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Poweredge R730XD - H730 mini

Dave Hob

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Jun 15, 2014
Messages
47
Hi

I picked up this unit today and wondering if this will work with Freenas (this Freenas will be a backup for replications from the main unit)

I am thinking to install it under ESXI or Proxmox

Configuration:

128 GB Ram DDR4 ECC
2 x Intel Xeon E5-2630 v3
12x3.5" HDD caddies/tray
2 x 2.5" hdd caddies (in the back)
looking to purchase a caddie kit for the 4 internal units that can be added too.
no hdds yet

have a few question and hopefully will find some help here:

1. will the H730 mini work with this? Should I set it up in a certain way? I googled and saw that it does not need to be flashed to it mode since it can pass-through access to the drives

2. proxmox vs esxi? will one be supported better for freenas

3. if purchase another network card for the server, will it makes sense to install pfsense as a VM here as well to secure my home network?

any feedback will highly appreciated
 

Patrick M. Hausen

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Nov 25, 2013
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Running FreeNAS virtualized is unsupported but can be done and there is some good documentation on it on this forum. My question is: what are you trying to achieve by that? FreeNAS can run virtual machines and jails natively. I run Windows and Linux in production, so why the extra hypervisor?
The other way round: as far as I know proxmox uses ZFS. So why FreeNAS in that case?
 

Dave Hob

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Jun 15, 2014
Messages
47
Well thank you for the feedback and challenge first of all.

I assumed that running ESXI or Proxmox I would get the best hypervisor setup, compared with running vms from FreeNAS, it doesn't seem like a lot of people do that.

Don't have enough experience (though I am committed to figure it out) with ESXi or Proxmox so not sure how Proxmox would replace the Freenas file server option.

In my ideal scenario, I would be running ESXI (or other hypervisor) on this machine with following VMS
- 1 freenas for back for the other freenas
- pfsense to protect my home network
- other vms (Centos, Ubuntu, others) to learn more linux servers, containers, etc

Side note, so far playing with it, I was not able to passthrough the H730 mini when in hba mode. It's my understanding that even in raid mode, it's allowing direct access to the drives unless each drive is setup for raid. Sort of like H730 in raid mode acts as hba and raid at the same time. If this H730 mini is not ideal is there another one that is better?

Thank you
 

Patrick M. Hausen

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For your particular HBA you will have to wait for people with more specific hardware knowledge. I am quite sure that you should by all means use passthrough. ESXi is probably your best bet for that. And a single drive volume on a RAID controller is not the right thing.

But you can run pfsense and Ubuntu in FreeNAS VMs ;) And your statement "it doesn't seem like a lot of people do that" surprises me a bit because that is one of the core functions and main reasons why I run FreeNAS ... we are replacing our entire VMware setup with FreeNAS @work.
 

Patrick M. Hausen

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If your controller is in RAID mode and you create N single disk volumes that is *not* the same as a HBA/IT mode controller. There will still be proprietary management information on the drives and FreeNAS won't get at SMART data. Make sure you don't use a RAID controller. Like - at all.

 

Dave Hob

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Jun 15, 2014
Messages
47
I came across this post online:

RE: Dell R730xd with PERC H730 and Non-RAID/HBA mode
I know this thread is kind of old but I thought I would add my experience. I have serveral R730xd with PERC H730P Mini's in them. On my systems it is not necessary to use HBA mode to get the operating system (ESXi in my case) to recognize the individual drives. You need to go into the PERC config though and mark each physical drive you want to be native accessible to the OS as a non-RAID drive. I have our systems configured with a RAID-1 virtual disk in the PERC and then the remaining 16 drives are configured as non-RAID so they all show up in the OS. In our case we wanted the drives running the ESXi OS to be redundant and then we wanted the other drives to be used and managed by VMware VSAN which needs to see the drives in their native mode. If your not seeing the ability to mark drives as non-RAID then I would suggest upgrading the PERC to the latest firmware and see if that capability shows up.
https://www.dell.com/community/Powe...-PERC-H730-and-Non-RAID-HBA-mode/td-p/4504024

am I miss interpreting this?
 

Patrick M. Hausen

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OK, from my understanding you should set the card to HBA mode and every drive to non-RAID and you should be good to go. I'd try something like camcontrol devlist and smartctl -a on the drives after installation to make sure.
 

Dave Hob

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Jun 15, 2014
Messages
47
As I am playing with it now and installed ESXI, if I set the H730 to HBA mode it's not letting me do passthrough, for whatever the reason. I can only do passthrough if the card is set as Raid Mode, though again for the drives to be set to raid you need to do it individually on each driver.

Now ESXI is installed on one of the hdds, will try to install on usb to see if it affects the passthrough

I have another issue at hand, maybe small, maybe more expensive. I've inserted a relatively older SSD in the system, and the fans are running at 50% capacity, pretty loud consistently as long as that SSD is inside. After some google search, there's think with supported SSD and that can trigger this. Maybe someone has some advice to what ssd not expensive and low capacity could work for this to install ESXI on (one or two) + use another 2 - 3 for the vms.

I emailed art of server and he suggested doing Dell H330 mini monolithic flashed to it mode. Any suggestions there?

Thank you
 

Patrick M. Hausen

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You cannot install ESXi on anything connected to that HBA if you want to use passthrough. Passthrough means the HBA is not seen by ESXi anymore. You must connect your ESXi system disk to something else like a motherboard SATA port.
 

Dave Hob

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Jun 15, 2014
Messages
47
You cannot install ESXi on anything connected to that HBA if you want to use passthrough. Passthrough means the HBA is not seen by ESXi anymore. You must connect your ESXi system disk to something else like a motherboard SATA port.
I had a guess that was the issue, will install ESXi on a USB for now to test with that. Interestingly enough, when H730 is setup as raid, and ESXi installed on one of the drives attached to H730, it was allowing passthrough. Once I changed to HBA it was not.

I ordered a NVME drive for pcie slot:



if I run ESXi on NVME, is it relevant that it's installed on just one drive (not very redundant as in some sort of "raid1")?
 

Patrick M. Hausen

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ESXi does not do mirroring without a RAID controller. It's a bit stubborn and "enterprise grade" that way. But a good SSD will last. And as long as your Zpool is redundant you can always reinstall and recreate your VMs. I assume FreeNAS is supposed to serve iSCSI to ESXi?
 

Dave Hob

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Messages
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I did re install ESXi on usb this time, set H730 mini to hba mode, evantualy was able to pass through hba controller in esxi but the 2 x wd red 3tb are not showing in devices under esxi anymore when I pass through hba mode

if I set to raid mode and advance properties to "non raid disk mode" - enable than I can pass through and i see the devices

In theory could use to disks on raid for esxi and the rest to allow non raid disk mode pass through I think that's the impression I am getting from what I'm reading
 

Patrick M. Hausen

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Sorry, out of my area of competence here. I stick to hardware I buy specifically for FreeNAS.
 

Dave Hob

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Jun 15, 2014
Messages
47
if I set to raid mode and advance properties to "non raid disk mode" - enable than I can pass through and i see the devices
I did not pay attention well to this. Looks like once I do passthrough on the H730 in hba or raid mode I don't see the drives anymore in ESXI
 
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