A match not made in heaven: Windows Server 2008 and HP ProLiant ML 110 G3

Note to self: installing bleeding edge software on too-cheap hardware hurts.

To not fall into the Vista trap again, I thought I’d rather start sooner than later testing software on Windows Server 2008.

I’m playing on a HP ProLiant ML 110 G3, a little server with a 3GHz Pentium IV D and 3GB RAM, holding additionally 2 RAID-1-arrays with roughly 700 GB on a HP 6-port SATA RAID controller. Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2 was installed and running fine.

HP confirms that the ProLiant ML 110 G3 supports Windows Server 2008 (Table 2, page 9), as well as the 6-Port SATA RAID controller (Table 3, page 11).

But it ain’t that easy.

First, the upgrade failed. Because Powershell cannot be upgraded or removed.

Then, the installation failed. Because it always traps into a NMI Parity error on restart. And I have good reason to assume it’s not the memory because the Windows Memory Diagnostics Extended test ran in an infinite loop an entire weekend without detecting problems. Also, I can reproduce the NMI loading the 6-port SATA RAID controller’s driver into Windows Server 2008 pre-setup.

So, I invested another day trying to find firmware updates. For the system itself, for the iLO, for the 6-port SATA RAID controller. Funny: The iLO update works only with a diskette drive. Which the server doesn’t have. Not even optionally.

The all-new all-in-one HP ProLiant Firmware CD 8.00 does not support ML 100 series servers. That’s something Pre-Sales doesn’t tell you.

So, this is the end of that.

Hard to try being proactive with new operating systems if your hardware vendor let’s you down.

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