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FreeBSD on HP Proliant DL360p G8 Servers

The Problem

We received a number of the new HP Proliant DL360p G8 servers and aimed to give them a test run with multiple OS’. My goal was to install FreeBSD 8-STABLE (same as we’re testing on the Dell PowerEdge R620s).

Our provisioning platform utilizes a traditional PXE method with Linux and FreeBSD integrated. On my first attempt to PXE boot and install FreeBSD, the kernel panic’d when the network interface was brought up within sysinstall.

Turns out that the neither the BCM5719 nor BCM5720 ethernet controllers are fully supported in FreeBSD 8-STABLE as of this writing. However, the FreeBSD community is currently working on resolving this.

The Hardware

We were testing FreeBSD 8-STABLE (as of 21 May 2012) on the following configuration:

HP Proliant DL360p G8 w/ Smart Array i420 RAID Controller
Eight (8) 2.5″ 300GB SAS HDD

HP Proliant DL360p G8

The Resolution

As of this writing, the DL360p G8 ships only with a daughtercard based on the BCM5719. An Intel option is not yet available. So we ordered a PCIe NIC based on the Intel 82571 and removed the daughtercard from the motherboard then inserted the PCIe Intel NIC. We modified the BIOS settings to ensure the Intel NICs were bootable devices. This allowed us to PXE boot and build FreeBSD.

FreeBSD also supports the HP NC361T/Intel i350T2, both based on the Intel i350 controller. The downside with using a PCIe NIC is that a slot is removed as an expansion option.

Categories: FreeBSD
  1. July 3, 2012 at 8:37 AM


    Nice Blog! Thanks for this information….

  2. Marius
    August 8, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    Did you try booting 9.0 or 9.1-beta1 since then? Did you try booting from DVD (iLO or physical)?

  3. August 8, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    I have not yet tried 9.x on this platform, but will be doing so in the coming weeks. I do not usually install the OS from physical media. My provisioning platform is network based and utilizes PXE.

  4. golfreeze
    October 11, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    I also tried for FBSD 9.0 and 9.1 prerelease , but got same problem about watchdog alert.
    until recompile kernel with http://people.freebsd.org/~yongari/bge/brgphy.c 3 files driver but not successful .

    Do you have another idea for this issue ?

    • October 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM

      My understanding is that many of the most recent Broadcom NICs have issues in 8.x and 9.x. It might be worth sending an email to the freebsd-questions mailing list about this.

  5. Mats
    February 14, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    (hp proliant dl360p gen8)
    Hello, is it possible to disable raid if I want to use FreeBSD-Software Raid?

    • February 19, 2014 at 6:57 PM

      @Mats: It’s been a while since I have been at the console of one of these systems. Having said that, I don’t think hardware RAID can be disabled. Even when one removes all arrays, some versions of the controller still present the drives as logical volumes. Software RAID can be done at this stage, but it’s not on the raw devices which negates some features made available through software RAID technologies.

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