Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

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Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby KF-Dale » 2018-07-05 12:55

I have recently been trying to install Debian on a Fujitsu Primergy TX100 S3 which has an LSI MegaRAID (SW) BIOS, I successfully created the RAID array, but when in the Debian installer it cannot see the virtual disk.

Is this possibly a driver problem? Does anyone know of a possible solution to this, or alternatively is the Software RAID in the Debian installer a suitable replacement?

Using USB Drive with bootable ISO: Debian 9.4.0 AMD64 NetInst

(Mod Note: Wasn't sure which category to post this, as it fits several?)
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby GarryRicketson » 2018-07-05 13:04

Did you try any searches, ? The first hit I got in a search is this:
It appears you must configure the bios first.
https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19121-01/sf.x4240/820-2397-15/RAID-Appendix.html
Configuring LSI RAID for Any Operating System from the BIOS

If you are using an LSI 1068E host bus adapter and you want to install your OS on disks that are part of a RAID, there is an LSI RAID configuration utility that is entered from the server’s BIOS and can be used for any operating system.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby KF-Dale » 2018-07-05 13:10

GarryRicketson wrote:Did you try any searches, ? The first hit I got in a search is this:
It appears you must configure the bios first.
https://docs.oracle.com/cd/E19121-01/sf.x4240/820-2397-15/RAID-Appendix.html
Configuring LSI RAID for Any Operating System from the BIOS

If you are using an LSI 1068E host bus adapter and you want to install your OS on disks that are part of a RAID, there is an LSI RAID configuration utility that is entered from the server’s BIOS and can be used for any operating system.


Yes, I had tried searching, based on the screenshots this appears to be a different BIOS. Irrespective of this, the guide just shows how to create the virtual disk...

This part I have already done, the virtual drive exists and the array shows as online during POST, but the Debian installer can't see the VD.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby GarryRicketson » 2018-07-05 17:30

Is this possibly a driver problem?


Ok, I did some more searches, and it does look like you may need a special driver, but there really is not much info on this type of hardware and the drivers needed.
You may need some kind of Linux or Debian live, usb or cd to get the information needed to determine which driver, if there is one.
This may be of some help:
https://wiki.debian.org/HowToIdentifyADevice/PCI

Please the output of the 'lspci' command , if possible.
Code: Select all
lspci -nn


You might be able to contact Fujitsu Primergy support,they have a forum as well: https://forum.ts.fujitsu.com/forum/ and see if they have any information on the driver needed and where to get it,...this is kind of a new problem, I have never seen anything about this type of hardware on this forum
before. All though there are lots of threads where the driver is the problem, it varies depending on the hardware.
Someone else may be able to help better, I do think if you can give us the "lspci" out put, it might help, someone may know which driver, and where to get it, as well as installing it.
or alternatively is the Software RAID in the Debian installer a suitable replacement?

I don't know, I think on that you would just have to try and see if it works.
In my search, I saw that someone using CentOS had the same problem, but there was no real answer or solution, but it does show it is not just Debian
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby KF-Dale » 2018-07-06 07:58

GarryRicketson wrote:I do think if you can give us the "lspci" out put, it might help, someone may know which driver, and where to get it, as well as installing it.

So I did this as you have requested, and it does indeed list the RAID Controller, this is the excerpt:
Code: Select all
00:1f.2 RAID bus controller [0104]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family SATA RAID Controller [8086:1d04] (rev 04)

GarryRicketson wrote:In my search, I saw that someone using CentOS had the same problem, but there was no real answer or solution, but it does show it is not just Debian

CentOS is the only Linux distro that I have seen any mention of by Fujitsu whilst searching online. Call me cynical but I've avoided their support site so far as past experience has enlightened me to the fact that they tend to be a bit of a waste of time.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby KF-Dale » 2018-07-06 12:59

So I think my problem may have been a bit misguided all along. I changed the SATA Controller in BIOS to AHCI mode so the disks behave normally, booted into the Debian installer and alas I still do not see the HDDs.

Now I am a bit lost for ideas...

EDIT: Registered on the Fujitsu forum, to see if anyone can offer any further advice there... looks like the forum is still fairly well used - but waiting for admin to enable my account.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby GarryRicketson » 2018-07-06 16:33

When you created these, Did you format them ? that also could cause the installer not to see them, if they have not been properly formatted.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby KF-Dale » 2018-07-07 07:56

GarryRicketson wrote:When you created these, Did you format them ?

I am a bit new to using this RAID system but all I did was create the array, and initialize it. I didn't get far enough with any install to format the drives.

I am going to test the same config in the Windows installer to see if it is fault of the OS or if it is something else.

Will be doing this on Monday though as the Server is at the office.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby KF-Dale » 2018-07-09 06:46

So I've just run the Windows 10 installer on this system, without changing anything else and I can see the VD. It shows as "Unallocated Space" on the entire drive.

I'm going to give CentOS a try to see if that behaves any differently - then I'll report back. In the meanwhile if anyone knows an idea that may get this working I'd appreciate it as I much prefer Debian.

EDIT: Tried the CentOS install and this cannot see the drive either.

EDIT 2: I've booted in to Debian live, and run 'lsblk' and I can see the 2 raw disks that are part of the array, listed as 'sda' and 'sdb'. So I am part way to seeing the devices, but it cannot see the resultant virtual disk created as part of the RAID array.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby GarryRicketson » 2018-07-09 13:00

"Unallocated Space" indicates it has not been formatted. Usually the installer would still see it and tell you it needs to be formatted and then give you options, to use the entire drive, or advanced and set up partition size,etc...
I've booted in to Debian live, and run 'lsblk'

It would be better is you could actually show us the output, in code boxes.
But ok, Is you Debian Live a USB device ? or CD, ? Sounds like it is USB,...
EDIT: Tried the CentOS install and this cannot see the drive either.

When I did the searches, it was CentOS, that also had the same problem, and where I saw the response/reply , the answer was that they thought it needs a driver, I guess I should have saved the link, but since the OP never replied,
and there was nothing to indicate they solved it with a driver, or anything,..not much use.
Anyway, using the Debian Live, you can also run the 'lspci' command, and show us the output, as I mentioned earlier.
Does your Debian live, have Gparted on it ?, or you can use 'fdisk' as well, but is more complicated. With gparted, you can set up a partition on the "unallocated" space, and format it (maybe) .
So I've just run the Windows 10 installer on this system, without changing anything else and I can see the VD

When I looked at the Fujitsu forum, it appears most are using windows on this hardware, I did not see anything from anyone using Linux, often hardware that is designed for windows an be very problematic, but any way, that is another topic,...
I think maybe if you can manage to format the "sda", drive, the Debian installer will see it. I would use FAT32 format, but I am not any expert at all, and it is compounded since I can not actually see what is going on, also not very good at explaining thing, and not being familiar with this type of hardware.
For formatting difficult drives, I actually use a FreeDos live device I made,
but if your Debian live has gparted, that should be ok.
==== edited ===
Yes, I had tried searching, based on the screenshots this appears to be a different BIOS.

What about UEFI (if I spell it correctly), does this hard ware use that ?,... if it does, forget everything I said, and someone else will have to help you, I have zero experience with that.
When you said "different BIOS", I assumed still a Legacy Bios, if it is UEFI, that is something microsoft came up with, and I avoid any hardware that has it, however, quite often I have seen threads on this forum, where they still are able to install Debian, but someone with experience on that (if it is UEFI)would need to help you.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby KF-Dale » 2018-07-09 15:05

GarryRicketson wrote:"Unallocated Space" indicates it has not been formatted. Usually the installer would still see it

Yeah that's the point I was trying to make. But the installer cannot see the VD I created.

GarryRicketson wrote:RE: lsblk
It would be better is you could actually show us the output, in code boxes.
But ok, Is you Debian Live a USB device ?

It is a USB Device, call it madness or a blonde moment if you prefer but I could not find a way to transfer the terminal output from the server to my windows machine, apparently the file system is hidden or something on the USB drive? as I tried creating a text document (with the lspci output) but when browsing the USB drive on my desktop I couldn't find the file structure or the relevant file I created.

GarryRicketson wrote:When I did the searches, it was CentOS, that also had the same problem

The two relevant links I found are HERE and HERE - the second is the most interesting as it says something about residual metadata from creating the RAID array that causes linux not to see the VD... not sure if this is relevant though? (says about using dmraid or wipefs to clear said data)

GarryRicketson wrote:Does your Debian live, have Gparted on it ?, or you can use 'fdisk' as well, but is more complicated. With gparted, you can set up a partition on the "unallocated" space, and format it (maybe) .

I was using Debian live 9.4.0 cinnamon from the official website - should this have either gparted or fdisk? Bearing in mind that lsblk could not see the VD, only the physical underlying devices.

GarryRicketson wrote:When I looked at the Fujitsu forum, it appears most are using windows on this hardware, I did not see anything from anyone using Linux, often hardware that is designed for windows an be very problematic

Indeed a topic for another day, but yes this server natively runs windows, but I have a chopshop of hardware and built this to (hopefully) be linux capable instead.

GarryRicketson wrote:I think maybe if you can manage to format the "sda", drive, the Debian installer will see it. I would use FAT32 format

I thought linux had a different collection of filesystems that (I presume) were better than FAT/FAT32/NTFS etc...

GarryRicketson wrote:For formatting difficult drives, I actually use a FreeDos live device I made,
but if your Debian live has gparted, that should be ok.

As mentioned above, I have a live usb from the Debian website... let me know what the best course of action is.

GarryRicketson wrote:When you said "different BIOS", I assumed still a Legacy Bios

Yes still a legacy BIOS, but the UI is completely different to the screenshots in the link you provided. The setup seems a slightly different process too.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby p.H » 2018-07-09 15:14

KF-Dale wrote:I have recently been trying to install Debian on a Fujitsu Primergy TX100 S3 which has an LSI MegaRAID (SW) BIOS, I successfully created the RAID array, but when in the Debian installer it cannot see the virtual disk.

FakeRAID (pseudo-hardware RAID) require to pass the dmraid=1 option to the installer command line. See https://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/SataRaid

KF-Dale wrote: is the Software RAID in the Debian installer a suitable replacement?

Native Linux software RAID is a better replacement in most cases. It is portable, so if your motherboard dies you can move the disks to a new one of any brand and model.
Also, FakeRAID support can be flaky.

KF-Dale wrote:00:1f.2 RAID bus controller [0104]: Intel Corporation 6 Series/C200 Series Chipset Family SATA RAID Controller [8086:1d04] (rev 04)

This is an Intel SATA controller in RAID mode, not an LSI MegaRAID controller.
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby KF-Dale » 2018-07-09 15:44

p.H wrote:FakeRAID (pseudo-hardware RAID) require to pass the dmraid=1 option to the installer command line. See https://wiki.debian.org/DebianInstaller/SataRaid

So this could be where the core of my issue lies?

p.H wrote:Native Linux software RAID is a better replacement in most cases. It is portable, so if your motherboard dies you can move the disks to a new one of any brand and model.
Also, FakeRAID support can be flaky.

That was my thought process also, and I am tempted to switch over to using this method irrespective of the BIOS support for such.

p.H wrote:This is an Intel SATA controller in RAID mode, not an LSI MegaRAID controller.

I did wonder myself if this was the relevant device... because all the research I had done on the LSI MegaRAID controller definitely did not link back to Intel... maybe I'm spending too much time on this - I can't think straight. :? :? :?
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby GarryRicketson » 2018-07-09 17:27

This could get confusing, there are several things going on here that lead to other topics, and combined with my lack of explanation skill, and also knowledge. I am glad to see p.H jump in,...that will be of great help.
But anyway,..
KF-Dale >It is a USB Device, call it madness or a blonde moment if you prefer but I could not find a way to transfer the terminal output from the server to my windows machine,

I guessed that, because the 'lsblk' output included "sdb",... ok, and no it is not madness nor a hair colour thing. Mostly just a lack of experience , or not knowing some things, but that is ok, once you finish this project, you probably will learn a whole lot of new things (tricks maybe).
====
Hopefully you have more then 1 usb slot, so you can plug in another usb stick,
it should be formatted, with fat file system, both windows and linux can read/write to that.
I thought linux had a different collection of filesystems that (I presume) were better than FAT/FAT32/NTFS etc

Yes this is true, but both Windows and Linux, can read/write to a fat partition,
Linux uses ext2, 3, 4: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File_system#Linux
Linux
Linux supports numerous file systems, but common choices for the system disk on a block device include the ext* family (ext2, ext3 and ext4), XFS, JFS, ReiserFS and btrfs. For raw flash without a flash translation layer (FTL) or Memory Technology Device (MTD), there are UBIFS, JFFS2 and YAFFS, among others. SquashFS is a common compressed read-only file system.

I am not all that sure about windows, I never have really used it, but my kid did have it, and we had the same problem, the usb sticks I made on Linux, could not be read/written to by the windows system, when we started using
fat formatted devices, it could read them. Like wise, I use OpenBsd now, and I
could not read the usb devices that were linux, when I created a fat formatted partition, I can access that even with OpenBsd, and vice verse, as long as I write to the fat formatted partition, it can be read/write by liunx as well.
==============================
Ok, back to the topic,
but I could not find a way to transfer the terminal output from the server to my windows machine,

Format another usb stick, with fat file system, plug it in, use 'lsblk' to see if it shows, it should. You will need to mount it, Make a directory, name it anything you want, in my example I name the dir "files"
You can direct the output to a device, and/or directory like this:
Code: Select all
 lsblk > /dev/sdb/files/lsblk.txt

This should put the output of the lsblk into a file named "lsblk.txt"
on the device that is sdb, in the directory "files",
note: use the lsblk command, first to determine, if it is sdb, it may be sdc,
your Debian Live usb stick probably is not writeable, what they call "persistant", the blank one you make , to transfer output to, needs to be writeable, "non-persitant",... you may have to do some searches, and read some material to understand this better.
So any way, a second example, for the lspci output:
Something like,
Code: Select all
lspci -nn > /dev/sdx/files/lspci.txt

The x would be replaced with the appropriate letter/number,...
You will need something with the utilities or tools, to format the usb stick,
I do not know if windows has those tools, if Gparted is not available, fdisk should be but you also need 'mkfs', there are many tutorials with more details
online, here are a couple:
https://www.redips.net/linux/create-fat32-usb-drive/
===============
https://www.garron.me/en/go2linux/format-usb-drive-fat32-file-system-ubuntu-linux.html
A search will show even more.


I was using Debian live 9.4.0 cinnamon from the official website - should this have either gparted or fdisk? Bearing in mind that lsblk could not see the VD, only the physical underlying devices.

Yes it should have both, I am not at all familiar with "cinnamon",
oops, maybe it doesn't,keywords: "Does Debian 9 with cinnamon DE include gparted", was 2 years ago, https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=812358, also not really a bug, but am not sure if anything has changed.
I think maybe you should look into making or downloading some kind of
Live repair , or rescue system, I use a older version of Debian (Debian 6, with Gnome,but that is no longer easily available), or like I said, one that I made with FreeDos, but that does not have gparted. You can do some searches, there are many rescue/repair live CD images, that can also be used on USB devices, "Hirens Boot CD", has a wide range of tools, can be installed on a usb device,
copy paste "hirens boot cd" into any search engine, and you will find downloads but any way, that kind of is a whole other topic,...

I would think it (the Debian live CD) has fdisk, but things with Debian have changed so much recently, in the last couple of years, I am really not sure any more.
My Debian 7, (wheezy), a base system, has fdisk and mkfs on it by default,...I would think they still include those even on a live image, they are a rather essential utilities/tools

But who knows for sure, recently we had a user ask about a so called Debian distribution, and it did not even include the 'man' command for manual pages,
and later some one commented that their Debian version does not even have the 'help' command, my Debian 7 (wheezy) does have that as well,..depressing the changes Debian is going through, but that would be another topic.
For now that is all, sorry for being "long winded",
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Re: Trying to install on LSI RAID on TX100 S3

Postby KF-Dale » 2018-07-09 19:12

GarryRicketson wrote:I am glad to see p.H jump in,..

The more the merrier that can help, I'm all for it...

GarryRicketson wrote:because the 'lsblk' output included "sdb",... ok, and no it is not madness nor a hair colour thing. Mostly just a lack of experience , or not knowing some things, but that is ok, once you finish this project, you probably will learn a whole lot of new things (tricks maybe).

The 'sda' and 'sdb' devices were the HDDs in the server, though yes the USB device was listed also, I didn't see it relevant to mention this. What I will point out is that when running both the Debian and CentOS installers, they both saw the USB drive as an install location, but as I said not the VD.
Learning is part of why I'm doing this... you ask a question about windows in any flavour I can probably help, but I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to linux - I've dabbled in it before, but never really took a lot of time to understand it.

GarryRicketson wrote:Hopefully you have more then 1 usb slot, so you can plug in another usb stick,

I have several free, and I'm sure I can commandeer another USB stick for this pet project... though it really is beginning to consume a lot of my time now...

GarryRicketson wrote:Windows and Linux, can read/write to a fat partition, [...] I am not all that sure about windows, I never have really used it,



GarryRicketson wrote:You will need to mount it, Make a directory

Well if I don't ask I won't learn... how do I mount it?

GarryRicketson wrote:your Debian Live usb stick probably is not writeable, what they call "persistant", the blank one you make , to transfer output to, needs to be writeable, "non-persitant",... you may have to do some searches, and read some material to understand this better.

After reading what you put above, in particular the excerpt about 'SquashFS', I'm sure I saw files on the USB stick I created with this file extension... that'd explain a lot.

GarryRicketson wrote:I do not know if windows has those tools,

Windows has built-in support for formatting drives to variants of FAT, and the NTFS filesystems... a bitesize piece of info for you if people ask: All they need to do is go to 'Computer' or 'My Computer' and right click the drive, click 'Format...' and they will have a few options on-screen.

GarryRicketson wrote:if Gparted is not available, fdisk should be but you also need 'mkfs'

Are you saying this only relevant to formatting as FAT, or for (hopefully) formatting the VD created by the RAID Controller? If the latter, can you advise how I use these commands to format - not that I can even get linux to see the VD at this point that is...

GarryRicketson wrote: making or downloading some kind of Live repair , or rescue system

My repair kit of favour is Gandalf, but this is based on WinPE... I think Hirens is also though? Although this is a spiritual successor as the original Hirens is abandoned.
I could make something with THIS TOOL instead though I guess?

=====
In summary I need to:
  • Format a USB with a live linux environment... perhaps even just Debian Live CD.
  • Format another USB with an empty FAT32 partition.
  • Run lspci and lsblk and pipe output to the second USB.
  • Hopefully (with answers to the above) attempt formatting the VD.

With all of the above being said though, I am now wondering if the Software RAID in the Debian installer might be a better route... the hardware I am using is old and has no warranty but I want to run it the fastest method possible... noting here that this server will not be responsible for anything critical, it will run a database server but this will be backed up regularly.
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