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My first FreeNAS build

Western Digital Drives - The Preferred Drives of FreeNAS and TrueNAS CORE

KrisBee

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,135

StoreMore

Member
Joined
Dec 13, 2018
Messages
32
If power consumption really is a factor for you I think you'd have a hard time building something more cost effectively than just buying the TrueNAS/FreeNAS mini. The unit is 16W of power diskless or roughly 60w of power with 4 drives. https://www.truenas.com/truenas-mini/#Specification
 

jbduncan

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2020
Messages
12
Hi all - I'm back after a month and half, but I've been having trouble getting GRUB to boot on my HP Microserver Gen8 and I was wondering if you could help me.

I procured a 1GB+ USB stick and installed GRUB onto it from my Ubuntu 18.04 machine like so:

1. Format the USB stick with the name "usb-stick" and a FAT partition taking up all space on the stick
2. Find the disk name with `sudo fdisk -l` (which in my case is "/dev/sdc")
3. Install a BIOS-compatible GRUB on the USB stick with `
sudo grub-install --target=i386-pc --force --removable --boot-directory=/path/to/usb-stick/boot /dev/sdc` (which succeeds)
4. Write the following contents to `/path/to/usb-stick/boot/grub/grub.cfg`:

Code:
set timeout=10
set default=0

menuentry "FreeNAS" --class freebsd --class bsd --class os {
    insmod zfs
    insmod ext2
    insmod part_gpt
    echo            Chainloading hd5 ...
    set root=(hd5)
    chainloader +1
}


5. Eject the USB stick and stick in one of the USB ports in the back of the HP Microserver Gen8
6. Start it up and see its boot progress from the iLO (HP's equivalent of IPMI)

However, it apparently fails to find the USB stick and boot from it, even if I try it in all the USB ports in the back and the internal USB port on the motherboard. After going through the typical HP Microserver Gen8 BIOS boot splash screen, it makes two loud beeps and gets stuck in a loop of printing a number of error messages one after another.

@KrisBee Have you come across this before? Any advice on how to proceed?

In the meantime, I'm considering buying a USB to SATA cable for the SSD, as suggested by post https://www.ixsystems.com/community/threads/bootloader-on-usb-freenas-on-ssd.56430/#post-550410, even if this means I'll lose the ability to monitor the SSD's S.M.A.R.T. data.

(This whole thing is confusing me because I was able to install FreeNAS onto the SSD by connecting a mouse, keyboard, display to the server and then sticking a USB stick with the FreeNAS installer in the back; it's just failing to find FreeNAS or GRUB now.)
 
Last edited:

joeschmuck

Old Man
Moderator
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
8,709
Not to sound stupid but did you select the USB drive as the boot device in the BIOS when the d
Usb drive was plugged in?
 

KrisBee

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,135
@jbduncan Not come across this, did you ever change the boot order in the microserver BIOS, because joeschmuck has a point? I've used USB2 devices and only attached to USB2 ports, not USB3. But then, the internal USB header is only USB2 IIRC.

EDIT: Have you tried making the USB GRUB drive with DOS MBR and single ext2 formatted partition?
 
Last edited:

jbduncan

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2020
Messages
12
@joeschmuck @KrisBee Thank you both for your questions and sorry for the delay!

@joeschmuck After you wrote your post I went and put USB drives at the top of the boot order (silly me, I forgot to do that first!), and then I tried the USB drive in all the server's USB ports, inc. the internal USB port on the motherboard, but despite all that the server was still unable to find either the USB drive or FreeNAS on my SSD.

@KrisBee:

EDIT: Have you tried making the USB GRUB drive with DOS MBR and single ext2 formatted partition?
Good question, I haven't. Would the instructions for this be the same as in this post? I see a reference to ext2 in that post, but not DOS MBR, so I wonder if I need to adjust the instructions a bit for my purposes. (I'm still a bit new to the lower-level details of filesystems and storage devices on Unix-like systems.) Any advice or other thoughts on this?

Regardless, I bought a StarTech.com SATA-to-USB cable earlier this week to connect my FreeNAS SSD to the internal USB port, which has finally solved my booting problem, so I'm not stuck anymore (even if it's not ideal)!
 

KrisBee

Neophyte Sage
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,135
The post you referred is using FreeBSD/NAS to create the GRUB boot mem stick. Just use your Ubuntu machine, you can use gparted if you prefer a gui or just use fdisk at the CLi to create a fresh DOS partition table and single ext2 formatted partition on the USB stick before installing grub on it and creating the correct grub.cfg file.
 

joeschmuck

Old Man
Moderator
Joined
May 28, 2011
Messages
8,709
Regardless, I bought a StarTech.com SATA-to-USB cable earlier this week to connect my FreeNAS SSD to the internal USB port, which has finally solved my booting problem, so I'm not stuck anymore (even if it's not ideal)!
Great news, there are many ways to get from point A to point B, and this should work fine for the boot device.
 

JBOD

Newbie
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
3
Hello everyone, first post and about to pull the trigger on my Windows 10 Gen 8.... (Its been good to me but it time to go!)

Guys with a Gen 8 what is the best use for an SSD? I'm new to FreeNAS and what to put the SSD to its best use (I really want to be kind to my RAM though as this will be my Plex server and the GEN 8 doesn't support much!)

thanks...

BTW jbduncan - temps are a ***** with the GEN 8, I suggest you get Noctua fan and replace the main fan as it way too loud, and plaster on some heatsinks as I did (FYI it turnout to be a doggy HD!)
 

jbduncan

Junior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2020
Messages
12
Hello everyone, first post and about to pull the trigger on my Windows 10 Gen 8.... (Its been good to me but it time to go!)

Guys with a Gen 8 what is the best use for an SSD? I'm new to FreeNAS and what to put the SSD to its best use (I really want to be kind to my RAM though as this will be my Plex server and the GEN 8 doesn't support much!)

thanks...
Hi @JBOD - I'm not sure what you're looking for when you say you want "to put the SSD to its best use". I might be stating the obvious here, but have you considered using it as the disk to install FreeNAS (now TrueNAS) on?

BTW jbduncan - temps are a ***** with the GEN 8, I suggest you get Noctua fan and replace the main fan as it way too loud, and plaster on some heatsinks as I did (FYI it turnout to be a doggy HD!)
Good to know, thanks for the advice re. temperatures. I agree that the default fan is quite loud. Did you have a particular Noctua fan in mind? I ask because a Ctrl+F for "fan" in the HP Microserver Gen8 specs doesn't seem to tell me what size the fan is.

Re. heatsinks, any particular ones you'd recommend? I'm also not clear where the heatsinks would go; on top of the CPU? Any advice on attaching them?

I'm also unclear what you meant by "(FYI it turnout to be a doggy HD!)" Did you mean your hard disk was dodgy, or something else?
 

JBOD

Newbie
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
3
Hi....

I’m trying to find out where I can get the most benefit from my SSD in my setup; This is going to be my Plex box, with a few other apps - is it just a wise move to stick everything on a SSD? Should I partition it? Or would it be better to use a USB stick, use the SSD as a cache drive maybe use another just for Plex? I’ve read the hardware recommendations which are now saying use an SSD instead of USB but not sure if it fits my setup; I think with your setup if you’re using a USB to SATA cable, a USB will surely give the same speeds/results.

I bought these, Evercool RHS-2 VGA Chipet and Memory Heatsinks - they were cheap and helped... they go on all the chips, have a look ILO temps, it gives you all the locations of the sensors... This summer the temps got so hot it keep rebooting, it turn out that it was an old hard drive that I was running windows on for some downloads, it wasn’t a NAS drive, it was 500GB and frankly I was hoping it would die - it’s still going strong in a caddy via USB, but in the server it would ramp up the temperature and reboot the server, it was compounded by the summer heat.

This is the Fan - Noctua NF-A12x25 PWM, Premium Quiet Fan, 4-Pin (120mm, Brown)
Here’s the vid I used : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPn8tXP-ZjI

BTW the HPE website and the way they do things was a learning curve and I still find it massively unhelpful.... with the PCI slot I’m installing a HBA card, it did have a GPU but I don’t think I need it and it was more of a pain as you can’t access Intelligent provisioning...
 
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