The Pursuit of Homelabs, Part 5 – IT LIVES!

jdmoorexyz_fanclubWhat a week it’s been! After receiving all my parts from my first eBay order, then waiting on a set of M246M cables to come in the mail (oops), I was all set to get started… or was I? After some great “learning opportunities”, I was able to successfully boot my R710! Keep reading to see what all I learned along the way.

My Kingdom for a Host [Bus Adapter]

No, no I wasn’t. I spent all the time I could spare the last week and a half or so trying to flash my raid controller to IT mode. Why? The Dell PERC (PowerEdge Raid Controller) H200 I purchased is an affordable RAID card that will work with the hard drives I have in my harddrive/connected to my backplane, with one caveat: its default firmware is “too smart”. It does what it sets out to do very well, but all I need out of it is a 6+drive host bus adapter my backplane can talk to the rest of my machine. The H200 stock firmware is, for most applications, great. It allows RAID 1, 5, and 10 drive configurations, each of which allow different levels of redundancy and data parity across connected drives. I, however, am not interested in any real drive parity right now, especially because RAID is not a backup solution. I’ll be storing a few movies and some kinda-disposable virtual hard drives on these drives; everything that I can’t lose is backed up elsewhere.

How do I want to use my drives? As just a bunch of disks, also referred to as “JBOD”. Higher-end 11th generation PERC cards do offer JBOD and some other flavors of RAID drive configurations, however the H200, sadly, doesn’t. When researching my parts before purchase, most folks suggested that I could “quickly” and “easily” flash the card to IT Mode, following one of “tons” of guides out there. The process wasn’t especially quick, nor easy, and I only found two or three tutorials and a handful of forum posts that all started referencing each other by the time I figured out what I needed to do.