FreeBSD (or Linux) doesn't boot on a HPE ProLiant ML110 Gen10 when using "Smart Array SW RAID Support" in UEFI mode


Note: I am using FreeBSD as the operating system in the article, but the information should be generic to Linux or any non-Microsoft operating system. This should also apply to most other current HPE ProLiant servers (as of 2019) other than the MicroServer.

I recently got a Xeon 4108 HPE ProLiant ML110 Gen10 to replace my MicroServer as a home server along with two 1TB hard drives to run in ZFS RAID.

As a FreeBSD person, the natural thing for me to do when getting a new server is to install FreeBSD. So I installed FreeBSD in UEFI mode, and added a UEFI boot entry. When I rebooted, it didn’t boot FreeBSD but instead tried to boot from the network.

I did a Google search and found a PDF about HPE’s UEFI configuration). It turns out that the SATA controller on my server was set to “Smart Array SW RAID Support” by default and that is supported in Windows only. As I am using SATA and ZFS mirroring on FreeBSD, I had to set the SATA controller to AHCI mode.

To do this, first reboot your server and press F9 when offered. This will get you into the UEFI setup. If you are asked for a BIOS password, enter it.

Once you are in the UEFI setup, go to System Configuration -> BIOS/Platform Configuration (RBSU) -> Storage Options -> SATA Controller Options.

When you are on the SATA Controller Options menu, click on the Smart Array SW RAID Support in the Embedded SATA Configuration option, click on OK (it’s a warning about legacy BIOS mode that we’re not using), and select SATA AHCI Support.

Then you should save the BIOS settings and reboot. To do so, press F12 and press OK. Now, you should have [OS of your choice] booting from disk in UEFI mode on your ProLiant.