HPE Microserver Gen 10 Software RAID

For many years I used my HPE Microserver Gen 10 as my Main Home Server but because the CPU is very limited I bought a new one. I kept it but had no use case for it.

In the past I used multiple external Hard drives for all of my data but that is not that great I would say. I nearly never synced the data between them and so I had nothing if the drive would fail and also no backup of the data. So I thought what I could do and the obvious thing is to buy a NAS.

I am not a fan of proprietary Software so there are not that many options. TrueNAS or UnraidRAID are great ones but I do not need a GUI and so I thought I would install Ubuntu and use ZFS.

In the past I looked if it is possible to disable the Marvel RAID Controller in the HPE Microserver Gen 10 but is never found something. I looked again and found out that I passes the Disk to the OS if you do not setup any RAID.

To do that is very easy but there a a few things that I would like to mention.

The Server supports Legacy Bios or UEFI boot. The Marvel BIOS is only accessible if the Server is set to Legacy Boot or you update the Bios because HP added that it can also be reached through the Built-in EFI Shell. I suggest to update the BIOS because you only have a few milliseconds to access the Marvell BIOS in Legacy Mode so you need a few attempts. With the Built-in EFI Shell it is a lot easier. Just Press F11 while booting and choose the Built-in EFI Shell:

HPE Microserver Gen 10 Boot Menu

In the EFI Shell you see Info Text that you can use the Command raid to access the Marvell BIOS.

HPE Microserver Gen 10 EFI Shell

In the Marvell BIOS you must have all the Disk under the "Free Physical Disks" Menu Entry. If there is a Configured Raid it must be deleted to use a Software Raid with the Disks. But be careful because the all the Data is lost from the Disks!

HPE Microserver Gen 10 Marvell BIOS

On the Screenshot below you can see two lsblk from Ubuntu. There are 4 Disk. sda is the boot SSDs that is plugged in to the Sata Port that is on the Motherboard. sdb, sdc and sdd are the 3 Hard Drives that are in the 3.5 inch Bays. All 3 are visible as Wester Digital so the are passed through transparently.

HPE Microserver Gen 10 lsblk Output

I use the 3 Disks in an ZFS Raidz1 but you can also use an MD Raid or any other Software Raid.

28 July 2023 - Philipp Keschl