Booting RAID 1 TrueNAS on Dell R720XD

Techie241

New Member
Nov 25, 2021
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So, Recently I picked up a dell R720XD for a good deal, and I am waiting for my drives to come in to use it as a home NAS. I planned on using truenas with a raidz2 setup using Dell SAS drives and to boot off a raid1 setup using the rear back-plane on the 720xd for a pair of SATA SSDs. In doing some research, I've found other people have a problem booting from the h710 after it has been flashed to IT mode. I need to flash it to IT mode so that the front 24 drive backplane can pass through directly to truenas but i still want to be able to boot off a RAID 1. the backplane appears to have a minisas connector running to daisy chain into the front backplane. would it be possible to connect that into the motherboard sata ports instead and use that to boot with a mini sas to sata adapter? if not is there a different way to handle this without installing an additional RAID card? is there a way to force the IT mode flashed h710 to let the computer boot off of a RAID one drive? help with this would be greatly appreciated
 

mathiastro

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Oct 12, 2016
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Im 99% sure that you can use the internal sata ports to boot a truenas software raid. Not so sure that you can connect the sas backplane to the sata ports. I would connect the boot drives directly to sata ports and leave the backplane for data disks.
 

Techie241

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Nov 25, 2021
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Im 99% sure that you can use the internal sata ports to boot a truenas software raid. Not so sure that you can connect the sas backplane to the sata ports. I would connect the boot drives directly to sata ports and leave the backplane for data disks.
I mostly wanted to know if you could use the backplane in the rear since its only two slots and I am not sure where else I could mount the ssds. also don't have any SATA power connectors off the PSUs that I could see, so I don't know how I would power them
 

neb50

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Aug 28, 2018
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The IT mode of the H710 will mean that RAID functionality is disabled so using a RAID1 array to boot from won't work.

The rear bays can be separated from the front drive bays using another SAS controller.

The internal SATA connectors are disabled on the 720xd, so you wouldn't be able to use those for the rear bays or anything else.

Since you are doing a bare metal setup, you can boot off the HBA and select 2 drives to do a Mirrored install on using Software RAID and can boot off either if there is an issue later.

Depending on the options on your R720xd, you can also boot FreeNAS/TrueNAS off the internal Dual SD cards or USB sticks in a Mirrored setup and leave the rear bays available for data drives.
 

Techie241

New Member
Nov 25, 2021
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The IT mode of the H710 will mean that RAID functionality is disabled so using a RAID1 array to boot from won't work.

The rear bays can be separated from the front drive bays using another SAS controller.

The internal SATA connectors are disabled on the 720xd, so you wouldn't be able to use those for the rear bays or anything else.

Since you are doing a bare metal setup, you can boot off the HBA and select 2 drives to do a Mirrored install on using Software RAID and can boot off either if there is an issue later.

Depending on the options on your R720xd, you can also boot FreeNAS/TrueNAS off the internal Dual SD cards or USB sticks in a Mirrored setup and leave the rear bays available for data drives.
Thank you, this is all very useful information! I actually did not know the 720XD had internal SD/USB ports. upon looking inside though I could only find a single USB port internally, although I could not find good info on where to look for them, so maybe you might be able to tell me where I could find the other one? also good to know the sata ports are disabled.
as far as going to IT mode, I know that disables the RAID functionality and was planning to try and do a software raid for the boot, but I was told if you flashed the H710 to IT mode it wouldn't allow you to boot off of any of the drives on it anymore. is that no longer the case? most of the articles I found on the subject were a few years old at this point so maybe things have changed and I am worried about nothing.
when you say you can boot off the HBA and just select two drives for the mirrored install, are we talking about a second HBA in one of the PCIe slots or just the IT flashed H710? I'm seriously starting to consider just picking up a second h710 and popping it in for those two drive bays and leave it as a hardware raid controller, but that's a bit of an expensive solution. hoping I can find a way to do this with the hardware I already have
 

neb50

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Aug 28, 2018
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Techie241

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Nov 25, 2021
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There is only one USB port inside the chassis, but you can use an external one if needed.

The Dual SD card reader if you have it will be under the riser 3 near the rear of the chassis.
DELL DUAL SD Card Reader Module POWEREDGE R620 R720 R720XD 06YFN5 | eBay - here is an example of cost and what it looks like.

Here is the guide on how to flash the card on this forum and it includes the Boot ROM.
Guide: Flashing H310/H710/H810 Mini & full size to IT Mode | ServeTheHome Forums
I definitely do not have it then, but that's not a bad idea for the price, since SD cards are cheaper than SSDs anyway. The guide on there does allow you to boot from the controller? awesome. that answers everything, thank you so much!