M.2 NVMe SSD Installation

The Netgate® 8300 ships with one PCIe-based M.2 NVMe SSD. Optionally, a second PCIe-based M.2 NVMe drive can be installed as an upgrade.

Note

This guide assumes a second disk is being added for redundancy via ZFS mirroring.

Warnings and Precautions

Danger

Anti-static protection must be used throughout this procedure.

Warning

pfSense® Plus software must be reinstalled using a ZFS mirror configuration to use a second M.2 NVMe SSD for redundancy.

Warning

The Netgate 8300 only supports PCIe-based M.2 NVMe storage devices. It does not support M.2 SATA devices.

Danger

Take all appropriate precautions and exercise care when handling the exposed system board and M.2 cards. There are many delicate components which can be damaged during this process. Damage caused via physical contact and electrostatic discharge while performing this installation is not covered by the warranty.

Warning

This device includes an intrusion detection sensor which operates even when the device is without power.

Opening the case on this device triggers an intrusion alarm which is logged by the BMC and is visible in the IPMI sensors. This alarm must be reset manually as described in Re-arm the Chassis Intrusion Switch.

When the intrusion alarm is active the fans run at a fixed speed of around 8500 RPM. Resetting the intrusion sensor alarm returns the fans to their profiled speed.

Required Tools and Hardware

Installing an M.2 NVMe SSD in the Netgate 8300 requires the following tools and hardware:

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Anti-static grounding strap and anti-static mat for handling bare M.2 card and 8300 system

  • 1 x PCIe-based M.2 NVMe SSD, 2280 or 2242 size, B+M-key or M-key card

See also

The M.2 slot accepts both 2280 and 2242 size cards, but the device ships with the retaining clip set for a 2280 size card by default. This clip can easily be moved to accommodate a 2242 card without any tools.

Installation Procedure

The installation procedure has many steps which are broken down into related groups in the remainder of this document. Follow all steps in the procedure carefully.

Take a Backup

If the system contains an existing configuration which should be carried over to the new installation, then the first step is to take a backup of that configuration.

If the existing configuration is not necessary, this section may be skipped.

There are numerous backup options covered in the pfSense software documentation section on Backup and Restore.

For the purposes of reinstalling and restoring, the easiest method is to take a local backup.

Download the Installer

Before proceeding further, download a copy of the Netgate Installer amd64 memstick image using a Netgate Store Account and write the installer to a USB memstick. For details, see Reinstalling pfSense Plus Software.

Power Off and Disconnect

Installing the SSD requires removing the top of the case to expose the internal components. For safety, before opening the case, the Netgate 8300 must be completely disconnected from everything. This includes power, network cables, USB cables, serial console cables, and any other external cables or devices connected to the Netgate 8300.

Danger

Reminder:

  • Anti-static protection must be used throughout this procedure.

  • Any hardware damage incurred during this procedure is not covered by the hardware warranty.

  1. Turn power off to the unit by changing the power switch on the rear of the unit to the off position.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-power-switch.jpg

    Power switch (circled) in the off position

  2. Unplug the power cables from all installed power supply units (PSUs).

    ../_images/netgate-8300-power-cables.jpg

    Power Supply Units with power receptacles circled and status LEDs indicated with arrows

    Danger

    Wait at least 60 seconds after unplugging power to proceed. This ensures that all phantom power has dissipated.

    The LED indicator on all installed PSUs should be off before proceeding.

  3. Unplug all network cables, USB cables and devices, serial console connections, etc.

  4. Dismount the Netgate 8300 from the rack

  5. Move the Netgate 8300 to a safe work location such as an anti-static mat

Removing the Lid

The next portion of the procedure involves opening the device and removing the lid.

Danger

Reminder:

  • Anti-static protection must be used throughout this procedure.

  • Any hardware damage incurred during this procedure is not covered by the hardware warranty.

  1. Remove the screws from the top of the case near the front of the unit using the Phillips head screwdriver.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-top-screws.jpg

    Screws on the top of the cover at the front of the unit, indicated with arrows

  2. Remove the screw from the rear side of the unit at the top left corner using the Phillips head screwdriver.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-rear-left-screw.jpg

    Screw on the rear side of the unit at the left top corner, indicated with an arrow.

  3. Remove the screw from the rear side of the unit at the top right corner using the Phillips head screwdriver.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-rear-right-screw.jpg

    Screw on the rear side of the unit at the right top corner, indicated with an arrow.

  4. Slide the top cover back away from the front panel until it stops.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-cover-slide-notch.jpg

    Sliding back the top cover away from the front panel

  5. Lift off the top cover and set it aside, keeping it upright to avoid damaging the top surface.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-cover-remove.jpg

    Top cover in position to be lifted off

Move the Fan Duct

The M.2 NVMe riser card is located under the fan duct. This duct can be moved out of the way sufficiently enough to access the riser without completely removing it from the case.

Danger

Reminder:

  • Anti-static protection must be used throughout this procedure.

  • Any hardware damage incurred during this procedure is not covered by the hardware warranty.

  1. Remove the screw retaining the side of the fan duct nearest to the PSU cages using the Phillips head screwdriver.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-fan-duct-screw.jpg

    Screw holding the fan duct in place, indicated with an arrow

  2. Gently lift the side of the fan duct up and out of the way

    ../_images/netgate-8300-fan-duct-lifted.jpg

    Fan duct lifted out of the way to access the M.2 NVMe riser

Remove the M.2 NVMe Riser Card

The M.2 NVMe drives are located on a riser card near the PSU cages. This card must be removed to safely access the SSDs.

Danger

Reminder:

  • Anti-static protection must be used throughout this procedure.

  • Any hardware damage incurred during this procedure is not covered by the hardware warranty.

  1. Locate the M.2 NVMe riser card

    ../_images/netgate-8300-nvme-riser-clips-closed.jpg

    M.2 NVMe riser card clips (circled) in the closed position

  2. Lift both retaining clips holding the riser card in place to release the card

    ../_images/netgate-8300-nvme-riser-clips-open.jpg

    M.2 NVMe riser card clips in the open position

  3. Remove the riser card and set it aside

    ../_images/netgate-8300-nvme-riser-slot-1-full.jpg

    M.2 NVMe riser card slot 1 with the stock SSD installed

Install the SSD

With the riser card removed, it is time to install the SSD.

Danger

Reminder:

  • Anti-static protection must be used throughout this procedure.

  • Any hardware damage incurred during this procedure is not covered by the hardware warranty.

  1. Turn the riser card over so the second M.2 slot is visible.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-nvme-riser-slot-2-empty.jpg

    M.2 NVMe riser card slot 2 (empty) and add-on M.2 NVMe SSD before install

    Note

    As mentioned earlier in this document, the Netgate 8300 currently supports M.2 B+M-Key or M-Key PCIe NVMe SSDs in 2280 or 2242 sizes.

  2. Move the retainer clip to match the SSD size being installed.

    The M.2 slot accepts both 2280 and 2242 size cards, but the device ships with the retaining clip set for a 2280 size card by default.

    This clip can easily be moved to accommodate a 2242 card without any tools.

    If the card being installed is a 2280 size card, these steps are unnecessary.

    1. Rotate the retaining clip 90 degrees counterclockwise to release it.

    2. Lift the retaining clip away from the riser.

    3. Insert the retaining clip in the 2242 position hole outlined in white on the riser.

    4. Rotate the retaining clip 90 degrees clockwise to lock it in place.

  3. Insert the M.2 card into the empty socket at an approximate 30° angle

    Warning

    M.2 cards are keyed. Do not force an M.2 card into a slot with mismatched keying.

    Refer to M.2 Edge Connector Keying for a depiction of the different M.2 key types.

  4. Gently push down the M.2 NMVe card until it snaps into place against the retaining clip.

    There should be an audible “snap” sound as the retaining clip locks the drive into position.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-nvme-riser-slot-2-full.jpg

    M.2 NVMe riser card slot 2 with the add-on SSD installed

    Danger

    Ensure that the retaining clip is fully engaged to avoid damaging the SSD!

    ../_images/netgate-8300-nvme-riser-m2-clip.jpg

    Close-up view of the M.2 retaining clip for slot 2 with the SSD secured

Replace the M.2 NVMe Riser Card and Fan Duct

With the new SSD installed, replace the riser card.

Danger

Reminder:

  • Anti-static protection must be used throughout this procedure.

  • Any hardware damage incurred during this procedure is not covered by the hardware warranty.

  1. Insert the riser card back into its slot on the motherboard

    ../_images/netgate-8300-nvme-riser-replace.jpg

    Replacing the M.2 riser card

  2. Close the retaining clips to secure the riser card.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-nvme-riser-clips-reclosed.jpg

    M.2 riser card with two SSDs and riser clips in the closed position

  3. Move the fan duct back to its original location.

  4. Secure the fan duct with its screw using the Phillips head screwdriver.

Replacing and Fastening the Lid

With the internal components all in place, the next step is to replace the lid and all its fasteners.

Danger

Reminder:

  • Anti-static protection must be used throughout this procedure.

  • Any hardware damage incurred during this procedure is not covered by the hardware warranty.

  1. Align the top cover with the top of the unit, a short distance behind the front panel.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-cover-remove.jpg

    Top cover in position to be replaced

  2. Slide the top cover toward the front of the unit into its closed position.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-cover-slide-notch.jpg

    Slide the top cover back toward the front panel

# Replace the screws on the rear of the unit (left and right top corners) using

the Phillips head screwdriver.

../_images/netgate-8300-rear-left-screw.jpg

Screw on the rear side of the unit at the left top corner, indicated with an arrow.

../_images/netgate-8300-rear-right-screw.jpg

Screw on the rear side of the unit at the right top corner, indicated with an arrow.

# Replace the screws on the top of the unit using the Phillips head screwdriver.

../_images/netgate-8300-top-screws.jpg

Screws on the top of the cover at the front of the unit, indicated with arrows

Reconnect

The device is now ready to be put back into its former location.

  1. Mount the Netgate 8300 in the rack

  2. Plug in all network cables, USB cables and devices, serial console connections, etc.

  3. Insert the USB memstick containing the installation media

  4. Plug the power cables into all installed power supply units.

    ../_images/netgate-8300-power-cables.jpg

    Power Supply Units with power receptacles circled and status LEDs indicated with arrows

  5. Turn power on to the unit by changing the power switch on the rear of the unit to the on position.

  6. Reconnect to the serial console

Reinstall pfSense Plus Software

With the device back together and ready to proceed, the next step is to reinstall pfSense Plus software to the SSD. This procedure is covered in detail in Reinstalling pfSense Plus Software.

Note

When prompted to select a ZFS Configuration during the installation, choose mirror.

When prompted for drives, select both NVMe drives, which will be nda0 and nda1.

The installer may select these drives automatically, but double check to be certain the selection is correct.

If there is no backup to restore, then no further steps are necessary. Login to the firewall and configure it as normal (Initial Configuration).

Restore the Configuration

If a configuration was backed up earlier in this procedure, now is the time to restore it using the GUI or one of the other methods mentioned in the pfSense software documentation section on Backup and Restore.

Re-arm the Intrusion Sensor

Opening the case to install the new drive will have triggered the intrusion alarm sensor, even when the device was removed from power. The intrusion alarm causes the fans to run at a higher fixed speed until the sensor is re-armed.

Once pfSense software is up and running, follow the procedure in Re-arm the Chassis Intrusion Switch to reset the sensor.