HP Proliant G7         
                  See slide show !
Specifically the DL380  (P67) SFF server. 

G7 means HP generation 7.  SFF = 2.5" hard drive form factor below ,  or the LFF is 3.5" (small form factor U2) not shown here.
Index (related)

My Journal:
Got mine for a whopping, $100 no HDD's.
This server can even run MS Windows Server 2016 ! (proof here from SPP)     <<< (  HP bans  non Entitled !)
My guess, the best $100 ever spent on hardware,  that was 1 penny on the dollar there. (In my book it was free!)
This is only my backup sever, it stays off line and in standby most the time.
This server will store in RAID5 or 6 as I have it now.
SFF form factor, 2.5" drives only!
With two Intel Xeon quad core processors and the P410i raid card, inside."smart storage" (nice)
(the flashed firmware for P410 removes the 2TB limit on drive size and adds vast powerful, free features, (like downsizing arrays,etc)
The word Firmware (FW) means ROM  (read only memories) and there are at least 3 here, Main BIOS (called RBSU, Rom-Based-Setup-Utility), the RAID ARRAY ROM, the iLo3 ROM.
The word flash means to reprogram the ROM that is really Flash ROM memory, EEPROM. (some call  flashing burning, the ROM, that is an ok old expression too) The first ROMs were PROMS and were fuse burned. (old facts)
The Main BIOS , you can change the order of the other ROM's boot order,  (making the RAID or iLO3 boot ROMs, in a different order this confuses folks at F8 key time, also turn off hide ROM messeage)


The RAID  card will run full speed  drives, SAS/SSD of any type but will be lightly limited on SATA SSD. 3Gb/s SATA (Serial ATA) just half of SAS speed. per port,see the unique dual role connector here.
The HDD ports are hot swap smart, but not all HDD are, buy your drives with due care.  If you want 3.5" drives buy a LFF system and not the above SFF.
The SFF 2.5" above you can plug in any SATA or SAS drives. (but not mixed as arrays)
My goal is 8 SAS drives,, 2 is boot drive (WinSever2012R2) 73G and  5 drives (300G) of RAID-5(file serving only )  and 1 Support drive (and Backup)

All ROMS flash kits  but the MAIN can be downloaded for free at HP. but, not....
The Main BIOS (RBSU) HP will not let me flash  it , with no SERVICE CONTRACT (unlike DELL)  called "(Entitlement Required!)"  HP hates small business or engineering  labs, etc?
Better ways exist: (new):
The correct way to do this is with the HP service DISK, called SPP and I am blocked there too. due to Entitlement blocks again.   The SPP is now King of the Mountain, find one and keep it.
.
The last  RBSU updates are:  (marked windows, firmware (" BIOS SYSTEM ROM")

HP ProLiant DL380 G7 System ROM - P67

Release Version: 08/16/2015 (lucky me, this was present on my machine day 1)

Last Recommended or Critical Revision: 08/16/2015

Previous Revision: 07/02/2013

See my iLo3 page here for Firmware upgades.
All other major devices, the flash support is there at HP, On the same pages, for  NETWORK CHIP, RAID SMART-ARRAY storage, iL03, and more.

Firmware means software in silicon, or more simply ROM. (read only memory)
That is we are  Flashing ROMs (EEPROM'S)
Be patient the BIOS BOOT UP scans are very slow,  3 to 4 full minutes.(to attain the OS login) I run Win Server 2012-r2
If you test hard drives  in the system and forget to delete them when done testing, before removing them or even after, removing them the controller dumps errors, 17nn errors, and will not find the boot drive, oddly.
No worry go back in and delete the test drive, seen  there, Bay 8 is  common place to do tests, so delete that and then tell the thing to boot to lun0 drive set. in the F8 RAID menu's, ROM BIOS)

BUILDING MY FILE SERVER:
Windows Server Installs the old fashioned why by hand, no HP hand holding.
As in any RAID based server , build the ARRAYfirst with just one drive first, using F8 BIOS, then switch to SSA later to add move drives. (there is no Drive passthrough on this card, you must do Create Drive first)
The P410i has  thing that looks like battery BBWC, but is NOT, a battery it is a nice SUPER CAP, 35-FARAD (a pair) that is all it is. Its  FBWC (flash back)
So leave it be and do it's job. 
Some think it's a battery (old Gens yes but G7 is Super Cap.)then measure it and is like 0.5v and think it'dead, no it is not, it's only discharged  They are wired in series for 5.4vdc storage and 1/2 35F or 17.5Farads
The SuperCAP needs to be fully charged, so when adding drives it won't fail syncing new drives. Give it all day to charge.

The OS installer steps are here,  the driver (if needed) for the P410i is free to get and have it ready for when the OS installer can't see the RAID chip (P410i) but  is a rare event now. 

The rumors of drivers missing for the Smart Array are only  from using relic software (legacy 2008) or relic Linux distro's. (why on earth run old OS?)
I made RAID test page here.

Ready to Rock is Windows Server 2012-R2,  or 2016  as does new  FreeNAS 11 load clean 1st try,  as does Windows 7,8, or10. (XP and Vista or its Sever Cousins fail and both are toxic virus magnets)
But you must start with at true empty disk first that means erased, 100% of all formats and even other RAID card, formats, if you have P410 formatted SAS drive, then push the Delete, array button now, then create it from scratch now.
If you do that the OS install sees the drive, but will not allow what is called,  Pass-through  (HBA), any slick new, never touched SAS drive , so do the create Device  (F8 P410 BIOS way) latter you can use SSA APP to configure the Array.

The ROM is called ORCA. (a good read is here page 9 for sure.)(learn what autoconfig does first)
Lists be clear,  here:  Erase the drive first (if was used before , this way),  then do P410 Create drive and now the OS install finds it, every time, worse case.
The key word there was ERASE as I show here.
  1. Be ready to  install  MS Win 64 Server 2012/16. I got the ISO in hand from my seller with COA key. (at hand on USB STICK MEMORY it will only fit on 2 layer DVD now, so avoid DVD like  plague )
  2. Put in only one SAS drive, make sure its empty 100% or the smart array will not see it, (protects you from self it does)
  3. Do not mix SAS and SATA drives in one array. Raid 1 needs even numbers of disks , uses 2 drives or as many as your system can hold , 8 for me or 16 for wide cage option.
  4. Try to use all the same size SAS, but will truncate them all to the smallest drive there, my goal is RAID 0 to start..
  5. In the F8 Raid BIOS see the disk and pick create  drive.  (it must show up or the drive is missing or not erased first , you can setup a 1 disk RAID 0 if you want for the OS only)
  6. Install Win 64 Server now , from the  USB STICK (HP KEY) in the  Jack in front if machine,  by booting to this stick , use the boot order or the Force boot key F11 (fast boot menu choices)
  7. Now play with that or ,  add more drives and set them them as RAID1 to 6. Do not try to add 2nd drive until the Cache RAM SUPER Cap. shows charged. (seen is SSA) mine is 1GB size rider card there.
  8. I  installed HP SSA, to the server as an APPlication,  it's free, here.  Then used it to build  up the array.  It does it and reports when done the merge and sync.
  9. After disk 2 sync's up I add more disks, the the one logical volume set.     (  mine looks like this,  Boot drive SAS x1, Raid 5 , 6xSAS, 1x 300GB  misc storage)
  10. Once that is all built  up you must let the controller finish them one by one.  (let it work for you in the back ground. 1 at a time. never put in 6 drives at once.
  11.  One rule is you can not expect the controller to shink an array(exception ACE license SAAP now free with version 6.64 firmare), SAAP has many new features.
  12. The SAAP or license is  no longer needed only need SSA ver. 3.10.2 12 July 2017 , does all those things but does not have secure erase feature, as seen on G8 UP.
  13. If running RAID 6 you can lose( failed) 2 drives, and then add then 1 by 1 and all is well. This is the true beauty if RAID 6,  (allowing hardware to fail,  and easy fix, (imagine 1000 servers)

 

HP links, main HPE page.

I like this chart.!  The Write  cache ratios on the P410 can be tuned up in  BIOS screens and SSA.
a techwarelabs.com excerpt.
If
you flash upgrade (it is free) this  RAID card it can now do Raid 5+0 and 6+0 and all ACE and DDG features for free now, HP no longer charges you  to run all modern features of your P410.
My goal for my  RAID array 8 (smart array) is (Boot 2 drive RAID 1, then , 5 disks (raid6)for data files, 1 spare  Raid 0)
The P410i has 1GB CACHE ram and the nice SUPER CAP backup supply module , this makes the RAID work faster, in 2 ways, both running and adding a new disk. (older card ran  funky battery real)
This is called expansion or migration, the write cache turns off but then the cache is used, by the P410 to aid in the fast migration and  the building of stripe sets and all that.
Mine has 1GB RAM on the P410, but the supercap must be good not shorted or dead.
There is no simple drive downgrade path like the great upgrade method. (only backup data,  delete the array and build from 1 up to new levels.)
The server can run 2 SFF drive cages if you have the SAS exepansion card added and the extra cables. (sure  and the new cage and backplane card added too)

The Pit falls of RAID:
Once your first drive and OS is loaded, do not fail to  get from HP (free) SSA, Smart Storage Administator (program and install it)  Do so after upgrading the P410 firmware.
Rule #1 ,is to  flash upgrade the ARRAY ROM to version 1.89 first, ( huge advantages here! with the new Free SAAP feature set or zero $!!!)  (this happend on an older versious but I don't know when)
Rule #2 is do not meddle with the RAID if it is busy repairing  a drive , or migrating or other processes of expansion or self healing or repairing data, or striping or any thing like that.
It's a smart RAID but  not Genius level yet. (sorry)
If you take drives from one other alien system  (or raid card not P410) it may not be SEEN by the controller.  (newer to old  HP or from any DELL)
Hit F8 key (array BIOS) hot ky , and if it can't see the drives now, the delete drive feature is dead; as is VIEW drive, so learn now that the controller can not delete or erase alien drives. (physical)  See ERASE HERE:
The HP has it's only formatting, in 2 levels, (DCB and XOR ECC Striping) Just know that its there and if you mix up drives the controller can correct that, but why do that? put lables on drives, B1 D1, bay 1 drive 1.
Learn what DCB (data control blocks) this mean in  LSI jargon sorry.? I think HP calls it RIS.?
HP does not comply with the standard DDF formats. (best I can tell) so that means:
Rule #3  do not mix raid formatted drive between alien system (eg.DELL to HP ) or from very new HP RAID arrays back to very old RAID controller but moving old to new can work ok.
Do not be afraid to build a fast large array and do the bench tests on it. I made RAID test page here.
 Quote HP: on RIS (my comments in red)

LOCATION OF ARRAY CONFIGURATION DATA

When the array configuration is saved from ACU, the information is stored on the RAID Information Sector (RIS) on each hard drive.

This allows replacement of computer components without losing data. (hard drives, my comment)

A set of drives can also be moved from one machine to another without losing data. (HP to HP, but not new to old systems , mostly)


Changes to logical volume structure and RAID level are often data-destructive.
It also allows Drive LUN expansions too. (per the manual on the P410i) ("i" means on the main board not an express card Raid)
RIS (DCB) data control blocks is a  RAID marker system (think like high way mile markers ,but more complex)
If  the markers there or are from RELIC HP controllers (or alien), they are now WRONG !
I think the HP system is totally Proprietary,(secret) ?They do have white papers on the XOR stripping methods, but not the RIS/DCB. (that I can find)

Case in point: LSI cards (3ware,etc) the series 8000 and 9000 cards are not compatible at all to each other in this way. (knowing this we learn the same deal can happen with HP controllers)
But I can find now documents showing all HP card , interoperablities, but one, My Gosh so many cards there are for 35 years. It says do not format  it with a  new card, then move it to older systems.

The reason we use RAID (harware not fake Raid of any kind) is for 2 reasons,  to keep running with 1 bad drive (even 2)  and to let it auto heal itself.
Hardware raid (unlike software) the RAID logic is in ROM , unlike software raid that can become virus infected and kill every thing.  Hardware raid is robust. (and more reliable, over a long period of time)
In most cases the drives you found seem dead?, the person PULLING Them (fleabay?) forgot and forgot to delete the DCB first, (or you forgot?) Best is a full erase in all cases selling and buying a HDD used , for sure.

HP has like 5+ different manuals (free PDF)  covering this topic, not just simple data sheet.  (it even covers the topic configuring , very well)
The MIX rules are  first: Lets call this RULE #4
  • TOPIC :Serial SCSI (SAS) and Serial ATA (SATA).
  • SAS and SATA can run on the same SAS controller.  (the P410i runs both) and with the correct  cable can be connected directly to a say a SAS drive, as  test.
  • The Backplane supports both type drives. (sas and sata)
  • SAS and SATA can not be mixed in the same array!
  • You can mix single port and dual port SAS drives. (all modern drives are dual and even fails to say it in the new datasheets)
  • Mixing small and big drives are ok , it just limits the size of Array to smallest. The extra space not used in THIS array,  is not lost you can use it  as another logical drive.
  • Your P410 will not like drives from other alien systems including from DELL or LSI(3ware) IBM , formatted cards or the like,
  • It will not like other wild formats of any kind inserted in the disk cage. Do not buy used drives, and not erase them first or you will have nothing but trouble.
Flashing old RAID ROM. (firmware : FW)
  • The Firmware on the main board BIOS needs to be updated. (I can't but mine is current)
  • The  P410i  RAID ROM needs to be updated (flashed) to the most newest version and is free. That is a given fact,  do not skip this step.
  • The hard drives have firmware too, and sometimes needs to be flashed updated ,  best is read the software update page at HPE, and see if your drive p/n is listed?,  if yes, do that now.
Rule #6 ( Just to index them here by #)
CACHE:
Never run your RAID card without any CACHE card there , 1GB best, and a working power pack (thin 3 wire , cable) to a working SUPER CAP Device. G7 has this. (or vast things good, go byebye)
Keep both that CACHE and Super cap working all that time,  or many very useful advanced RAID features will be dead, or dead slow. (like drive error correction, migration, expansion or re-ordering drive)
It will also kill the write  speeds, to dead slow. (on average)
In my opinion CACHE the  card  is not optional at all. (FBWC = FlashBACK super Capacitor , + FLash ROM.) (fast Flash + supercap)
The G7 Super cap, allows it's controller to offload the DRAM to FLASH, before its DRAM goes DEAD from lack of power.  (pure genius engineering here !) IMO
If not on a UPS system , power loss can  cause you to lose your data.  This card is not just one simple feature at all. Read the manual on it first.
New FBWC started
fourth quarter of 2009 , 17Farad cap. there.
Quote: This line from HP says all I need to know:
Back-up power (FBWC or BBWC) is required for RAID controllers to perform operations such as write-back cache, array expansion, logical drive extension,strip size migration, and RAID migration.
Do no touch or play with these cards, unless you use an  ESD static wrist strap grounded to the case, or boom happens.

Links to how this works this Raid magic works a lower level)  << what does HP Smart mean (beyond the S.M.A.R,T brain inside the HDD)

WEAK Video is Normal,  this is not a GAMERS PC:  1024x728 is all you get . (hehe) but is overkill on any server.
Do not expect fancy Video from any server. (unless up added say a  x8 channel POWERFUL VGA express card that can be found, good luck there! and seen it done...)
iLo 3 uses   this  iLo 3 chip and its firmware ASIC, that plays with the ES1000  (my guess $1 a pop ATI wholesale in the 10's of thousands)
This is the chip there, (toy grade chip cloned from a relic RAGE XL  chip 1997 then move upstream to 2010 HP? )  Mfg.ID 1002 Dev#515E  {Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI]  }
The ES means Server class now. iLO3 virtualizes this video stream from here. (magic)   To it's own LAN Ethernet RJ45 jack marked iLO) My iLO3 pain page is here.
To use Lilo Console mode, you must have a   license a iLo3/4/5 ,  or it times out in 60seconds, but can  be run again for 60's, repeat. (the do that I guess as demo,  and for emergancies) the early license is no good, sadly I bought one.

  (the front and rear Case panels have  VGA  ports seen by you, are wired to this chip) And are live all the time to use on any external monitor.

Erasure Hard Disk Horrors, on Proliant, The G6 & G7  the GENeration 8 and up system have a F8 RAID BIOS page called ERASE ! finally
G7 and below:
The problems arises when  folks bought used disks, not erased proplerly and can not be seen by P410 RAID controller,  or wants to do so for obvious security issues selling a PC or any Server or DRIVE.
The same applies to HDD used on new Proliants and moved to very old Proliant card cages.

The Top Choices are for ERASE : (my choice is last using the PIG,  the PIG is just some old relic SATA PC that has a RAID card installed)
  1. HP Gen8 on up can RUN HP SSA utility and do the erase any why you want, to even extreme degree's. Read the SSA manual topic "Erase" .
  2. DBAN it,  warning!; the newest DBAN fails totally G7, due to the dweebs removing the P410 drivers, ouch. So use version 1.07  , this Dban thing is just a turn key linux disk.
  3. Use linux,  google how to use linux to erase drives, billions of posts and I will not attempt to teach that here.
  4. Some disks like SEAGATE you can use the Seagate SEAtools to do the magic erase inside the actual drive brain,  it works, but I'm not covering just one maker of  a drive ever.
  5. All top modern makers of HDD , now have an internal secure erase feature, a single command or 2, and BAM it's gone in seconds. (it's magic subfeature of drive encryption, ask your vendor how)
  6. The PIG, always works ! and is always the best way. If your drive is from your server, then do remove it as  LUN , and then delete it there, this only erases the RAID control block data.

I'm Getting the PIG:     < humor !  (worst case)  How test SAS drives safely. (off line , offline means not in a production server live)
Testing off line allows you to lower system risks to zero.
You can not connect any SAS drive to any old desktop PC that only has ONLY SATA ports, that is because, SATA is subset of SAS technology,  but not the reverse. (even with a simple wired adaptor this fails)
What I do is have an old PC with old SAS card of any kind installed in any express PCI slot that works.

SMART TESTS are first:
The other Pit fall is finding a S.M.A.R.T Applications  that will run and find this data on any give SAS drive and through the SAS CARD (my LSI 9211-IT)
No better utility works as good as Hard Disk Sentinel ,  standard for $19 USD, the trial even runs if your job is small and time short.
  The $29 version allows portable ops. (on  USB stick and test lots of PC/HDD) 
With Coupon code HDSPH2 , it is $19 with VAT tax (huh EU tax?) Google finds many coupons for this.,
The PRO PORTABLE IS HERE.(pay for it please)

Testing 1,2,3:
To test a Drive, I connect my DUT, drive under test to the end of my SAS cable (and power of course)
I boot windows and using "MS DISK MANAGMENT, I format it and gain a drive letter.
I then Run the Sentinel on it. AS seen here.  Understanding S.M.A.R.T data is not easy, but do go to your drive makers web site and read there for the facts on THEIR product.
That Sentinel is savvy, it puts red or green marks (paid version) on the smart data that is key go GOOD and red on the bad, see the words Unrecoverable , this is a key parameter to learn and watch.
If running the drive in a Proliant HP reports all this for free, so the  above is fully redundant or weaker than the HP way for sure. But I do test used drives, this way. (and run the AS-SSD benchmark program on them too)
If you are only erasing a drive, use the next section below for that.
The raid card can have 3 kinds of cables, some useless, (called reverse bla bla)
But mine has 2,  one is SAS only cables and the other set are SATA ends. If all you have is SATA cable ends and the drive is SAS you need this adaptor.
  

It will not allow, a SATA cable to work with any MOBO SATA or card that is 100% SATA only chip based.  It does work with my  3ware-9211 card. This P/N is HP #
This is only gold wired and no electronics here, it's only physical adaptation. And useless on plugged into any pure SATA port.
The below cable can connect any real SATA drive, to the raid card or any SAS HBA card.
It can also connect to the above (with power jack on left plugged into PSU cable) and will allow any SAS driver to work just like this.

Called SSF-8087 , called a breakout cable. Backplane cables are very different.

I keep HBA card handy to test used HDD I buy.  This makes it more easy to erase them or test them, 10x more easy.


 ERASURE  options:
Best is to own this card (or like card) and HBA SAS card with cable and cable ends as SATA. LSI cards for sure have these cables as an option.(@fleabay)
The LSI-9211 flashed to "IT" mode (HBA) is the most cheapest card at $30(used). (I flashed mine from RAID to HBA easy)
HBA allows PASSTHROUGH to work, making the job very easy, here.  HBA = Host Bus Adaptor (plain jane) RAID is not HBA but can be  if you flash it to HBA.

Learn this, that DBAN nor any Linux, ever covers all 36 years of PCs made! (and chips), not now , not ever!, (unless I made it from scratch using my huge SATA/SAS/SATA driver pack )
The same words are true for WINDOWS !
I will not cover how to do this with the 10,000 distributions of Linux. (for 20 years)
DBAN is the first choice, but which one? answer 1.07.

We know that new 2.3 fails to work! On my G7 (It can't find the Raid chip due to not having the correct driver present (sucks no?)
This old DBAN versions run  on P400s and P410 raid cards (if you delete the array from the LUN first, then make it a unassigned drive, then Dban it.


2nd choice ERASURE TOPIC is:
There is Killdisk , install it on your PIG box running windows. Run it, then launch boot creator make CD/USB or ISO now. 
Run killdisk using the above adaptor if drive is SAS drive. and erase the disk (kill) it on the PIG box , end saga. 

Read here how folks struggle with this topic. 

As you can see here are the differences in the Drive connectors only.  See how HP backplane below right accommodates both. 
If you try to stuff a SAS drive in to SATA cable end it books you for  good reaons, first SATA only chips do not do SAS signaling, or does the SAS command set work on the same SATA  chip.
The 7 pins in the center are the VPS pins (smart pins) (wiki how SAS works, read that and learn that... first)

Tricks:  If you hot swap in the HDD (that is rated to do that! ) and the drive is dead, be sure to  listen to it spin, at 10,000 RPM if it is silent after 1 full minute , then remove it and reInsert again. (it will spin)
end the PIG. (always keep the PIG handy for days like this)  Then plug it in to your Proliajnt RAID system , and see it pop up as unassigned drive. Ready to use it. "Create drive"
 



The slot on the left is the RAID CACHE CARD with battery cable. The 2 center slots are the RISER cards express.  CPU's and Rams missing above.
Best is to own each riser card type,  to be ready for any thing.
Mine came with 2 cards,  with 3  express slots each, that totals up to; two , 8channel &, four , slot 4 channel  (6 slots total express) There is SAS expander card that can be plugged in here too. for 16 drives.

See my iLo 3 pain page here.



Make sure  you have lots of these Puppies below. Make sure the drive too is  listed hotswap in the spec.








Power usage; (watts or VA?) only qty. 3 HDD installed.
In standby power switch yellow for standby, the current drawn (my meters does this) 0.2amps AC, or  24 VA or 24 watts. This is just Ilo3 running. (it's ARM brain and its ROM) Equal to about  10  LEDs glowing power /wise.
Costing about  25 cents , every 42 days, or or $2 bucks a year on standby. (zero in terms of my AC plant usage.) Zilch comes to mind.
Power on , amps goes from 1.6 booting up and lowers to 1.0 amps running, iLO shows 120watts and so does my meter show (120v times  1a=120 VA watts.)
Raid 5 up, now and 3 logical array's.
With 8 drives running full power is 135watts 


A host is a host of course of course and nobody can talk to host of course, if it is busy , hung or dead ! (sung to the tune of TV Mr. ED)

version 3.  11-9-2017  , my Journal, the rantings of a retired puke.