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No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

Hi,

I'm still struggling with setup/deployment of Server 2012 R2 core on an ML150 Gen9 machine. Since this server definitely does not boot from any USB2.0 or USB3.0 flash drive - obviously because of UEFI - and has no DVD drive I have to run setup from a remote share via ILO.  That's slow and takes about 45 Minutes. Then I have to go through the steps of creating baseline, inventory and deployment with HPSUM, again from remote share. After that the system has NIC driver and I can run Windows Updates. This all takes a lot of time and I ask myself how this could be accelerated. 

Would someone share his/her experience?

Thanks a lot in advance,
Stefano

Additional information: Intelligent provisioning is not an option, because it does not let you limit size of OS partition to about 30 - 40 GB.

11 REPLIES
JamesCarter
Regular Visitor

Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

Hi Stefano,

 

setting up HP servers always has been a nightmare. They invent many techniques at HP to make life easier for an administrator, but they give a *** on any usability and plausibility. It took me days to understand all this HP simsum stuff and to find out, how a server could be setup with it. And I still don't understand it. The idea of Intelligent Provisioning (IP) is beautiful, but why should someone use it if it calculates the size of the OS partition itself instead of leaving this decision to the operator??

 

What I finally did was to format my 64GB USB flash drive with fat32. It has to be fat32, because UEFI does not work with NTFS and a fat32 partition CAN be bigger than 32GB - there are tools outside, google for them. But the biggest problem was to copy the files from Server 2012 R2 ISO onto flash drive, because the crucial file, install.wim, is about 5GB, at least on my DVD that came with my Proliant (it's called something like HP Windows 2012 R2 ROK Recovery DVD). And fat32 does not allow such a big file. But you can split it up into two parts - it works! Just use the program called dism.exe, which you find on the DVD and split it like this:

 

Dism /Split-Image /ImageFile:D:\Sources\install.wim /SWMFile:C:\Somewhere\install.swm /FileSize:4000

 

That creates two files in C:\Somewhere which you simply copy into the sources folder of your USB drive. Done! It should boot now even on a Gen9 Proliant with default UEFI settings! The good thing with UEFI is, as far as I see, that there's no need for additional steps to make the drive bootable. Simply give it the right file system (fat32) and put all needed files from setup DVD on it (that does mean ALL files). And from now on Windows core setup takes about 5 Min. compared to half an hour via ILO/virtual media.

 

There still remains a problem: After setting up Windows it has no network connection, because it does not contain the right driver for the kind of NIC HP uses (that's what should be the job of IP...) So you may want to inject HP drivers into that new created USB installation environment. I couldn't find a way to do this, IP does not seem to help here. Finally I copied the complete ISO of (the most recent) Service Pack for Proliant onto my Windows Server setup flash drive as well. That enabled me to do a "launch_hpsum /silent" immediatly after OS setup from the same source. Another five Minutes later your OS is equipped with drivers for NIC and other devices. And then I did something else: I used another tool to predownload all the Windows Update files onto my flash drive, to speed up this lenghty Microsoft update procedure for forthcoming Server installations too. With this tool you could even update your OS without network connection (look at www.wsusoffline.net, it's german).

 

Good luck,
James

Brad87
Visitor

Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

Have you tried an USB DVD-player?

JamesCarter
Regular Visitor

Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

> Have you tried an USB DVD-player?

No, did not buy a DVD player to setup an OS on a 7000-$-Server ;-)

Jimmy Vance
HPE Pro

Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

While I can understand your frustration, the issue here is more a UEFI / Windows related issue than a problem with the HP server.  While I don't work with Windows often, I did want to experience what you are describing. The issue really boils down to UEFI booting differently than what we are all used to in a BIOS world. I figured, no big deal, I'll use the Microsoft provided Windows 7 USB DVD Download tool. I've used this to put Windows server on a USB key before and it works great....well as I found out, works great except with UEFI.  I did find a couple of Microsoft tech net articles that explain how to setup a USB key for UEFI. In one of the articles comments a user mentioned a tool he created call rufus. I downloaded this tool, pointed it to my USB key and my ISO image of 2012 R2 VL and it created a key that booted. I was presented with the normal Windows server selection screen as the VL ISO has multiple versions to choose from. Once I made a selection Server 2012 R2 installed fine on an ML150 Gen9.  I also had copied in the B140i Dynamic Raid driver to the USB, during installation I pointed to the driver files so Windows could see the storage device an install to the RAID 1 I had created. I still need to install the SPP so the NIC and other device drivers get loaded.

Link to technet article http://blogs.technet.com/b/askcore/archive/2013/03/20/creating-bootable-usb-drive-for-uefi-computers.aspx

Link for rufus mentioned on page 2 comments of the above article http://rufus.akeo.ie/

 

 

 

 




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Jimmy Vance
HPE Pro

Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

I also just used the USB key created by rufus to do an install via intelligent Provisioning., the install wnet well, and Intelligent Provisionin installed all the required drivers from the SPP. Since the key is bootable, I did have to press F11 during a few reboots and select Windows so it wouldn't try to boot from the key.




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JamesCarter
Regular Visitor

Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

Jimmy, thanks for contribution. I tried Rufus as well some time ago, but after preparing the USB drive it stopped copying the files because of the size of install.wim. Basically Intelligent Provisioning really should be useful, indeed. But the system I tried to setup with it had 64GB of memory, and that led IP to calculate the size of the system partition to 160GB as a minimum . May be you can shrink the system partition with diskpart afterwards, I did not try that, I am not sure whether it's possible with system partitions. Regards, James

Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

Thanks a lot for your comments! It helps a lot to know how you guys handle that stuff with a Proliant. I guess if HP solves the problem of not letting the operator chosing OS partition size (and the problem of not recognizing an ISO on a locally attached USB drives, which didn't work neither on my system) Intelligent Provisioning will really be a useful tool.

Jimmy Vance
HPE Pro

Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?


StefanoFereri wrote:

Thanks a lot for your comments! It helps a lot to know how you guys handle that stuff with a Proliant. I guess if HP solves the problem of not letting the operator chosing OS partition size (and the problem of not recognizing an ISO on a locally attached USB drives, which didn't work neither on my system) Intelligent Provisioning will really be a useful tool.


I'm a bit confused by your comment. If you select custom in IP, you can select the partition size. You need bootable media when attached locally, an ISO file copied to a USB drive isn't bootable.




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Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

On my ML150 Gen9 machine Intelligent Provisioning (IP) only allows an OS partition of at least 160GB, when I select to "customize" my OS setup. That size is quite useless. And as source media I can chose, among other options, between "Physical DVD (local or ILO virtual)" or USB Key. On this page of the IP GUI I'm told to click on "Validate" to verify whether the selected source really fits the needs of IP. Indeed my USB key is recognized by ILO, it's shown as "USB-SDA2". I can double click it and ILO shows some (only some) of the folders on this key, but not any of the files. And the button called "Validate" keeps grayed out. Of course I tested this key whether the server does boot with it. Only IP seems not to know what to do with it.

It works with latest version of Intelligent Provisioning

With Intelligent Provisioning version 2.30 things changed. Now you can mark a check box that says "Disallow swap space (not recommended)". If you check it you're allowed to size the system partition down to about 32 MByte, which is enough for my Hyper-V parent core. Also USB flash drive with setup files is recognized now by Intelligent Provisioning.

Re: No easy way to setup OS on ML150 Gen9?

Finally booting from USB flash drive in the default UEFI mode of Gen9-Servers works. It is described here:

http://h20564.www2.hpe.com/hpsc/doc/public/display?docLocale=null&docId=emr_na-c04892612&sp4ts.oid=8223671

Simply format flash drive with FAT32, then mount HP server DVD and copy all content onto flash drive. In my case I had to split install.wim file before copying it. This was because the file had 6GB, which is beyond the limit of allowed file size on FAT32 (4GB max). I used dism.exe to achieve this (dism.exe I found in the same folder as install.wim):

Dism /Split-Image /ImageFile:C:\install.wim /SWMFile:D:\imaging\install.swm /FileSize:4000

 That created two files - install.swm and install2.swm - which simply had to be copied into the sources folder on USB flash drive.

Finally folder efi\microsoft\boot had to be copied one level up in the directory structure and some file had to be extraced from install.wim to replace another file on USB flash drive (I used my default unzip tool for that: 7-Zip).

This flash drive then was able to boot into Server 2012 R2 setup on my ML150 Gen9.

Regards,
Stefano