HP Proliant SE1102 notes

HP Proliant SE1102 were great Special Editions HP released for datacenter customers. Based on the HP ProLiant DL160 G5 Server architecture, they have differences in terms of enabled PCI-Express slots (they are there but my understanding is that only the one who has the pci riser card is usable) and are artificially stripped down in some departments.

One of the issues you could face is their ability to support large drives (>2.2GB), somebody even flashed the DL160 G5 bios on a SE1102 and found that it’s a bios, and not hardware, limitation. You can find the bios on the HP website, it’s called SP52204.exe and will unpack to a USB bootable key. The default flash utility (HPQUSB.exe) will not leave you flash a different unit but the OP succeeded using an alternate utility called “flashrom”.

HP Proliant DL180 G5 server treats 3-TB SATA disks as 750-GB ones

Long short story: we did not feel brave and keep the original bios, also in order to mantain support for 24GB of RAM and found that Linux correctly manage 4TG hard-drives with some trickery. Please note that we did not need boot support from such disks as we boot from a PCI-X SSD that has a standard msdos MBR and partition table.

Our steps with HGST IDK Deskstar NAS 4 TB (ex Hitachi):

  1. Remove any partition header from the disk using dd (dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda count=1 bs=1024);
  2. gdisk /dev/sda and create a GPT partition table;
  3. with parted /dev/sda:
    1. mkpart primary 1049kb 100% create an aligned partition;
    2. set 1 raid on flag it as a raid partition;
    3. align-check opt 1 make sure alignment is correct;
    4. quit :)

Now your HP Proliant SE1102 will boot instead of freezing after the BIOS POST (power-on self-tests).

Many thanks to my colleague and friend Pasquale `sid` Fiorillo who countlessly rebooted this machine until finding the right solution :)