Dell R320 with PERC H310 Mini

  • I am having issues installing either 2.0.3 or 2.1RC on a Dell R320 with PERC H310 Mini. on 2.0.3 I get a warning about no disk to install to and on 2.1 it just hangs after I click the install option.

    I can see that support for this hardware never hit freebsd until 9.0 and pfsense is still using freebsd 8.3 with some of the 8.4 drivers.

    I also have some embedded broadcom Nics that don't seem to work on 2.0.3 but do on 2.1.

    Is there anyway to install pfsense even if i have to compile the drivers myself and load them?

  • I think your best (most likely to succeed with least hassle) option is to use an external hard drive in a "USB" enclosure.

  • Sorry i am a bit confused as to what your suggesting.

    Are you saying i could use a usb hard drive/memstick to install pfsense and then load then install the drivers i need to get pfsense working correctly?

    if so is there a guide for this?

  • @jeffreysmith:

    Sorry i am a bit confused as to what your suggesting.

    Sorry, I will give some more detail about my suggestion.

    As best I have been able to tell, the R320 doesn't offer any disk connectors interfacing to a "standard" controller, only through the H310. The H310 is not supported until FreeBSD 9.0. To support the H310 in FreeBSD 8.3 (for pfSense 2.1) or FreeBSD 8.1 (for pfSense 2.0.x) would involve adding the H310 driver to the appropriate FreeBSD source tree and building the driver. Building the driver might be a simple compile and link OR it might involve making substantial changes in the driver to accommodate differences in disk handling in the earlier versions of FreeBSD.

    To avoid that process and its possible complications, I suggested connecting a disk drive via USB  so that you could use that drive as the system drive and install on to it. And it would best be a USB 2.0 disk enclosure because such enclosures are more likely to have been tested with FreeBSD 8.3 than some very recently released USB 3.0 enclosure.

    If you have considerable experience in the FreeBSD (but your question

    Is there anyway to install pfsense even if i have to compile the drivers myself and load them?

    suggests you don't)  OR you are prepared for what could be a considerable learning experience then you could attempt to build and test a driver yourself. Maybe you could offer a bounty or pay someone to do it for you. Oh, and you would want to give the (possibly modified) driver a considerable test before you trusted your system files to it, wouldn't you?

    Another option would be to add an expansion card with an "older" and supported disk controller to the system. But there are complications with that too: FreeBSD is not the most popular operating system and I suspect that you might have to do some research to find a card that is supported by (now) "old" versions of FreeBSD.

    I am not wanting to discourage you, just wanting you to be aware that your apparently preferred approach MIGHT be far more costly in time than you imagine.

  • I might just try to find some older hardware to run pfsense on and use these servers for something else.

    Thanks for the help with this.

  • It appears from the post at,63750.msg350176.html#msg350176 that there are disk connectors on the motherboard that go to a "standard" disk controller. Maybe you could try connecting the hard drive to one of the motherboard connectors.

  • Another possibility is to install a hypervisor and run PF in a VM.  I get very good results with VMware on Dell equipment.

    You gain quite a few other benefits like the ability to easily backup the VM before updates, testing etc.

    There is a slight loss of performance by not being on the "raw tin" but seeing as I can get a pfSense to route packets at nearly 1Gbs-1 without even bothering with the funky network drivers ie using plain e1000 it is not too much of an issue.


  • I like the "older hardware" idea.
    I have come to the conclusion that the latest greatest hardware is good for devs and for kids who just must get 94576 frame/second on some new game.
    Takes devs a couple (or more) years to get support rolled into a stable release.

  • thanks for the responses they have been very helpful.

    I ended up plugging the drives directly into the sata ports and I am going to setup gmirror using the guide I was leaning towards using older hardware but it seems this is all that is available.

    Was just wondering what sort of redundancy that gives me.

    If one of my drives fails will pfsense carry on running?
    If I reboot with the primary drive borked will pfsense actually boot as I am assuming the mbr is located here?
    I am going to have two servers in a cluster so is this just overkill?
    Are there any packages for pfsense to monitor the status of gmirror?

  • No chance to lay your hands on an older RAID capable SATA interface huh?
    One of the great things about pfsense is its very happy and rock solid on old "dated" stuff that is dirt cheap and works well.

  • There appears to be software RAID DELL S110 which is not ideal but you can't put any supported hardware raid cards into this machine so I am a little stuck with it.

    Just installing 2.0.3 on this now and its seems pretty happy.

  • Well if you are happy I'm happy.  If you picked solid drives I'm sure it will be fine.

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