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Dell R710 and other 11 Gen Unraid setups (PERC H700, 6i)


martinkeat

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I noticed recurring questions about Dell R710 servers and unraid over the past few months and I currently have two in operation, one with Perc 6i controller and one with an H700. I just wanted to post the steps I go through in order to turn them into unraid servers for those who were asking, seeing as though I have had a lot of help from the community. 

 

Dell R710's running either PERC H700 or 6i controllers should be able to be setup as an unraid server.

 

The first thing you need to do is configure the virtual drives. You want to assign each drive seperately to its own raid-0 virtual drive. 

 

1. Boot the server and enter into the raid configuration utility (usually CTRL+R when prompted).

2. Press F2 on the controller and click create new VD.

3. Select your first drive with an x

4. Give it a name (see note below)

5. Select advanced options and set element size to 64KB, read policy to "adaptive read" and write policy to "write through". Press OK

6 Repeat for each drive.

 

NOTE: Your drives start at 0. If you have an R710 with 6 3.5" drives then your drives will number 0-5. If you have an R710 with 8 2.5" drives (like me) then your drives will be numbered 0-7. 

I highly suggest giving the VD for drive 0 the name "B", VD for drive 1 the name "C", VD for drive 2 the name "C" etc. 

The reason for this is quite simple. When unraid lauches the drives are named a, b, c etc. The first one "a" is always the USB stick you have the unraid flashed to. Your SSD's and HDD's are then b, c, d, e etc. The raid controller does not pass the actual drive numbers through to unraid, so if you don't name the drives and assign them in unraid in the same order, it makes fault finding a pigs ear when you have to replace a drive.

 

For instance, my setup has drives 0 and 1 as SSDs. I use these for my cache. Drives 2-7 are hdd's. When configuring unraid from the UI, you would designate them to their slots in the same order.

 

I label them as such:

 

    Unraid        VD    Physical Drive Slot    Information

    (sda)          N/A                                   USB Flash
    (sdb)          (b)     Drive 0                     Cache
    (sdc)          (c)     Drive 1                      Cache
    (sdd)          (d)     Drive 2                     HDD
    (sde)          (e)     Drive 3                     HDD
    (sdf)           (f)     Drive 4                     HDD
    (sdg)          (g)     Drive 5                    HDD
    (sdh)          (h)     Drive 6                    HDD
    (sdi)            (i)     Drive 7                    HDD

 

If you follow this very simple labelling scheme then if drive sdg on unraid experiences issues, then you know that it is VD G in the raid controller that you are dealing with and that corresponds to drive 5.

 

7. IMPORTANT: MAKE SURE THAT AFTER YOU HAVE CREATED YOUR VD'S YOU GO OVER EACH OF THEM AND PRESS F2 THEN "START INIT" TO INITIALISE THEM. YOU MUST LET THEM ALL GO THROUGH THE INITIALISATION PROCESS. 

 

8. BOOT INTO UNRAID.

You may have to go into the bios and enable USB booting. You can do this by turning UEFI boot off in the bios and that will then let you set the boot order. Make sure the unraid USB is in the machine when you boot up or you wont see it in the bios to select it. 

Once booted into unraid, it's the usual config you would do with any other unraid server. 


    

Edited by martinkeat
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Keep in mind that all the typical troubleshooting advice relies on Unraid having direct access to the raw drives on a plain HBA. Putting the drives behind a RAID controller adds a level of complexity that can cause issues, and you should be prepared to do extra work to keep your server healthy and maintained compared to a typical Unraid install.

 

If there is ANY way to replace the RAID controller with one of the recommended LSI HBA SAS controllers, the small extra cost would be well worth it, and if you sell the RAID controller you may actually come out ahead cost wise.

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34 minutes ago, JonathanM said:

Unfortunately this is the downside to the R710. I.e the dell H200 cards can be flashed to LSI firmware but then when you put it into the R710 it doesn't work. Just putting this guide up so people know they can setup unraid on R710 because they are cheap as chips and can be used. 

 

 

34 minutes ago, JonathanM said:

 

 

Keep in mind that all the typical troubleshooting advice relies on Unraid having direct access to the raw drives on a plain HBA. Putting the drives behind a RAID controller adds a level of complexity that can cause issues, and you should be prepared to do extra work to keep your server healthy and maintained compared to a typical Unraid install.

 

If there is ANY way to replace the RAID controller with one of the recommended LSI HBA SAS controllers, the small extra cost would be well worth it, and if you sell the RAID controller you may actually come out ahead cost wise.

 

Edited by martinkeat
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  • 2 years later...

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