This post is about something that I wanted to do for a long time.
I was one of the first persons to post on theHP N36L microserver.
At that time I already was interested to run VMware ESXi on it.
Unfortunately I did not have the time to buy and build one.
That’s untill now.
A couple of weeks ago I purchased the next items:
- HP Proliant N36L microserver (price 285 euro incl 19% VAT, price now is down to 245 Euro)
- HP Smart Array P410 RAID controller with 512MB memory (with battery) (price 265 incl 19% VAT)
- Kingston memory 4 GB (KVR1333D3N9/4G) – 2 pieces (price 80 Euro incl 19% VAT for 2 pcs)
- WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300GB – 2 pieces (price 270 Euro incl 19% VAT for 2 hdd’s)
Total cost is in or about 900 Euro (1250 USD based on Dutch prices, US price will be lower)
I have read a lot about the N36L microserver and it’s VMware ESXi capabilities.
Other people have combined the server with various RAID cards (Adaptec, etc.).
In my job as system administrator I mostly work with HP hardware.
So I decided to combine the HP N36L microserver with a decent HP RAID controller.
I have very good experience with the HP P400 RAID controller.
For this setup I decided to buy it’s successor, the P410 with 512 MB memory and battery backed cache)
I was uncertain if the RAID card would fit (the HP N36L case is very small).
Luckily it did.
This part of the post is about the assembly of the server + raid controller + extra memory + new harddisks.
The HP Proliant N36L is sold with 1GB internal memory and 1 250GB SATA harddisk.
The first thing to do is to remove both memory and harddisk.
After that I took the P410 RAID controller card and changed the normal profile bracket with a low profile one.
After that I removed the top of the case and the front door to get some working space.
With the server comes a small Torx screwdriver.
I released the screws at the front of the mainboard and carefully slided the mainboard outside.
I then removed all connectors except the power connector.
With the board outside the server I removed memory and hdd.
Then placed the P410, 2 x 4GB internal memory and the WD raptors.
The WD raptors fit in the plastic hdd brackets.
I then connected everything (the RAID controller works with a mini-SAS connector which fits nicely).
With everything in place it was time to get it back.
To do so you have to release a small handle at the back.
After the release you can change the most outer blank bracket so that the P410 RAID controller will fit.
The last thing was to start the server: BIOS and RAID controller BIOS lokked fine: everything was detected.
The P410 RAID controller had a simple option to create a RAID 0+1 array with the raptors which I did.
The next part will be on the installation of VMware ESXi 4.1 (vSphere) and some performance info.
1. The HP Proliant N36L Microserver + P410 RAID controller + Kingston memory + WD Velociraptors
2. The open HP N36L Microserver + cables removed + standard memory + standard SATA disk
3. Another one: The open HP N36L Microserver + cables removed + standard memory + standard SATA disk
4. The open HP Proliant N36L Microserver + P410 RAID controller + Kingston memory already on mainboard + WD Velociraptors in plastic brackets
5. The backside of the frontdoor with Torx screwdriver and extra Torx screws
6. The backside of the microserver with open bracket (for the fixation of the HP Smart Array p410 controller card)
7. Everything in place
8. Case closed, ready to run
Happy scripting (and maybe building).