Debian Stretch - Poor Base System Installation Performance

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Debian Stretch - Poor Base System Installation Performance

Postby shinjiikari0601 » 2017-12-28 15:46

Hello all,

I'd like to bounce a situation off everyone, to get your input.

Trying to do a fresh install of Debian Stretch using the graphic installer. Source media is official DVD images.

First install... Used Intel software RAID, enabled dmraid when booting, and install went fine. Everything went as expected, and ran quickly.

I decided I wanted to do away with the Intel software RAID, and switch to using linux software RAID. I've used linux software RAID in past lives, but its been over a decade. Figured I'd take the opportunity to refresh my memory on linux RAID and such.

Second install.. I wiped out the Intel RAID volume, and reset all the disks to non-RAID members. Everything appears to the system as standard drives now. During the partitioning phase of the installer, I created my partitions, set up the RAID5 array, configured LVM, and created two logical volumes; one for boot and one for root (swap handled via a different array). Partitioning done, and moved on to the base system installation phase.

That's when everything started to go a bit south. The installation of the base system is absolutely crawling. Unbearably slow. At this rate, it will take days to get the base system installed, let alone the additional packages. No errors are being reported in syslog or dmsg. Tailing the logs, I see debootstrap is running clean, without any errors. And no system level errors in dmsg.

I did some research and found reports of ext4 and dpkg not playing nicely together.

It didn't 100% hold water for me, given that my first install of Debian 9 went fine, but I figured that layering ext4, on top of LVM, on top of software RAID, on top of SATA drives, perhaps caused the problem to come to light.

To test the theory, I aborted the install, restarted, and reformatted the partitions using ext3.

Same results. Dpkg is crawling. No errors. Everything is running clean, just incredibly slow. So, that sort of nixes that theory.

Has anyone ran into this before? Next troubleshooting step I have in mind is disconnecting the RAID drives, installing a new drive, and not having RAID. But that was part of the point.. To update my skillset a bit on using linux's software RAID.

Would appreciate any input.

Thanks!
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Re: Debian Stretch - Poor Base System Installation Performan

Postby dotlj » 2017-12-28 21:12

Interesting. Using dmraid or mdadm is an interesting experience. Did you read the Debian wiki? https://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/SataRaid

How did you wipe out the Intel RAID volume? When disks are set up for RAID, each disk not only has a header but also a tail with information identifying itself as RAID.
Are the disks all identified in BIOS as non hardware RAID?

Running dmraid or mdadm with lvm and ext4 is no problem, when dmraid or mdadm is set up correctly.
I'm sure that others are using something similar and may be able to provide more help.
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Re: Debian Stretch - Poor Base System Installation Performan

Postby shinjiikari0601 » 2017-12-29 00:39

Thank you for the reply.

I did read over the RAID-related pages on the Debian wiki, as I was weighing the additional steps necessary for the modern linux RAID subsystem, versus just enabling Intel array support. Lots of good information on the wiki.I also spent a lot of time on the kernel.org RAID wiki, as well as some other pages for Arch, RHEL, and Gentoo. Just comparing notes for distros I've spent time with in the past.

I left the installer alone for about six hours today, and it finally installed the base system. Everything worked fine. Course, it was the last attempt I made, so it is ext3 instead of ext4, but it is what it is. It's only a home system, so I'm not too concerned.

I'm still curious why the installer was choking, though.

To eliminate the Intel array, I went into the Intel RAID setup during the initial bootstrap, deleted the volume, and reset all disks to non-raid. The system detects all four individual 500GB drives, in BIOS, in the RAID firmware, and during the kernel initialization.

Just for giggles, I'll stand up a VM (which is the point of this box anyway) and see if I can reproduce any such issues in a virtualized environment. That would at least tie my issue to either my specific hardware configuration, or some combination of options I hit during system configuration.
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Re: Debian Stretch - Poor Base System Installation Performan

Postby p.H » 2017-12-29 12:05

Is it possible that the slowness during the installation was caused by the initial resync of the newly created RAID array ?
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