HP Dynamic Smart Array B120i RAID

We had a number of new HP SL series servers arrive in work, and they didn’t have the normal P4XXi controller for the _OS_ drives (since they blades only have two drives in the front). They instead had a “Dynamic Smart Array B120i RAID controller” which sounds nice, but in the simplest form…its software RAID. The rear section has the P4XXi array controller however.

Dynamic Smart Array B120i RAID in Slot 0 (Embedded)
Smart Array P420i in Slot 1

So…to save a number of people trouble in configuring this under PXE, you would need to do the following. This is similar to what was found in this link, however unless you want to do be doing it one by one with a CD – then you would boot from PXE.

First, you need to download the hpvsa driver from the following link. You could have a few different versions depending on your OS, but be sure to get the latest one.

Secondly, extract the gz and add it to the server path. Also, add the line to end of your existing stub that looks something like this:

blacklist=ahci dd=http://location/of/server/hpvsa.rhel6u4.x86_64.img

Notice we changed the ending of the file to .img vs .dd. This was done based on the feedback we received from HP and also we haven’t tested it with .dd since it just worked with the .img ending. I will try it .dd when I have a change and update this blog entry.

Please be sure the permissions (644) are setup correctly on the file or else it will not be read properly.

Once you boot up, depending on your KS file, you would not be prompted, but it will install and configure the hpvsa driver for the OS:

Module Size Used by
hpvsa 2548728 3

The price of convenience…

Well, as the title states, this post is about conveniences of sorts. What conveniences am I talking about? The computer kind of course 🙂 Essentially, the file/web server server and power to get more specific. I may have mentioned a few times here and there about moving this to another server, or etc…and I have done it several time. Just trying to save me some money, but in the end I spend more.

Currently, as I pointed out most likely a bunch of times, this server is a VM off a pretty decent (at the time anyway) quad core AMD CPU and using VMware as a type two hypervisor (in Windows). The system runs fine, and in fact I just upgraded it in some aspects. However the main issue are two fold:

1) Performance
This system may have been great in ~2009 and it still is in some cases. Currently its on a AMD Phenom II X4 955 with 16GB of RAM. I wish I can extended the memory more, however with 16GB its max limit – I am stuck. When I try to launch another VM, I have to be sure I have enough of resources or else the system will get really bogged down and barely respond. Worse case, I need to shutdown this site and bring it back up when done (which is why there is frequent downtime at around midnight or so).

2) Price
So what does this have to do with price? You may ask yourself, well he has the hardware and the software – so whats the issue? Those questions are valid, but I have to explain some. Right now in the North East USA, it is starting to become spring and then summer (like you knew already). The problem is AC cost and power.

The price of the computer alone, without AC is around $30-$35 a month. With AC, cause you can’t leave your electronics toasty, it goes up a bunch more. In the end it still maybe cheaper than say renting out a server from a dedicate server farm, or even a VPS though.

The bad thing about this…if I want to save money, I need to spend money. Which bring me back to the title of this post – “The price of convenience…”. Sometime ago I was going to get myself one of those RAID systems in a box. I just didn’t like how it sat in my mind though – using a non-open sourced OS (in some cases) and low-end hardware. Granted it doesn’t take much to run a file server, but a file plus a VM server – IMHO requires a decent box, which is why this system is still running to this day.

I just need to think about this and maybe someone could offer a suggestion or two. Till then – good night and hopefully we get no more snow… 🙁

It has been a very long time…

Well, it has been a very long time since I updated this blog, and like everything else a bunch of things happened. This server is still running strong on a VM with decent hardware, however it was neglected on multiple fronts. Hopefully I can get back into this, time permitting, since I have work and other commitments to attend to.

Progressive Snapshot – update 2

Well, I just received my my initial discount on one my cars…the one I drive the most and put the most miles on.

I received the maximum discount of 30%, which is honestly surprising but yet very satisfying. Granted I didn’t do anything crazy with the car other than drive it like normally do. However, one thing I noticed when having that device in your car – it makes you think twice about doing things. For example, in stead of short stopping (causing a hard break), I would swerve around or find another way to go around the object or car in front of me. Seems to me more dangerous and hazardous…which I don’t like.

Vehicle: FORD
Discount: 30%

I am still waiting on the other car and see what discount I get on that one, however that one I rarely drive (under lemon law lawsuit at the moment).

It would be funny to get less discount on that one vs the one I drive the most.

Progressive Snapshot – update

Well, it has been a bit since I updated about the snapshot program, and I am near the end of the first month.

We need 0 more day(s) of data to calculate your initial discount.

So now comes the wait game to find out how much, if anything, I will get off.

The only thing that is noted on my account:

Due to activity that’s currently in progress on your policy, we’re currently unable to process online quotes and policy changes.

I don’t see any discounts or any notes for the activity. Even customer care is in the dark so hopefully we should find out soon 🙂

A blog about me and technology…