[CentOS] 4.4/64-bit Supermicro/ Nvidia Sata RAID Driver

Tue Dec 5 05:26:14 UTC 2006
Aleksandar Milivojevic <alex at milivojevic.org>

Karl R. Balsmeier wrote:
> Hi,
> I am installing Centos ServerCD 4.4 64-bit on a new Supermicro board,
> the RAID BIOS looks fine, RAID 5, all 4 Seagate ES 250 GB drives show up
> as a single array in the RAID BIOS tool, and the OS install phase
> completes without a hitch.

As others pointed out, the hardware you have has no RAID controller.
It's just fake-RAID BIOS thing.  Linux sees your hardware as what it
really is.  An ordinary SATA controller with 4 individual drives
attached to it.  That's why it loads sata_nv driver (which is correct
driver for your hardware).

The reason why booting fails is most likely due to the fact that your
BIOS is attempting to emulate (in software) RAID-5 volume when loading
boot loader, kernel and initrd image.  While in reality those are
probably stored on your first drive.

Simply disable fake-RAID in BIOS.  You might not even need to reinstall.

If you choose to reinstall, and want everything on RAID-5:

- disable fake-RAID in BIOS (let it be what it is, SATA controller with
4 individual drives)
- create two small partitions (around 100MB) on first two drives.
Configure them as Linux software RAID-1.  Use it as /boot
- use remaining space on all four drives as one big partition, create
Linux software RAID-5, use that as physical volume, carve logical
volumes for rest of your system out of it.

There's also a project that uses device-mapper and an user space utility
to support fake-RAID functionality in BIOS.  Basically, the user space
utility reads out fake-RAID metadata and configures device mapper.
However, this is still not something you would get working out of the
box.  You'd need to manually hack scripts in initrd image and add user
space utility to it.  Also, I don't think it would work with RAID-5.
RAID-0, RAID-1, RAID-10 configurations might work.

> bonus/ p.s. -anyone had any experience with the Nvidia onboard RAID/
> Supermicros?  Did you like it, (I'm an LSI-Logic fan myself), just
> looking for opinions...

Well.  It is not RAID.  Just an ordinary SATA controller.  See above.

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