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Old 03-22-2005, 10:50 AM   #1
ZenDrum
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Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 7

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Booting Linux From Raid 0


I am a Linux Newbie. The distro I'm learning with is Slackware 10.1. I would like to set up my Linux Machine to run a LAN-only Unreal Tournament 2004 server. My system looks as follows:

Asus A7V266-E/AA
AMD Athlon XP 1900+
512 MB PC2100 DDR
Leadtex nVidia Geforce FX 5900 Ultra
Creative Soundblaster Live 24 bit
Promise Fasttrack TX 2000 RAID Card
2 X Maxtor 60 GB HDD IDE 133
Linksys NIC Card

Is it possible to boot Linux from a RAID 0 array?

I got Slack to install just fine using the ataraid.i kernel. The Promise card came up and ran great. The drives formated OK. I created a couple boot floppies.

But LILO won't install. It goes to the "Installing LILO" screen and sits there forever. If I hit return a couple times to stop the LILO install, then try to reboot from the HDD array, I get a "OS system error" message. However, the system will still boot from the floppy just fine.

After a lot of research and the WWW, I believe I figured out the problem - I just need confirmation and solutions.

The Promise card isn't really hardware RAID. It is a way of activating softare RAID with it's own BIOS. So, Linux can't boot from an Promise ATA RAID 0 array because the kernel is striped - it needs the kernel to "unstripe" it - sort of a "chicken or the egg" type of scenario. Is this correct?

So, is there any way of booting from a Quasi software/hardware Promise Fasttrack type RAID 0 array?

If not, an alternate solution I thought of is putting a third, small extra single hard drive I had laying around in the system, and attaching it to one of the unused motherboard IDE controllers. I would put LILO on that drive to boot from, then after boot, transfer to the RAID array. How would I set up such a system?

I greatly appreciate any help and advice.
 
Old 03-22-2005, 08:14 PM   #2
ZenDrum
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Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 7

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Booting Linux From RAID 0 Follow Up

Uhm - I haven't gotten any replies - is there any other data I can provide?

I posted here because this is my first attempt at a Linux install. Should I move this thread to the hardware forum instead?

I appreciate any help!
 
Old 03-22-2005, 08:40 PM   #3
straytech
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Registered: Sep 2003
Location: Somewhere in Canada
Distribution: Slackware, Ubuntu
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fastrack bios update? motherboard bios update? worst comes to worst, you can compile the drivers into the kernel as the source code is available for downlad.

FastTrakTX2000 BIOS 60.96KB 2.00.0.28 Windows
2002/11/13
Description
Fixes EDBA problem on some motherboards. Symptoms include not being able to boot to the boot device (floppy, CD, etc.). This symptom may be more prevalent if there is also another controller, such as a SCSI adapter, in the system.


http://www.promise.com/support/downl...0&productID=88
 
Old 03-23-2005, 07:47 AM   #4
ZenDrum
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Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 7

Original Poster
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Hello Straytech-

Thanks for the tips! I had flashed both the Promise card and the Asus MB to the latest BIOS versions a while ago. Then I had Windoze installed on this machine for a time, so I know they work. I guess that means BIOS issues aren't the problem.

I found a readme in the Promise drivers talking about kernel 2.4.x recognizing the Promise cards as regular IDE controllers, and needing an append line in lilo.conf. Has anyone done this in RAID 0? I found tons of articles about using append lines to boot RAID 1 and 5, but none about RAID 0. I'll mess with it tonight and see what happens.

I'm wondering - if the scenario in my first post about "needing the kernel to boot the kernel" is true, then how does Windoze boot from RAID 0?
 
Old 04-05-2005, 03:19 PM   #5
linuxqanda
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Registered: Apr 2005
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I am also a newbie looking for a similar answer: I found the following information online, and thought that I would share it. I haven't had a chance to test this stuff yet, but maybe this answers your questions and helps you out.

http://linux.org.mt/article/ata-raid#N10025
http://www.linux.com/howtos/ATA-RAID-HOWTO/index.shtml
 
Old 04-07-2005, 08:44 AM   #6
ZenDrum
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Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: Slackware
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Booting Linux From RAID 0

Hello Again!

straytech and linuxqanda, thank you for your responses and suggestions. linuxqanda, I looked at both of those pages, and they are both ones I tried to utilize before, with no success.

However......

I did end up getting my system to boot from RAID 0! Here's the details of all I went through to get there.

With only the two RAID 0 drives, I tried every LILO setup option I could think of. I tried the append statements in the readme file attached to the Promise drivers. Using quasi software/hardware Promise RAID, Linux just won't boot (for me at least!!!) from a RAID 0 array. I was using the ataraid.i Kernel in Slackware 10.1. I know it is the correct kernel, because if I booted from a floppy, everything worked OK.

So, I installed a third hard drive on the primary IDE channel, thinking that if I put the boot directory and the MBR with LILO on that drive, and then put the / partition on the RAID array, it would work. Even though the kernel saw the RAID array as /dev/d0, it still also saw the two RAID drives as ide e and g. LILO still crashed on install, because the ide e and g drives didn't look accessible. (they're striped, and don't work individually).

Next, tried passing the kernel options to noprobe ide e and g. Got a little closer, now I had a Kernel panic.

About this time, I realised I'd spent close to a month on this. Not a total waste of time, as I learned a lot. But still a waste somewhat.

So.......

I bought a new RAID controller. A 3Ware 7006-2. I installed it, and removed the extra boot drive I'd attached to the primary IDE. Spent 5 minutes figuring out which kernel to use in Slackware. The raid.s kernel has the latest 3Ware driver precompiled. Loaded up Slackware. It worked PERFECTLY!!!! Slack sees the 3Ware as a SCSI controller. LILO even auto installed with not a single issue. The whole system is faster, as the 3Ware is true hardware RAID, not a Ken and Barbie quasi software RAID. I am booting from RAID 0. I am happy once again!


Last edited by ZenDrum; 04-07-2005 at 08:54 AM.
 
Old 10-15-2005, 10:43 PM   #7
zbert
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Registered: Aug 2005
Location: New York
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Re: Booting Linux From RAID 0

Quote:
Originally posted by ZenDrum
I bought a new RAID controller. A 3Ware 7006-2. I installed it, and removed the extra boot drive I'd attached to the primary IDE. Spent 5 minutes figuring out which kernel to use in Slackware. The raid.s kernel has the latest 3Ware driver precompiled. Loaded up Slackware. It worked PERFECTLY!!!! Slack sees the 3Ware as a SCSI controller. LILO even auto installed with not a single issue. The whole system is faster, as the 3Ware is true hardware RAID, not a Ken and Barbie quasi software RAID. I am booting from RAID 0. I am happy once again!
This sounds good. I have been struggling like you did. I have a Promise controller on my ASUS motherboard. Are you dual booting into WinXP with this configuration? I am trying to get Fedora Core 4 up and running on RAID 0. I realize you were installing Slackware and I am hoping that FC4 has the 3Ware driver already compiled into the kernel.

--zbert
 
Old 10-16-2005, 09:08 PM   #8
ZenDrum
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Registered: Mar 2005
Distribution: Slackware
Posts: 7

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On that particular machine, I am just going into Slackware 10.1. No dual boot yet.

I don't know much about Fedora or Redhat - the raid.s kernel on Slackware is the one set up for various SCSI drives, so if there is a SCSI oriented kernel on Fedora, you might start there.

Good luck!
 
  


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