HP MicroServer Gen8 storage & Syncronisation across the internet

This plan didn’t work as intended. I had to come back to the drawing board and rethink/simplify some stuff. I have left everything as-is up to the point of failure incase it’s important to anyone and it really makes no sense to delete it.
Below is what I wanted to do and a few of the steps I documented towards this goal, here is where I revisited this project with a much different approach. I would read this first anyway before reading the revisited version.
If you don’t try you’ll never know, right?

So I’ve had this problem for a while since moving out, but I excuse it because, well, she gave birth to me. My mother calls me constantly asking me to fix stuff or implement something new in my old home which I am fine with but sometimes it feels extremely tedious as I could have sworn I fixed that same issue not 1 month ago…
The latest problem I’m facing is photo storage. My family have a few MacBooks with very limited storage onboard which they seem to fill up quite fast. Upgrade the storage? Sure, but that’s short term and not exactly safe, not in my eyes anyway. My solution? The following…
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Revisiting MicroServer Gen8 storage & Syncronisation across the internet

If you’re reading this revision first it’s probably better to read my initial plan as well before continuing as there are more details outlined there as to my overall goal and information about the hardware setup. You can read this here.

Right, so, at this point I was to make a post about how I setup the storage under FreeNAS running on ESXI with both RDM on one machine and passthrough on the other with the upgraded CPU but I ran into some problems. Pretty shitty ones.
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HP MicroServer Gen8 Setup & Upgrade

After a long ordeal with Britan’s worst courier service (Yodel, for those of you unaware) I finally received most of my parts which is good enough to make a start, so here it all is;
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Installing FreeNAS on a HP MicroServer Gen8

FreeNAS will install just fine on the MS without any modifications and everything seems to work just fine, so i’ll skim over the install and add some detail to the configuration I used.

As of writing this the current stable version of FreeNAS is 9.3. All that needs to be done is to download the ISO from the FreeNAS website and copy this bootable ISO to a memory stick using your prefered method, I personally use my trusty ODD emulator (as seen in this archived post) and use iLO to get through the installation (again, detailed in this archived post.)
Boot from your chosen installation media using ‘F11’ at bootup and let the FreeNAS installer do it’s thing.
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Installing and configuring VmWare ESXI on HP MicroServer GEN8

Installing ESXI on most machines is relatively easy, and the MicroServer Gen8 is no different, I won’t go into too much detail on the installation/configuration as it’s childsplay.

Note: I used iLO to configure all of this as per my last post on this project. iLO standard only allows you to control the machine over the network up to a certain point in the OS bootup and then requires a license to work. I have a license that I put on both of these machines, but you can also just get a 30 day trail of the license for this setup phase of the MS lifetime. 

Firstly; get the HP customized ESXI image from here. Once this is downloaded you can either use tools like unetbootin to ‘burn’ the image to a USB drive or if you have a valid iLO license (even a trial one) you can mount the ISO through the iLO console on another machine and still boot from the ISO over the network. Do not try and mount the ISO with the standard iLO license as it will boot and then cut off during the installer bootup.
I used my trusty external HDD/ODD emulator, this thing is my #1 tool as I can just throw any number  of isos onto this thing and then mount it using the onboard screen and controllers and the device emulates a CD drive to any machine via USB. HellaFuckinUsefull.

IMG_1705.JPG IMG_1702.JPG

Turn the thing on, press ‘F11’ to bootup to a boot override mode, select CD/USB ONETIME bootup and let thing ESXI installer bootup.
Go through the setup stages, I won’t go into that here but it’s just a next>next>next deal; just insure you select the correct install device, which in my case is the 8GB USB drive inside the system.

Once it’s done just remove your installation media and reboot the box. If ESXI doesn’t start to boot go into the BIOS and change the boot order to allow the ESXI source to boot first, I did this in my inital BIOS setup so everything was hunkydory.
Once booted up press “F2” to configure ESXI, enter the password you chose at installation and setup networking. It should have gotten an IP from DHCP (if you have DHCP enabled) but I like static addresses for my hypervisors so I used an address I had ready, You can also change the DNS name of the box here too. Exit out of the configuration options and save the config, now leave the box and go over to your main machine.

If you’ve never used ESXI before you will need to download the vSphere Client, you can get this by navigating to the IP you chose/was given to the box and install it from there. If you already have the client you just need to open her up, slap in the IP, username (root) and chosen password and connect.
I use the web client myself and everything went swimmingly.

The following screenshot was taken a little bit after this step so some things have already been configured, it doesn’t really matter but I’m mentioning it to avoid any confusion.VSPH

The last thing that you want to do here is to go over to the configuration options of the ESXI host and then add the storage. I just added the SSD/your chosen storage medium as a VMFS5 datastore using all the space available, the name is completely up to you.

Oh and add your license; I do this all in vSphere web which applies my unlimited license but you will want to apply it ASAP even though you have 60 days.

Installing virtual machines in ESXI

Right so this is where things start to change quite a bit between these two boxes, and I’ll explain best I can.

The box at my mother’s house, now known was MUFFHOST04, or MUFF04, needs to have pfsense running on it as well as FreeNAS. I can create a ptp link using DDWRT (what she has right now) but I would much prefer pfsense as I am certain of its performance and reliability. I will be setting up pfsense at my house and then simply plugging it all in offsite which poses some configuration hurdles.
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