

I purchased the most basic option, with a Celeron G1610T processor at ~$310 AUD (incl. shipping), and thanks to ozbargain for an eBay discount coupon, the deal included 8GB RAM (up from the 4GB base).

Hardware

Firstly, the case is metal – and it’s heavy! Great construction and build overall.

The rear fan runs at about 9% speed. It’s not silent/quiet as with Synology/QNAP class NAS units. At the same time, it’s not LOUD either except during POST. My phone measures 28dB. Don’t put it in your bedrooms, but its ok if it’s in the next room.

Software

With the box installed, you power it on… and now it’s time to put it to work! Unlike “NAS units” you can buy from the likes of Synology/QNAP/Netgear, which include a whole suite of built-in software services, with these servers you have to provide any functionality yourself.

For the server OS I picked, from a friend’s recommendation:

OS: Debian GNU/Linux Jessie

Distro: OpenMediaVault

Installing OMV (OpenMediaVault) was without a hitch. The web ui is nothing fancy, but it does do the job – mostly with initial configuration tasks. Once everything is set up, the majority of interaction here at home is through Samba.

I tested out VirtualBox on OMV. This required some ‘unofficial’ debs to get working as OMV 3.x was (is still?) under active development. It fared ok on the Intel Celeron G1610T processor (2 Cores @ 2.30 GHz), but I didn’t really push it much. To keep power and bills down I’ll be keeping the MicroServer as a file server.

One thing that isn’t working right now are the hp-health Linux packages from HP. As shown below, the BIOS (?) has a ACPI issue. The latest BIOS was released in 2015, so I suppose it won’t be getting a fix. This just means that iLO configuration must be done through the iLO web interface rather than from the server OS (Linux).

 [ 31.739273] ACPI Error: SMBus/IPMI/GenericSerialBus write requires Buffer of length 66, found length 32 (20160831/exfield-427)
 [ 31.739278] ACPI Error: Method parse/execution failed [\_SB.PMI0._PMM] (Node ffff92d5cb8ad960), AE_AML_BUFFER_LIMIT (20160831/psparse-543)
 [ 31.739283] ACPI Exception: AE_AML_BUFFER_LIMIT, Evaluating _PMM (20160831/power_meter-338)
 [ 32.187087] systemd[1]: Started /etc/rc.local Compatibility.
 [ 32.214026] vboxpci: IOMMU not found (not registered)
 [ 32.481794] systemd[1]: Started The OpenMediaVault engine daemon that processes the RPC request.
 [ 32.734653] systemd[1]: Started LSB: HP AMS helper.
 [ 33.314447] systemd[1]: Started LSB: Keeps folders in RAM.
 [ 33.486941] amsHelper[1157]: segfault at 7f8909069fff ip 000000000043a87c sp 00007fff0efeda50 error 4 in amsHelper[400000+192000]

I may be interested in FreeNAS in the future – which appears to be well supported, widespread in use, and perhaps more mature (considering my VirtualBox OMV plugin install experience). But for now, I’ll be running with Linux and EXT4.