Preparing for the Azure Stack – Part 2


Continuing on from the previous article.. 

I carefully inserted the PowerEdge M910.

So that’s where I left off.  Jumping straight in, I powered up the enclosure to be greeted with errors.  So it turns out that any blade inserted needs its mezzanine cards to be aligned (slotted) to the chassis data fibre channel configuration.  The M910 had fibre cards aligned for the “B” slot, but I had ethernet brocade cards in the “B” channel, so I had to open the M910 to rearrange the mezzanine cards to match the chassis.

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Blade I/O Fabric cards must match the enclosure’s configuration

This done, I was able to successfully boot the blade. 

Problem now was how to install an operating system.  It turns out the M910 had no on-board storage, and despite the presence of SAS connectors in the hot swappable drive bays, it turns out that this particular blade had no RAID card installed.  Luckily for me the M600 which came with the enclosure I’d bought had two SAS disks and the requisite RAID card, so I pulled both blades out, removed the appropriate cards and pulled out the motherboards to do the switcheroo.

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iDRAC showing the two running blades

Booting up the M910 a third time, and success – local disk.  Using iDRAC, I attached to the virtual console and enabled local media.  From here, I was able to start the Windows installer and installed the OS onto the (now) on-board 136GB SAS disk.  Once the OS was installed, the rest was child’s play.  There was one obstacle though, I needed to come up with a solution to disk storage issues – most Dell enclosures are designed to consume storage requirements by the usage of a Storage Area Network (SAN) or Network Attached Storage (NAS) through iScsi (ethernet) or Fibre.

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Successfully running Windows Server 2016 Datacentre Edition – Preview 4

I was faced with a challenge – the current Azure Stack preview does not (officially) support iScsi disk.  The next article will explain how I worked around this restriction.

This is a somewhat light summary of the hours of effort I put into getting this configuration working.  However, I learned a lot, and I think the time and effort spent was worthwhile.  My next article will document how I managed to get the Azure Stack successfully installed.


About Rob Sanders

IT Professional and TOGAF 9 certified architect with nearly two decades of industry experience, 18 years in commercial software development and 11 years in IT consulting. Check out the "About Rob" page for more information.

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