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Thread: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

  1. #1

    Default Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    Hi @ all,

    I'm trying to install Open Suse 11.1 on a HP Proliant ML 110 with a Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4 4Port SATA Controller. Suse seems to find the controller on the beginning of the install. But it finds no harddrives so I can't finish the partitioning procedure.
    There are 3 harddrives in RAID 5 pluged in.

    What is going wrong?

    Thx for your help.

    Ben

  2. #2
    Camalen NNTP User

    Default Re: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    bemar76 wrote:

    > I'm trying to install Open Suse 11.1 on a HP Proliant ML 110 with a
    > Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4 4Port SATA Controller. Suse seems to find the
    > controller on the beginning of the install. But it finds no harddrives
    > so I can't finish the partitioning procedure.
    > There are 3 harddrives in RAID 5 pluged in.
    >
    > What is going wrong?


    Most surely this is due to you are using what it's named "fake raid":

    http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Hardware/sata.html

    If still want to use the fake-raid setup, you will need to load the
    manufacturer's firmware or driver so the raid becomes "visible" to the
    system.

    Another (and -I think- better) options are:

    a) Disable bios fake-raid and use linux standard MD raid (software raid).
    Easy to manage and better performace than fake-raid.
    b) Connect a real hardware raid card. Expensive but the easiest to manage
    and the best performance.

    Greetings,

    --
    Camalen

  3. #3

    Default Re: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    Thx for that hint. I will try it.

    Ben

  4. #4

    Default Re: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    In the System BIOS the SATA Raid was already disabled. On the promise card I deleted the existing RAID 5 array. I can't configure more on the card. So all harddrives are available now to reconfigure it. But I still can't see the drives at Suse.

    But I guess when I can't use the hardware raid functionality would it be better to buy a cheap simple SATA controller and adjust the software raid with this one?

    Thx
    Ben

  5. #5
    Camalen NNTP User

    Default Re: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    bemar76 wrote:

    > In the System BIOS the SATA Raid was already disabled. On the promise
    > card I deleted the existing RAID 5 array. I can't configure more on the
    > card. So all harddrives are available now to reconfigure it. But I still
    > can't see the drives at Suse.


    None raid setup is easy to setup. Before using raid, please, be sure you
    *really* need it. I would never recommend raid for home users or home based
    installations.

    > But I guess when I can't use the hardware raid functionality would it
    > be better to buy a cheap simple SATA controller and adjust the software
    > raid with this one?


    I'll explain a bit about the different raids we can encounter today:

    a) Mainboard / chipset based faik-raid (as intel matrix raid). It is
    integrated within mainboard and all the logic is done by the operating
    system along with the drivers. You will need a driver in order to get the
    disks detected.

    b) PCI/PCI-X/PCI-e fake raid cards. Similar to the above but has a bit
    better performance. You will still require drivers to get the disks
    detected, though.

    c) Real hardware raid cards (areca, some adaptec, 3ware...). These cards
    work out-of-the-box with linux because the modules required for that raid
    to work are included in the kernel mainline. So yast partitioner sees the
    disks and detects the raid level you configured in the card's bios. These
    ones offer the best performance.

    d) Besides this, you can still use MD (linux pure softare raid) that does
    not require any raid controller nor drivers and works with any kind of
    disks (scsi, ide, sata). It is directly handled by the system (suse).

    So you have several options. Not easy, but raid is not easy, neither :-).

    I would recommend no raid (and a good backup) but if you *really need* a
    raid configuration, I would go with c) or d)... and also, a good backup ;-)

    Greetings,

    --
    Camalen

  6. #6

    Default Re: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    Thx again for your detailed answer.

    I don't need a RAID and I would have no problem to solve it by software. This server should only act as a subversion/fileserver.

    On the mainboard are also SATA Interfaces but I cant activate it in the BIOS. This is a special and known "feature" from HP (my hardware is a Proliant ML 110 server). Thank you HP for the fake interfaces.

    If this would work I guess my problem would be solved. Now I have to work with the SATA card which is already known by the system. I can see that an the beginning when Suse loads the driver "sata_sx4". But I have absolutely no idea why Suse doesn't see the harddrives.

    What do you mean with "real raid cards" on option c.)? I guess the Promisse SATA card is a real raid card because it supports raid by hardware.

    As I wrote above I deleted the RAID 5 array in the Promisse SATA card BIOS so the harddisks are freely available and there are no further options to switch RAID on or off. Currently I only want to use the sata card as harddrive controller for my three sata harddrives. I have no other chance to put this harddrives to the mainboard.

    But it seems this also won't work.

    Thx
    Ben

  7. #7
    Camalen NNTP User

    Default Re: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    bemar76 wrote:

    > Thx again for your detailed answer.
    >
    > I don't need a RAID and I would have no problem to solve it by
    > software. This server should only act as a subversion/fileserver.


    O.k. :-)

    > On the mainboard are also SATA Interfaces but I cant activate it in the
    > BIOS. This is a special and known "feature" from HP (my hardware is a
    > Proliant ML 110 server). Thank you HP for the fake interfaces.


    Carefully read the manual from you server. There must be an option to
    completely disable raid so you can use sata ports as "standard ports" (bios
    call this "achi" or just "sata"). Just review the docs of your sata
    controller bios and your motherboard bios.

    > If this would work I guess my problem would be solved. Now I have to
    > work with the SATA card which is already known by the system. I can see
    > that an the beginning when Suse loads the driver "sata_sx4". But I have
    > absolutely no idea why Suse doesn't see the harddrives.


    Just out of curiosity, where are the disks attached to, sata contoller or
    directly into the motherboard sata ports? :-?

    > What do you mean with "real raid cards" on option c.)? I guess the
    > Promisse SATA card is a real raid card because it supports raid by
    > hardware.


    Having a pci card does not mean it is a real hardware raid card. There are a
    lot of raid cards (usually low cost, that is < 300?/$) that are fake-raid
    and not hardware raid cards.

    Didn't you read the link I gave you? ;-)

    http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Hardware/sata.html#promise

    And another one:

    http://linux-ata.org/faq-sata-raid.html#sx4

    ***
    I have a Promise TX4 SATA RAID card. Why doesn't Linux support my hardware
    RAID?
    A. TX4 has "RAID5 accelerator" features, but is not full and true hardware
    RAID. TX4 can offload RAID5 XOR calculations, but typically the host CPU is
    much faster. Therefore, Linux does not use the RAID5 features of this card.
    ***

    > As I wrote above I deleted the RAID 5 array in the Promisse SATA card
    > BIOS so the harddisks are freely available and there are no further
    > options to switch RAID on or off. Currently I only want to use the sata
    > card as harddrive controller for my three sata harddrives. I have no
    > other chance to put this harddrives to the mainboard.
    >
    > But it seems this also won't work.


    Try first to disable raid *at all* from card's bios and from motherboard's
    bios. I think the card should be detected as standard sata controller.

    Do you have a link to the HP specifications page for this proliant
    sever? :-?

    Greetings,

    --
    Camalen

  8. #8

    Default Re: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    Hi,

    the harddrives are pluged into the SATA card and not into the mainboard because the SATA interfaces on the mainboard are unusable.

    I had a further look to the Promise SATA Card BIOS and thought, that I have to publish the harddrives. So I choosed the mode "JBOD" with the first harddrive in the hope the see that drive in Suse now. But no harddrive is in the list.

    Heres the HP website to the server
    HP Proliant ML 110 Server

    Greetings
    Ben

  9. #9
    Camalen NNTP User

    Default Re: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    bemar76 wrote:

    > the harddrives are pluged into the SATA card and not into the mainboard
    > because the SATA interfaces on the mainboard are unusable.


    Ask HP why is this so. Just let's figure the raid card is broken and you
    want to use the sata motherboard ports, is this not possible? :-?

    > I had a further look to the Promise SATA Card BIOS and thought, that I
    > have to publish the harddrives. So I choosed the mode "JBOD" with the
    > first harddrive in the hope the see that drive in Suse now. But no
    > harddrive is in the list.


    I have found some drivers for suse... but look at the dates, they are for
    SuSE Linux 9.1 (2004)!! That is soooo old, I think it will no work on
    modern kernels :-(

    http://www.promise.com/support/downl...&productID=108

    > Heres the HP website to the server
    > 'HP Proliant ML 110 Server' (http://tinyurl.com/mt8jvo)


    It only provides the windows drivers...

    Ask HP to get any hint of the possibilities you have to make this controller
    working under modern kernels or at least, by using the sata ports of the
    motherboard.

    Another try: open a bugzilla in openSUSE's Novell bugzilla as the card is
    not being detected while loading "sata_sx4" even with no raid setup at all.

    Greetings,

    --
    Camalen

  10. #10

    Default Re: Suse 11.1 with Promise Fasttrack S150 SX4

    Hi,

    2 hours of my life wasted to get the information, that HP used that board - design for several models but my model doesn't support the SATA ports. It's like the car industry. The most parst will be deactivated built in and for more money they will reactivate it for you ;-)

    Now I have had enough from that HP - **** and I bought a 30$ dummy noname SATA card which has actually worked perfectly with ubuntu from start up.

    Thank you very much for your time and help.

    Ben

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