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SOLVED Unable to boot FreeNAS on SSD

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

exhaler

Dabbler
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12
Hello,

I have a HP ProLiant ML310e Gen8 v2 build using a USB to boot FreeNAS, been using it for 5 years now and it started to degrade in performance and long boot times, so i bought a cheap 120GB SSD (patriot blast) and connected it to the sata port.

I was able to install FreeNAS on it (11.2 release) however i'm unable to boot it, below are the things I have tried so far:
  • Change boot to AHCI in BIOS however since the SSD is port 6 (the HDDs take port 1-4) the system will not boot. And i cannot easily change the cables because they are hardwired and using caddies, and in the BIOS I don't have an option to change which port to boot first.
  • I came across this guide https://www.admfactory.com/hp-microserver-gen8-boot-from-ssd-install-on-odd-bay/ which says to use the Dynamic Smart Array B120i RAID to create a RAID0 logical drive on the SSD and make it the bootable drive, however when it boots i get a "BTX halted" message
Any help is appreciated, been working on it for the last 4 hours with no luck o_O
 

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Joined
Oct 18, 2018
Messages
969
Change boot to AHCI in BIOS however since the SSD is port 6
On a recent install I was playing with I had to change the boot to Legacy. During the install I selected the same option so this makes sense.

in the BIOS I don't have an option to change which port to boot first.
That is strange and would obviously be a problem if you can't get the bios to look to your new SSD as the primary boot device.

which says to use the Dynamic Smart Array B120i RAID to create a RAID0 logical drive on the SSD and make it the bootable drive
I am somewhat skeptical. FreeNAS doesn't play well with RAID. FreeNAS likes direct access and control over disks so it can properly monitor them and keep your data safe. I realize this is just a boot device but I suspect you'd be likely to have issues with your boot device more often than is typical as a result.

It also looks like that system has a non-intel 1G NIC. Generally for 1G NICs Intel has the best support. I'm not sure whether your NIC will work or not. If it doesn't, you could pick up a cheap used intel NIC online and give that a shot.

Though, I don't know that the other specs will affect this specific issue, would you mind posting more of your system specs? It is considered best practice so folks helping out can easily see what is going on. Consider me curious. :)

What do you plan to use this FreeNAS build for?
 

exhaler

Dabbler
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12
On a recent install I was playing with I had to change the boot to Legacy.
When I switch to legacy the system hangs on the POST screen, also i tried installing FreeNAS twice once using UEFI and another time using Legacy BIOS

That is strange and would obviously be a problem if you can't get the bios to look to your new SSD as the primary boot device.
Yeah, in the BIOS i can select only the hard drive but doesn't give me the option to choose which port, maybe a BIOS update might fix this?

System specs:
  • HP ProLiant ML310e Gen8 v2 4u Micro Server Tower with Intel Xeon E3-1220V3 Processor "
  • ML310e Gen8 ® Xeon® E3-1220v2 (3.1GHz)
  • 8MB,L3 Cache
  • HP 4GB 2Rx8 PC3-1600E(DDR3) up to 32 GB memory
  • B120i SATA raid controller(Raid 0/1/10)- up to 4 LFF HDDs
  • 1 X 1TB 6G SATA 7.2k 3.5" NHP MDL HDD up to 4 HDDs
  • HP 350W Pwr Supply no redundant option
  • HP Ethernet 1Gb 2-port 330i
  • HP SATA DVD ROM JackBlack kit
  • Micro ATX Tower (4U)
What do you plan to use this FreeNAS build for?
I mainly use it for storage: movies, series, pictures etc..
 
Joined
Oct 18, 2018
Messages
969
HP 4GB 2Rx8 PC3-1600E(DDR3) up to 32 GB memory
Freenas liked a minimum of 8GB. Less than that and the os may be paid fully slow, u nresponsive, etc. It looks like itll support 32GB. If you get it booting you may want to pick up a stick of the largest DIMM that board will take to get you over the 8GB mark.


B120i SATA raid controller(Raid 0/1/10)- up to 4 LFF HDDs
I assume the system came with the RAID card. As I mentioned above FreeNAS does not play well with raid cards. Is it to this card you are plugging in the SSD? Does your board have on board SATA? If so try using those. If not, you may want to pick up an HBA and try that.

I dont know your board specifically so I cant offer more specific suggestions. It supports ecc ram and enough of it to run FreeNAS just fine. It also has an appropriate cpu. It looks to me like the issue is whether you can get it booting without using that raid card. You might get away with booting off the raid card if you could swing that but it isnt ideal. Definitely dont put storage disks on it though as the combination of FreeNAS and RAID cards can lead to unfortunate data loss.
 

exhaler

Dabbler
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12
The system has 8GB of Ram, works when booting from the USB.
I assume the system came with the RAID card
Its built it, in the BIOS i can switch between Legacy/AHCI/B12Oi (raid)
Does your board have on board SATA
Yes, but the port number connected to the SSD is 6, so when booting using AHCI it will load the FreeNAS HDD (port 1-4) which will fail :(
 

KrisBee

Wizard
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,278
Keep B120i in AHCI mode with no RAID defined. If you have ilo license you should be able to install FreeNAS to your SSD attached to port six remotely, but can't boot it post install (or remove all hard drives, and put SSD in first drive bay to install FN). To be able to boot from the SSD attached to port six, create a usb grub boot stick and create a stanza to point to the FN installed on your SSD.

See here for grub details: https://www.ixsystems.com/community/threads/11-2-who-has-installed.71696/page-6#post-498218
and https://www.ixsystems.com/community/threads/bootloader-on-usb-freenas-on-ssd.56430/#post-395761
 

Chris Moore

Hall of Famer
Joined
May 2, 2015
Messages
10,078
Last edited:

melloa

Wizard
Joined
May 22, 2016
Messages
1,747
System specs:

I'd re-think the purpose of your server. It has, at least, two things that won't be recommended to run FreeNAS: RAM and RAID -
to that you'd reply: I was running before on a USB stick ...

True, but again not the recommended configuration.

Anyways, check the latest BIOS and RAID firmware and upgrade to see if the new one has an option that would you let select the boot device. If not mistake my DL360 G7 had that option added after the last upgrade I did. HPE has a Smart Firmware CD that you can boot from and update all at the same time. Disclaimer: HPE site is a PITA to find things, so good luck.

Other option: Go back to USB.

P.S. 1 - I hope you have saved your config
P.S. 2 - You will run into problems with this configuration
 

exhaler

Dabbler
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
12
Thanks everyone for the help & advice. I followed @KrisBee method and installed GRUB on a USB which boots up FreeNAS on the SSD.

After days of reading posts on Gen8 it seems it doesn't have the capabilities to choose which boot port to use or more boot options in the BIOS even after managing to find the HPE Service Pack and updating it :rolleyes:

Here is what I did:
  • AHCI boot (disabled the RAID controller)
  • Created a GRUB on a USB to boot FreeNAS (grub.cfg below)
  • Uploaded FreeNAS configuration to get everything back to normal
Code:
set timeout=3set default=0

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

Bob Findlay

Cadet
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
7
Keep B120i in AHCI mode with no RAID defined. If you have ilo license you should be able to install FreeNAS to your SSD attached to port six remotely, but can't boot it post install (or remove all hard drives, and put SSD in first drive bay to install FN). To be able to boot from the SSD attached to port six, create a usb grub boot stick and create a stanza to point to the FN installed on your SSD.

See here for grub details: https://www.ixsystems.com/community/threads/11-2-who-has-installed.71696/page-6#post-498218
and https://www.ixsystems.com/community/threads/bootloader-on-usb-freenas-on-ssd.56430/#post-395761

Hi @KrisBee

I have my Gen8 configured in exactly the same way as you guys - 2xHDD in the main bays, Freenas 11.2-U3 installed on SSD in the ODD, but I am really struggling to get the GRUB loader working on a USB stick.
I have created a GRUB using "sudo grub-mkconfig -o /mnt/boot/grub/grub.cfg", then I've edited that file using Nano so that it contains the only the code you have shown above (should I have left some of the original Grub code in there too?).
When I reboot my Proliant, it goes through the POST then tries to boot from the USB stick but hangs at "Attempting Boot From USB DriveKey (C:)".

The USB stick is in one of the ports round the back, which I know it can access as this is the same port I used when installing FreeNas on the SSD.

Have you got any suggestions I could try to get FN to boot, as I do not know what to do now! Please help

Let me know if you need any further details from me.

Cheers, Bob
 

Bob Findlay

Cadet
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
7
Hi @KrisBee

I have my Gen8 configured in exactly the same way as you guys - 2xHDD in the main bays, Freenas 11.2-U3 installed on SSD in the ODD, but I am really struggling to get the GRUB loader working on a USB stick.
I have created a GRUB using "sudo grub-mkconfig -o /mnt/boot/grub/grub.cfg", then I've edited that file using Nano so that it contains the only the code you have shown above (should I have left some of the original Grub code in there too?).
When I reboot my Proliant, it goes through the POST then tries to boot from the USB stick but hangs at "Attempting Boot From USB DriveKey (C:)".

The USB stick is in one of the ports round the back, which I know it can access as this is the same port I used when installing FreeNas on the SSD.

Have you got any suggestions I could try to get FN to boot, as I do not know what to do now! Please help

Let me know if you need any further details from me.

Cheers, Bob

Sorry - wrong user - I meant to reply to exhaler above!
 

Bob Findlay

Cadet
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
7
Thanks everyone for the help & advice. I followed @KrisBee method and installed GRUB on a USB which boots up FreeNAS on the SSD.

After days of reading posts on Gen8 it seems it doesn't have the capabilities to choose which boot port to use or more boot options in the BIOS even after managing to find the HPE Service Pack and updating it :rolleyes:

Here is what I did:
  • AHCI boot (disabled the RAID controller)
  • Created a GRUB on a USB to boot FreeNAS (grub.cfg below)
  • Uploaded FreeNAS configuration to get everything back to normal
Code:
set timeout=3set default=0

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

Hi @exhaler

I have my Gen8 configured in exactly the same way as you guys - 2xHDD in the main bays, Freenas 11.2-U3 installed on SSD in the ODD, but I am really struggling to get the GRUB loader working on a USB stick.
I have created a GRUB using "sudo grub-mkconfig -o /mnt/boot/grub/grub.cfg", then I've edited that file using Nano so that it contains the only the code you have shown above (should I have left some of the original Grub code in there too?).
When I reboot my Proliant, it goes through the POST then tries to boot from the USB stick but hangs at "Attempting Boot From USB DriveKey (C:)".

The USB stick is in one of the ports round the back, which I know it can access as this is the same port I used when installing FreeNas on the SSD.

Have you got any suggestions I could try to get FN to boot, as I do not know what to do now! Please help

Let me know if you need any further details from me.

Cheers, Bob
 

KrisBee

Wizard
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,278
Hi @exhaler
I have created a GRUB using "sudo grub-mkconfig -o /mnt/boot/grub/grub.cfg", then I've edited that file using Nano so that it contains the only the code you have shown above (should I have left some of the original Grub code in there too?).
Cheers, Bob

Perhaps your GRUB USB stick has not been created correctly. That needs to be done & tested before editing the grub.cfg to work with FreeNAS.

I don't know which HP Gen8 you have (microserver or full tower?), but if all else fails, and as you only have 2HDDS, your SSD with FN should boot if placed in the first left most hard drive bay with the B120i set to AHCI.. To be safe you could invest in adaptor, but with care it be fitted without one.
 

Bob Findlay

Cadet
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
7
Perhaps your GRUB USB stick has not been created correctly. That needs to be done & tested before editing the grub.cfg to work with FreeNAS.

I don't know which HP Gen8 you have (microserver or full tower?), but if all else fails, and as you only have 2HDDS, your SSD with FN should boot if placed in the first left most hard drive bay with the B120i set to AHCI.. To be safe you could invest in adaptor, but with care it be fitted without one.

Hello, thanks for taking the time to reply.

It's the microserver I have.

I've made some progress! Grub is now working, but I'm on to the next error ha ha! When I try and boot into Freenas using Grub, I get the following error: "error: hd5 cannot get C/H/S values". Have you ever heard of that before? Doing a bit (a lot) of digging and it seems it might be to do with Grub not being installed on MBR of the USB (https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1628658). I'll try fixing that and get back
 

Bob Findlay

Cadet
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
7
Hello, thanks for taking the time to reply.

It's the microserver I have.

I've made some progress! Grub is now working, but I'm on to the next error ha ha! When I try and boot into Freenas using Grub, I get the following error: "error: hd5 cannot get C/H/S values". Have you ever heard of that before? Doing a bit (a lot) of digging and it seems it might be to do with Grub not being installed on MBR of the USB (https://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1628658). I'll try fixing that and get back

Eeeesh, that didn't work. I had to recreate the Grub on USB but am back to "error: hd5 cannot get C/H/S values" :(
 

KrisBee

Wizard
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,278
Bob,

Not sure what instructions your using for the creation of your GRUB usb stick, but these should work:
https://yous.be/2017/11/14/how-to-make-a-bootable-usb-with-grub2-and-iso

Are you using a USB2 memory stick? USB3 could well cause problems.

As an aside, I don't know if you decided to go with a SSD boot drive as you thought installing on a USB stick didn't work with Fn11.2, but I can confirm that installing FN11.2-U3 on a USB stick does work with HP microserver gen8.
 

KrisBee

Wizard
Joined
Mar 20, 2017
Messages
1,278
Bob,

Do you sort it? Didn't pay enough attention to your error message re: hd5. But if all four drives bays are not in use, then likely GRUB not will enumerate SDD in ODD bay as disk 5. You need to amend the root disk in the grub.cfg.
 

Bob Findlay

Cadet
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
7
Bob,

Do you sort it? Didn't pay enough attention to your error message re: hd5. But if all four drives bays are not in use, then likely GRUB not will enumerate SDD in ODD bay as disk 5. You need to amend the root disk in the grub.cfg.

Hey Kris... No, not yet. I don't think that GRUB is the problem - it is booting properly and trying to chainload HD5 which has FN installed on it. I used the exact same code that exhaler showed above:

Code:
set timeout=3 set default=0

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


I don't know what to do now - it's frustrating as it feels like I'm so close to getting it working
 

Bob Findlay

Cadet
Joined
Feb 8, 2017
Messages
7
Bob,

Do you sort it? Didn't pay enough attention to your error message re: hd5. But if all four drives bays are not in use, then likely GRUB not will enumerate SDD in ODD bay as disk 5. You need to amend the root disk in the grub.cfg.

HOLY MOLY! KrisBee you are a God among men! I just re-read what you were saying about GRUB not enumerating the other bays as there are no disks in them. Changed the grub.cfg to set root as hd3 and it's booting into FreeNas - woo hoo!

Thank you so much for your help - much appreciated :)
 

obomoboe

Cadet
Joined
Oct 27, 2016
Messages
1
I'm trying to do the same: chainloader booting FreeNAS installed to an SSD in the ODD bay of a Microserver Gen8. It seems that grub can see only one disk (itself) despite the 3 data disks and SSDs attached to the system -- the FreeNAS installer was able to see all of these and install FN to the SSD.

I followed KrisBee's link above to create the bootable grub usb key (https://yous.be/2017/11/14/how-to-make-a-bootable-usb-with-grub2-and-iso/).

When I try to boot the grub.cfg indicated above gives the error "hd5 cannot get C/H/S values", though I get the error regardless of what X hdX is set to. When I run ls from the grub command line it reports the only disk is hd0 (hd0,msdos) which I'm fairly certain is the USB key from which grub is running.

Are there additional BIOS or grub settings I may need to configure in order for this to work?
 
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