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HP Proliant Microserver

This was a bit of a no-brainer upgrade after my elderly white box server power supply blew up. At a net cost of about £200 after the £100 cashback (yet to be received!), including the remote access card, this is a great price.

Disk config

  • Added a £15 DVD writer
  • Added my 4 250MB disks from the old server
    • the disk the microserver comes with is now a spare
    • the openSUSE install process recognised the RAID partitions, and the LVM on top of it
  • Partitioning:
    1. 200MB /boot partition with RAID-1 across all 4 disks
    2. 700GB RAID-5 device across the 4 disks
    3. LVM on the RAID-5, providing the following partitions:
      • /
      • swap
      • /tmp
      • /var
      • /home
      • /nas (the biggest one for shared stuff)


  • A 1TB usb disk
  • This is also partitioned using LVM into two, one encrypted.
  • The decryption key is on a usb stick, mounted at boot time in /mykeys with root read-only privileges
  • The Volume Group is /dev/backup which shows up after boot as that in /dev.
  • So my /etc/crypttab entry looks like this:
    cr_crypt        /dev/backup/crypt  /mykeys/1tb  nofail
  • and /etc/fstab entries look like this:
    /dev/disk/by-id/usb-0100-0:0-part1 /mykeys  vfat       ro,gid=0,umask=0077,utf8=true,nofail 0 0
    /dev/backup/nas      /backup/nas       ext4       comment=systemd.automount,nofail 1 2
    /dev/mapper/cr_crypt /backup/crypt     ext4       comment=systemd.automount,nofail 0 2
  • NB: The above all works ok on opensuse 12.2, which uses the new systemd service manager


A note on plugging in USB disks and the BIOS:

  • depending on your BIOS boot config, if the USB disks are higher priority than the SATA disks, then it fails to find a bootable OS on the USB device and barrfs.
  • That is a right pain - why not continue to the next device?
  • Anyway, check your BIOS settings when adding USB disks!


When initially plugging in USB disks with LVM volumes, you may need to follow the procedure identified here

  1. vgscan
  2. sudo vgchange -a y
  3. then use yast2 to mount the partitions (since it will handle decryption)

Remote Access Card

I have a love-hate relationship with this: now I've got it working, I think I love it. Here are my issues with it:

  1. Once I figured how to log into it (you have to do a quick web search to find it defaults to “admin” and “password”) I changed the password to something more secure and random with interesting characters outside the [a-Z0-9_] set.
    • I could then not log in.
    • By chance I saw on the log in screen of all dumb places that the allowed characters were limited to [a-Z0-9_-] m( . This is pretty poor in my opinion: every effort should be made to make this ultra secure since it effectively allows terminal and keyboard access to the server. Hmmm.
    • So why the hell didn't the admin page barff when I entered this sequence!!??
    • I had to follow this re-flashing process to start again, but used the much simpler option of simply logging into the server using ssh rather than creating a special usb boot device.
  2. Then after playing around with it, I found I couldn't log in since the maximum number of sessions had been reached. What?? I had no sessions open at all that I knew of!
    • The only solution was to go back and reflash the thing using the above password reset process. Unbelievable.
    • Seemed to be triggered by logging in, changing password, logging out and trying to log in again. What is going on here??
    • Turns out if you leave it for a while (not sure how long) sessions time out and you can log in again. However this is extremely irritating when it happens, when you're playing with the thing and setting up accounts and learning what characters are accepted as passwords!!
  3. Finally I got to where I wanted to, and could use the KVM session to see the BIOS boot process, login screen etc. However this only works on konqueror at the moment: firefox fails for some java error which I have not yet tracked down.
public/compute/microserver.txt · Last modified: 2012/12/30 18:05 by jon