I use a HP Microserver N40 for use at our office. Its a great peice of kit that I have had for a number of years and is used for a variety of purposes such as NAS, Media Sharing, Print/File Server and Virtual Machine host…
I recently decided to upgrade from Windows Home Server 2011 to Windows Server Essentials 2012 R2, as well as some hardware upgrades.
Sadly i found that Essentials 2012 R2 does not have a driver availible so support for this RAID card is not possible. One thought was to use the Server 2008 R2 X64 driver but sounds a bad idea to me. I then decided to look at using Windows Server Storage Spaces which is a technology Microsoft have been working on for a long time. I had 2 x 4TB WD Green and 2 x 2TB WD Green drives in the 4 way SATA bay.
Not wanting to install the OS on the 4TB drives, I decided to make use of a spare SSD. This was then connected to the motherboard SATA port.
I then realised there is an E-SATA port on the rear of the server. With a bit of a Heath Robinson hack I managed to get this routed internally and then into a spare hot swap 3.5″ bay I had spare that I installed into the CD Drive 5 1/4″ bay. The mod was to bend the left edge of the flap that covers the PCI slot screws outwards with a multitool which allows the E-SATA cable to be routed internally.
A quick addition of a SATA power splitter and job done. Six drives in a four drive server !
I need to make sure recovery will work storage spaced going forward but the Heath Tools in Server Essentials seem to to quite good so time will tell.
I am a big fan of running everything virtually. There used to be day when I had a ton of kit but now all I have is a small HP Microserver, an i7 Lenovo desktop PC, Lenovo T440S i7 Laptop and an i3 Surface Pro 3. I use VMware Workstation 10 as much as I can. I used to use Virtual Box back in the day but found it just too troublesome with converting VM’s from manufacturers.
Most of the time it is very easy to download a virtual machine from a manufacturer and it will just run. Juniper, Microsoft and some others are good. Some will be in VMware appliance formats. Others use the open OVA format. Others such as Cisco, F5 and Fortinet will only support OVA’s that you can only import into ESX. Workstations fails with various errors even though – in theory – OVA is an open, portable format …….
My fix is do this:
1) Download VMware ESX evaluation
2) Install as a VM within VMware Workstation
3) Navigate to the ESX Managment address via a browser. Either use the Web GUI or vCentre GUI
4) Import the OVA into ESX
5) Once imported. Navigate to the Data Store Browser.
Well it is possible 🙂 with a bit of hacking – but thats what its all about, isn’t it !
I actually used an existing working VM that had been built on VMware. I will test building one from scratch on VirtualBox but not 100% sure it will work….
1) Get the existing VMDK and copy it to your Virtual Box machine repository
2) Create a new VM using a Linux, Redhat, 1024MB RAM etc machine and set the disk as the VMDK
3) Modify the machine – I removed the sound card
4) Locate the machines XML config file. The directory is set in VirtualBox’es config. Edit it and add the following:
Add the following lines to it in the "<ExtraData> </ExtraData>" section:
<ExtraDataItem name="VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSVersion" value="6 "/>
<ExtraDataItem name="VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiSystemVendor" value="VMware"/>
<ExtraDataItem name="VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiBIOSVendor" value="Phoenix Technologies LTD"/>
<ExtraDataItem name="VBoxInternal/Devices/pcbios/0/Config/DmiSystemProduct" value="VMware Virtual Platform"/>
6) Edit the /usr/local/bin/base_scripts/hardware_check.sh script to look like this:
We essentially comment out the hardware check and validation 🙂
# Check the deployment
# isHardwareValidForDeployment $tmp_deployment
# if [ $rc -ne 0 ]; then
# log info "$tmp_deployment deployment Not Supported"
# return 1
# Deployment is supported by this hardware
log info "$tmp_deployment deployment Is Supported"
For a test environment its handy to have pre-build OS’s (especially on Windows) to run a new one up quickly. For those who dont need support or havnt got the time to spend getting Sysprep to work properly try this script below in conjuction with the SysInternals NEWSID application.
Copy NewSID.exe to c:\
Copy the script source below to c:\NewSid.cmdstart /wait c:\newsid.exe
del “c:\documents and settings\all users\start menu\programs\startup\newsid.lnk” /q
del c:\newsid.exe /q
shutdown /r /t 10 /f /c “SID Change” /d 2:4 /m \\HOSTSERVERNAME