HP Microserver Gen8 G1610T booting with USB & ODD

I have 3 4 HP Microservers and 2 3 of them are running OpenMediaVault

I want to use the 4HDD’s of the Microserver soley as Data disks and not the OS. For this you have options:

Boot from SD card, boot from USB (internal) and than use the Datadisks. The problem here is that it is not wise to have many write actions to a SD card or USB thumbdrive.

To solve this issue: I use an old 2,5″ HDD connected to the ODD port. (ODD power cable & internal free SATA port)

To be able to boot from the 2,5″ HDD you need a number of items

  1. Sata Cable
  2. OKS-38523 (SATA Floppy Cable)  (€ 3,99)
  3. USB Thumbdrive (preferred 2 if you do not use a SD card)
  4. 2,5″ HDD (or SSD)

Size, in this, does not matter.

First connect the hardware (cables & HDD), do not insert the SD card or USB thumbdrive, do not insert the 4 Data disks (SATA) yet.

Make sure you use AHCI mode for the disks, the RAID module of HP cannot be used.

Install the OpenMediaVault ISO on the SD card, than make sure in the BIOS of the HP Microserver you can boot from it when starting the device. Insert the SD card in the slot and boot, install Openmediavault, it will detect the 2,5″ HDD

After installation: remove the SD card, Openmediavault will boot. Please remember: the 4 DATA disks are still not inserted. If you do so: OpenmediaVault will not boot, insert the USB Thumbdrive to the internal USB port.

Make sure that SSH is enabled within OpenMediavault or that you have access to the shell.

Below installation is derived from this german manual

in the GUI of OMV you can find the installation point of the USB drive, in my situation: /dev/sdb

Clean the disk with the command:
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb count=1000

Make a bootable partition (very important to make it bootable in the interface !!)
cfdisk /dev/sdb

and do format it. (I formatted it as ext3)
mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1

mount /mnt /dev/sdb1
update: it is possible that your new debian version need to mount the device as ‘mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt’
I had this issue when I was installing OMV 4.x (updated: 11-04-2018 /dd/mm/yyyy)

Install grub:
grub-install –no-floppy –root-directory=/mnt /dev/sdb

Please note (when printing this: before no-floppy is dash dash (- -) (same for root-directory) and there is a space after /mnt[space] /dev/sdb

Find the device.map in /mnt/boot/grub, it is possible that you do not have it, than read further. cause than this part does not apply. (with latest debian installations it is not necessary anymore). But in my initial OMV 3.x installation I had. So If you have a device.map check the boot order:

(hd0)   /dev/disk/by-id/ata-Samsung_HDD_840__500GB_S3C6NSBD57N
(hd1)   /dev/disk/by-id/usb-_FreeCom_Memory_05B209083439BC14-0:0

Make sure you switch the boot order
(hd0)   /dev/disk/by-id/usb-_FreeCom_Memory_05B209083439BC14-0:0
(hd1)   /dev/disk/by-id/ata-Samsung_HDD_840__500GB_S3C6NSBD57N

Activate Grub:
grub-install –root-directory=/mnt /dev/sdb

Please note (when printing this: before root-directory there is a dash dash (- -) and there is a space after /mnt[space] /dev/sdb

grub-mkconfig -o /mnt/boot/grub/grub.cfg

Turn off the device, insert the 4 SATA disks and boot

01-08-2016 I’ve updated the info after noticing a missing mount and the dashes and spacing was hard to see when printing this ;-)

18 thoughts on “HP Microserver Gen8 G1610T booting with USB & ODD

  1. David says:

    Hi Dennis!

    There is something that I dont understand!

    First we load the openmediavault image into the SD card and boot from it.
    Second, we install that image in the SSD/HD 2.5″, right?

    Then you say that we have to remove the sd card and boot from the disk, however this wont work as we are not allowed to boot from the ODD port….

    Am I missing something?


  2. Hi David,

    this is correct, by default the ODD port cannot be used to boot from, but what we do is a little different the situation is as follows:

    OMV ISO is being installed from USB-Drive or SD card towards a 2,5″ disk connected to the ODD port, in first instance you can boot fine from the ODD port, but now the data disks are not available for OMV they cannot be found, so you have a working OMV installation but no data drives (uh oh .. ) So what do we do: we use the internal USB port and from a ssh session within OMV we tell it to store grub-data to boot on the USB drive. We tell the HP Microserver to boot from the USB drive and in fact what happens is that the base information to boot from is put on the USB drive. So system boots, the base part is booted from USB but when it needs the OS we have told grub that it must use the ODD drive. Now the data drives in AHCI mode are available for OMV

  3. David says:

    Hi Dennis,

    Thanks for your response!

    I am not sure if I am doing anything wrong. But I am not able to boot from the HD connected to the ODD if AHCI is enabled in the bios and, of course, there are not other disk connected :(

    What I do is:
    1. Enabled AHCI
    2. Instal OMV in an usb, boot from it and install the OMV in the 2.5″ ssd connected to the ODD port.
    3. Restart and disconnect everything buyt the SSD.
    4. Nothing else happens, even if I choose boot from the HDD, it wont boot.

  4. David says:

    Hi again!

    Sorry for the late response. I made it work at the end, using the disk modes in raid. Creating a raid0 volume for the ODD SSD and nothing else for the other 4 disk. So far, linux detect them as having ahci enabled :)

    Thanks for your help on this!

  5. GeimporteerdKaasKop says:

    Hello Denis,
    I have major dificulti`s with grub becouse i am total novice within this…

    But for begin does ODD need to be in “raid0” so u`r manuel kan work(at this moment odd/ssd-OMV is installed via AHCI in F9-bios)?
    So far,some of u`r comands do work some not.

  6. Kaaskop,

    please read the installation instructions carefefully, my guide tells you that you first use a SD card or USB thumbdrive with the linux distro with OMV on it, the only HDD connected is a device connected to the ODD (Floppy Disk) port. all other drives are not connected yet. So I do not know why you mention raid0 cause that is not what you need. In the BIOS of the HP you put the configuration towards AHCI, so the onboard device will not put any drive in a specific raid state. If some of the commands works and some not, than you do make a typewriting error or you try to do something what is not possible

    The sequence in short is this:
    you boot from USB or SD, the ODD drive is being detected by the installation of OMV, the data will be copied onto the 2,5″ HDD or SSD or whatever what is on the ODD connector and after installation linux is started, you remove the USB drive / SD card and you will insert a clean one (2nd one) and you detect it, identifies it and you tell grub that it needs to write its data onto the usb drive/sd card . The boot sequence keeps the same, it will boot from USB or SD and than will use the data from the 2,5″ disk connected to the ODD drive to boot further. the ODD drive cannot be used to boot directly from … That is in short the way to do it.

  7. GeimporteerdKaasKop says:

    Hello Denis,
    i got stuck @ this command:

    (where is “*” is space)

    i get next massage:

    mount: /mnt is not a block device

    What shall i do next?

  8. GeimporteerdKaasKop says:

    One last question EVER please:
    Wat is COMMAND to get an info of a boot order:

    Find the device.map in /mnt/boot/grub, it is possible that you do not have it, than read further. If you have a device.map check the boot order:

    (hd0) /dev/disk/by-id/ata-Samsung_HDD_840__500GB_S3C6NSBD57N
    (hd1) /dev/disk/by-id/usb-_FreeCom_Memory_05B209083439BC14-0:0

    Make sure you switch the boot order
    (hd0) /dev/disk/by-id/usb-_FreeCom_Memory_05B209083439BC14-0:0
    (hd1) /dev/disk/by-id/ata-Samsung_HDD_840__500GB_S3C6NSBD57N

  9. you can do cat /mnt/boot/grub/device.map or nano -w /mnt/boot/grub/device.map

    The mount issue could be related to an already mounted device on /mnt/ than you must make sure that you can mount the device on another mount point.

  10. cere84 says:

    Hi Dennis,

    First of all thanks very much for such a good guide!!!!
    I installed OMV yesterday using iLO loading the ISO without a pendrive/SD and once rebooted I found out the issue of not being able to boot from the ODD. My question is the following;
    Do I need to put the ISO in a pendrive or SD anymore to follow the guide or can I start from “Clean the disk with the command:
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb count=1000”?
    I am asking because apparently needs to be cleared isn’t it?


  11. @cere84 you do not need the ISO anymore when your device has been booted and you cannot access your drives. The ISO is not needed anymore because Linux is already installed now.

    The only problem is that your drives are not visible. So you need to create a bootable device (USB/SD card) where you tell GRUB to use the image of Linux from the device where it was installed on.
    (That’s not the ISO anymore, but the target where you installed the image from the ISO) so actually you can use the same usb thumbdrive with iso for using it as bootable device with grub by cleaning it.

    I prefer to buy a 2nd usb thumbdrive cause then you only need to switch the devices. and the device with ISO could be used for other purposes again.

  12. Philipp says:

    Thank you for your excellent tutorial, it worked really well for me.

    I reset the BIOS to default before starting the whole process and all works flawlessly. I did not change the SATA controller to AHCI, it’s still in ‘HP Mode’, that did not cause any problems for me.

    I used fdisk instead of cfdisk because I find the number of selectable options of cfdisk a bit overwhelming.

  13. Dom says:

    Thank you very much for sharing this. Installed Proxmox on my old Gen8 yesterday and had a hard time finding out (because I forgot in the meanwhile) That AHCI is not supposed to boot OS from the ODD Bay. Your guide saved me a lot of time.



  14. zdanee says:

    Hi all! I found if I set the primary boot device to the ODD and there is an SSD connected there instead of a DVD drive it boots off the SSD just fine.

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