Solved Installing FreeBSD 11.1 on HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8 issues

Is the HP ProLiant Microserver Gen8 a suitable server to run FreeBSD?


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FreemoX

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Messages: 6

Hello. First post here and brand new to FreeBSD in general.

I'm attempting to install FreeBSD on my new HP ProLiant MicroServer Gen8. The install itself is successful, or at least as far as I can see.

Once I attempt to re-boot the system after install, it doesn't boot from the HDD (install location), but it attempts to boot from NIC in an infinite loop, retrying each time it fails (which it does).

I've followed the official guide on how to install FreeBSD, and since I've had to re-install it quite a few times now (I tried several other options and versions of 11.1) I'm getting familiar with the install process itself.

The server is a HPE MicroServer Gen8 G1610T with the following specs:
CPU - Intel Celeron G1610T / 2.3 GHz
RAM - 1x4GB DDR3 EEC 1333MHz
NIC - Internal HP NC332i
Storage - 1x320GB (Boot HDD) & 1x3TB.
Both HDDs are connected in the internal 4-bay unit (Boot drive in slot 1)

There are no USB devices connected with the exception of a plain USB keyboard. No USB storage connected after install.

I have not messed around with the RAID settings of the server. I am aware of the fact that this server use a custom RAID controller, but I'm not so familiar with it.

I want to note that I had FreeNAS installed and running for a week before deciding to go with FreeBSD. FreeNAS did not give me everything I needed, and since I like tinkering around, I'd prefer to get FreeBSD up and running on my server.

I'll use this server as a central storage and synchronization unit for my game development team. One of the reasons I walk away from FreeNAS is because we have experience in Perforce, and would prefer to use that instead of Git/SVN. Another reason is that I need to run a higher version of PHP than 5.5.

I have used a 16GB USB2 memory stick to install FreeBSD from, using Rufus to burn a DD image from the FreeBSD-11.1-STABLE-amd64-20171121-r326044-memstick.img file. As mentioned previously, I want to install to my 320GB HDD inserted into slot 1, but when the install is complete and I reboot the system (ensuring I remove the USB before it perform the POST) it attempts to boot over the NIC in an infinite loop.

I used a ZFS format to install FreeBSD to my 320GB HDD, which I tried using both mirror and strip modes (Not at the same time obviously), but I have not tried any other type yet. I prefer ZFS for its stability and security in server environments.
I also used GPT to partion the HDDs with the installer.

I have made sure my boot order is correct (Internal USB first (not connected), HDD/RAID second, Floppy third (Not connected), CD-ROM fourth (Not connected) and NIC last.

There is also a MicroSD slot on the MoBo, which I used for the install of FreeNAS (I had it running from the internal USB slot), but I have deactivated this since I have no use for it at this time.

Do anyone know what I am missing? I have tried searching the internet for a while, and have spent over 6 hours trying to install FreeBSD now (Yes, I know. It's a slow server to reboot, and specific documentation is scarce...)

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

SirDice

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Once I attempt to re-boot the system after install, it doesn't boot from the HDD (install location), but it attempts to boot from NIC in an infinite loop, retrying each time it fails (which it does).
Check the boot order in the BIOS/UEFI. It sounds like the order is wrong and it keeps trying to PXE boot the machine. It's also possible it does try to boot from disk, fails and then falls back to PXE. But the order is still important and needs to be verified.

As FreeNAS apparently worked I see no reason why a "plain" FreeBSD wouldn't be able to boot. There's nothing special about the way FreeNAS boots.
 
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FreemoX

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Messages: 6

Check the boot order in the BIOS/UEFI. It sounds like the order is wrong and it keeps trying to PXE boot the machine. It's also possible it does try to boot from disk, fails and then falls back to PXE. But the order is still important and needs to be verified.

As FreeNAS apparently worked I see no reason why a "plain" FreeBSD wouldn't be able to boot. There's nothing special about the way FreeNAS boots.
I have verified this on several occasions. Some screenshots are below:

https://ibb.co/ecUCnm
https://ibb.co/gfAJSm
https://ibb.co/mNzZ06

I've noticed that during the boot, the BIOS tell me that there are no logical volumes found. I assume that it should be able to find the RAID/ZFS system, and it would show here, or?

I am aware that FreeNAS is built on a stripped-down version of FreeBSD, which is one of the reasons I find it so odd that the install isn't going as smoothly as it did with FreeNAS. The only real difference between the FreeNAS install and the FreeBSD install is that I installed FreeNAS on a USB stick, but FreeBSD on a harddrive.

*EDIT*

I manned up and messed a bit with the RAID settings, so things should be allocated properly, but the boot is now resulting in this screen:

https://ibb.co/iWzRf6

I know FreeBSD is not a GUI OS, but I assume it won't boot into this screen...?
 

Snurg

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Reaction score: 335
Messages: 793

Two questions.
1. Did you go to the smartraid menu (see your first image, where you are invited to press F5) and clear any and all raid configuration stuff? It should be disabled completely.
2. Does the computer use Symbios SCSI/SAS controllers? I ask because FreeBSD until 5 worked fine with them, but then for some weird reasons all FreeBSD versions from 6 to 10 refused to boot from the installation DVD, giving the picture like your last screenshot, if Symbios chips were present in the computers. (I suppose that is valid with 10+, too, but cannot verify that any longer, because I sold the controllers.)
 
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FreemoX

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Messages: 6

Two questions.
1. Did you go to the smartraid menu (see your first image, where you are invited to press F5) and clear any and all raid configuration stuff? It should be disabled completely.
2. Does the computer use Symbios SCSI/SAS controllers? I ask because FreeBSD until 5 worked fine with them, but then for some weird reasons all FreeBSD versions from 6 to 10 refused to boot from the installation DVD, giving the picture like your last screenshot, if Symbios chips were present in the computers. (I suppose that is valid with 10+, too, but cannot verify that any longer, because I sold the controllers.)
Let's see, been awhile since I had to mess with BIOS and such now.


1. Did you go to the smartraid menu (see your first image, where you are invited to press F5) and clear any and all raid configuration stuff? It should be disabled completely.
No, I pressed F8 to go to HP intelligent Provisioning. From there, I changed the array settings, since both HDDs weren't used, apparently (I set them up correctly when using FreeNAS), so each HDD is now it's own strip. Or at least in the HP IP, not sure how it looks like in FreeBSD settings now, since I believe my last install had them mirrored. So no, I have not reset anything, didn't know about F5 up until a little while ago (I'm reading documentation like crazy now), so I haven't touched that area yet.


2. Does the computer use Symbios SCSI/SAS controllers? I ask because FreeBSD until 5 worked fine with them, but then for some weird reasons all FreeBSD versions from 6 to 10 refused to boot from the installation DVD, giving the picture like your last screenshot, if Symbios chips were present in the computers. (I suppose that is valid with 10+, too, but cannot verify that any longer, because I sold the controllers.)
No, not as far as I'm aware of. The only ports on this server are:
- Frontal USB2 x2
- Rear USB2 x2
- Rear USB3.0 x2
- Rear Ethernet ports x2
- Rear iLO port
- Rear VGA port

Aside from that, there is one internal USB2 port, one MicroSD slot and an empty PCIx16 slot.

I searched around for the error I got, and discovered it might be an ACPI issue? I can see "ACPI initialized" while the server is booting, but I haven't found a way to disable this yet to try this.
 

Snurg

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Yes, then I'd really advise to make sure that there is *no* onboard raiding active, not even simple stripe.
Let FreeBSD do all disk stuff itself, it does it better than the onboard stuff.
I use old HP workstations and had to go through all these menus to clean out that.
You might also try to completely disable unneeded onboard stuff, including the ethernet, in the BIOS to find out what causes the boot to crash.
 
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FreemoX

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Messages: 6

Yes, then I'd really advise to make sure that there is *no* onboard raiding active, not even simple stripe.
Let FreeBSD do all disk stuff itself, it does it better than the onboard stuff.
I use old HP workstations and had to go through all these menus to clean out that.
You might also try to completely disable unneeded onboard stuff, including the ethernet, in the BIOS to find out what causes the boot to crash.
When I had the HDDs unallocated from the RAID, I couldn't boot at all. It was after I allocated the HDDs properly that I got it booting (or at least to the point where I got the error...)
I suppose I could try disabling the onboard RAID entirely, as I have everything backed up. But I'm not quite sure on how to do this, so I'll have to read up on that.

Any quick tips I can make use of in regards to easily disabling the RAID system?

*EDIT*

I looked up some more documentation, and I changed the RAID type from the built in HP something something to AHCI mode. This gave me the same error as earlier, but after some output from which it seems like it attempted to boot from drive C: but it couldn't figure out which drive was what, from what I understood. At the end it said something like "Defaulting to disk0" before it threw the same error at me as before.

I'm currently trying to reinstall FreeBSD to use this new AHCI mode, if that fails I'll try using the legacy mode (Which I don't really want to as I'll probably lose some features)

*EDIT EDIT*

https://ibb.co/hpYBf6

No change in the output. The screenshot above was grabbed when the iLO software froze just before the server threw me an error, so it wasn't included in the screenshot, but it's there.
 
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FreemoX

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Messages: 6

YES! Finally!

Changing SATA mode to Legacy worked!

For future reference to people with the same issue;

You can change it by pressing F9 while booting to go into the BIOS. Go to System Options and the something something SATA Configuration. You'll get a warning so press enter, and select Legacy from the dropdown list.
 

Snurg

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Congrats!

After the system has been installed and can boot by itself, you can try to switch back from (legacy) IDE to AHCI.
This normally worked for me, leaving the impression that it's a limitation of the installer CD bootstrap on some hardware combinations (apparently even when USB-ized).
 
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FreemoX

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Messages: 6

Congrats!

After the system has been installed and can boot by itself, you can try to switch back from (legacy) IDE to AHCI.
This normally worked for me, leaving the impression that it's a limitation of the installer CD bootstrap on some hardware combinations (apparently even when USB-ized).
Thanks for the tip, I'll have to try this after I've set up FreeBSD properly. I'm too focused now and don't want to run into any potential issues just now. (You never know)
 
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