Building a NAS for home use – Part 4: Assembly

Part 4: Assembly

I bought a lot of stuff along with the HP ProLiant MicroServer which needs to put into the small tower of the server. I do show in this chapter what to install how and in which sequence. Basically this is a pretty easy task, but in case you did not bought one of this MicroServers and you want to know how the device looks from the inside you can check out the pictures I made.


Instead of simply writing one big blog entry I decided to split up my report into multiple parts:

Working on the system board

Removing the system board

To remove the system board you do need to open the tower. Basically I recommend to check the manual from HP how to open the tower and so on. HP does provide a nice descriptions which really shows every step and move to execute.

To open the tower you do have to open the front door with the key and unscrew the screw on the back of the tower. Than you should be able to slide gently the top of the tower off the tower.

As the next step you should remove the hard disks and unscrew the blue screws aside of the system board. In my case a needed a special screwdriver with a torx (“star”) as a tip. You will need the same screwdriver later one when you need to remove the back plane where you need to put the iLO-Card in later on.

Next step is to unlock the cables very carefully from the cable brackets. To be on the save side you should open all brackets and lose all cables. Then you can pull on the handle at the front of the system board and the system board will slide out. Be careful when doing so because there are several cables connected to the board. Also disconnect these cables. It is very easy to reconnect them because all of them do only fit into a specific port or are color coded as you can see on my screenshots.

Installation iLO-Card

Please check the manual of the iLO-Card for the official installation procedure. In addition to it you can read my description.
Before touching the iLO-Card you should ground yourself so that the iLO is not getting damaged by some kind of electricity your body will submit. As soon you have removed the system board you can insert the iLO-Card into the slot nearest to the biggest heat-sink. As the next step you do need to remove the back plane at the rear of the tower which covers the slot. To do so slide down the cover of the slots and unscrew the screw with the screw driver you already needed to remove the system board. The next step is to slowly slide the system board back into the tower and to reconnect all cables. Do not lock the system board by now, because you still need to install the USB-Stick (next step)


Installation USB-Stick

HP was really thinking in advance when they decided to add an internal usb slot to the ProLiant MicroServer. This slot is placed quite close to the huge SATA-Connector on the system board. To be able to mount my USB-Stick into that slot I had to slide out the system board a little bit and than I simply inserted my “FreeNAS” USB-Stick into that port.

After putting it there I carefully pushed the system board back again than secure the system board by screw-in the blue screws again. At least I secured the cables by using the cable brackets at the end and do not forget the cable brackets aside of the hard disk slots!

Finishing the work on the system board

By now the system board is back again at the place where it belongs. Before continuing to the installation of the hard disks you still need to fix the installed iLO-Card at the slot of the rear of the tower. To do so fix it with the screw removed at the installation step of the iLO-Card from the back plane and slide up the cover again. That’s it!

Test Drive

Before adding the additionally purchased hard disks I just wanted to do a test drive of the system. Therefore I wanted to try to boot up my FreeNAS from the USB-Stick, accessing the iLO and see how FreeNAS responses on the system. I do recommend this step because if something is malfunctioning the hard disks are still original boxed etc.. In my case I decided to insert (first slot) the 250GB hard disk supplied by HP only.

Than I connected it to the power grid, connected the system as well the iLO board with an Ethernet cable to my 1GBit/s switch, added a monitor (you have to connect it to the port on the  iLO-Card !!), an USB mouse and keyboard to it.

BTW: Check the CD supplied by HP. On it you will find a link to the handbook to your MicroServer…. very strange HP really did not put it on the CD. Instead they offer only the link to download it. Or click here (hopefully HP won’t kill me):


I pressed not a single button and the system booted straight from the usb stick into FreeNAS… very sexy. At the end of the boot process FreeNAS will ask you for the console setup. I decided not to continue because I wanted to add the new hard disks first. Therefore I selected “Shutdown”.
After the system shutdown I disconnected the power and attached devices to continue the hard disk installation.

Installation of the hard disks

Installing the hard disks is a pretty easy task, but HP does not supply any screws to screw the purchased hard disks into the frames. Isn’t that some kind of strange??
For me that was not a big problem, because I collected a lot of screws from computers of the last years. But to the plastic frames from HP does not fit every screws… see screenshots.
I decided not to use the hard disk supplied by HP, because the 250GB is quite small compared to the 2TB drives I bought and especially in case of noise and power consumption I do feel that I should use the western digital green series only.
I already found usage for this disk… as separated drive of my workstation where I could install Windows on.

After putting all hard disks into the frames simply slide them in from left to right until you can lock them. In case you want to mount five instead of only four hard disks you can use the 5 1/4 slot for the fifth drive. In case you want to do this you have to purchase an additional frame/adapter to put a 3 1/2 drive into a 5 1/4 drive. In my case I will keep the 5 1/4 slot free for maybe putting there a bluray writer or tape drive in a few month.

Now it is time to put back the top on the tower. You assemble the rest of the parts in the opposite sequence as you did in the step a the beginning.


The configuration of the system using FreeNAS is very easy. After having the server assembled and FreeNAS installed on the USB-Stick. You should simply power on the server and boot up FreeNAS.

When the system is up there are two comfortable options to configure the system:

  1. You can use the the command line. FreeNAS is offering a very simply and clean menu which allows you to do all basic configuration. You can see the menu on the screenshot I added in this article showing the system booted without installed hard disks
  2. You can configure the system using the webinterface. You can reach the webinterface via the URL: http://<yourSystemsIP>/

In general working with the system shall be done using the webinterface, but it can be necessary to setup the basic IP-configuration via the command line so that the system will be assessable in your LAN.

For all further configuration steps I recommend to read through the wiki and tutorials available on =>

In any case of question leave my a comment or send me a mail.

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3 thoughts on “Building a NAS for home use – Part 4: Assembly

  1. Hi

    That was a brilliant guide for a newbiw like me. I’ve just setup my N54l succefully and accessing the web interface from my main desktop. Just need to understand how to configure settings and configure my two 3tb seagate drives.

    My setup is as stock with 2gb mem and 250gb plus two additional 3tb drives for seting up RAID. I’ve used a USB for Freenas.

    Looking forward to some more tweaking.

  2. Nice tutorial.
    I suppose you are using Freenas version 8, have you had the opportunity to run some performance tests?
    I see many complaints about the integrated NIC on the forums but it doesn’t seem to bother you, did you configure additional settings?

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