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Old 05-01-2009, 07:08 AM   #1
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Cambridge, UK
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Question Installing Debian onto Dell PE2950/PERC6i/Intel L5410

Hello people!

I wonder if you can help...

I am going to take delivery very soon of a Dell Poweredge 2950 III server of the following spec:
  • 1x Quad Core Intel Xeon L5410, 2.33GHz CPU
  • 4GB Memory, 667MHz (2x2GB Dual Ranked FB DIMMs)
  • PERC 6/i, x6 Backplane, Integrated RAID Controller Card
  • 4x 300GB, SAS, 3.5-inch, 15K RPM Hard Drives (Hot Plug) - these will be configured as 2 separate RAID 1 (mirrored) arrays.
  • DVD+/-RW Drive, SATA
  • Two Hot Plug Power Supplies
  • Riser with PCI Express Support (2x PCIe x8 slots; 1x PCIe x4 slot)

This system is going to operate as a new mail server, taking over from a desktop-grade, Debian 3.1 box that we've been using for years, so we'd like to stay with Debian to make the move easier. Ubuntu would be the second choice, but i'd rather go with stability as opposed to latest versions, so i reckon Debian is the better choice in this case.

Anyway... some questions...

Is the latest stable Debian release actually going to install onto this hardware?

Will the RAID card be recognised and work perfectly?

If a drive dies in the array, will we be notified somehow? This, i presume, would require some software which would then rely on the drivers, so i guess this is back to the question above.

Can anyone see any potential problems with running the latest Debian on this hardware at all?

Basically... i'm going into unknown territory here, and this server needs to be built quite quickly, hence i want to be prepared!

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help!
Old 05-01-2009, 07:52 AM   #2
Registered: Apr 2003
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actually... one other question is - given that the latest stable Debian still has a 2.4 kernel, would i be better going to Ubuntu to get the 2.6 kernel for performance reasons? Or is the 2.4 kernel no slower than the 2.6 in terms of disk IO and other things generally?
Old 05-01-2009, 09:49 AM   #3
the trooper
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actually... one other question is - given that the latest stable Debian still has a 2.4 kernel
Where did you get that from?

The current kernel in Stable is 2.6.26-2.
Old 05-01-2009, 10:30 AM   #4
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the the May 2009 issue of Linux Format magazine said it had 2.4.26... i guess that's a typo! lol

So... now i know the kernel is up-to-date, does anyone know how to answer the first posting by any chance?
Old 05-04-2009, 08:57 AM   #5
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Debian should install onto that hardware just fine. consult the Dell linux Storage web page about the PERC controller.
The new PERC 5 and PERC 6 RAID controllers use SAS (Serial Attached SCSI), and a new driver, megaraid_sas. The new SAS 5 and SAS 6 non-RAID controllers use a new driver, mptsas, part of the mptfusion driver family. Both drivers are included in 2.6.x kernels

Hardware Monitoring not to mention the indicator lights on the drives themselves..
OMSA ported to Debian /

Any idea what network cards are in that box ? keep in mind the firmware for the Broadcom NetXtreme II NIC has been removed from the Debian kernel so a netinstall will fail if that is the NIC in that machine. workaround would be install from CD or DVD or insert a different NIC temporarily during install.. ref The Firmware is in the non-free repository so your sources list will need to include non-free

I'm pretty sure that is the NIC in your box..

installing the firmware is easy once you are up and running..

user@it-lenny:~$ aptitude search firmware

p   alsa-firmware-loaders    - ALSA software loaders for specific hardware                                             
p   atmel-firmware           - Firmware for Atmel at76c50x wireless networking chips.                                  
p   bluez-firmware           - Firmware for Bluetooth devices                                                          
p   dns323-firmware-tools    - build and manipulate firmware images for the DNS-323                                    
p   firmware-bnx2            - Binary firmware for Broadcom NetXtremeII                                                
p   firmware-ipw2x00         - Binary firmware for Intel Pro Wireless 2100, 2200 and 2915                              
p   firmware-iwlwifi         - Binary firmware for Intel Wireless 3945 and 4965                                        
p   firmware-qlogic          - Binary firmware for QLogic QLA2XXX                                                      
p   firmware-ralink          - Binary firmware for Ralink RT2561, RT2571, RT2661 and RT2671 wireless cards             
p   isight-firmware-tools    - tools for dealing with Apple iSight firmware                                            
p   libertas-firmware        - Firmware for Marvell's 8388 (libertas) wireless chips                                   
p   linux-wlan-ng-firmware   - firmware files used by the linux-wlan-ng driver                                         
p   midisport-firmware       - Firmware loader for M-Audio's MidiSport devices                                         
p   zd1211-firmware          - Firmware images for the zd1211 and zd1211rw wireless drivers     

user@it-lenny:~$ aptitude show firmware-bnx2
Package: firmware-bnx2
New: yes
State: not installed
Version: 0.14+lenny1
Priority: optional
Section: non-free/admin

user@it-lenny:~# aptitude install firmware-bnx2

Last edited by farslayer; 05-04-2009 at 09:13 AM.
Old 05-04-2009, 10:07 AM   #6
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At work I have a number of PE 2650s running SuSE and RedHat (even as far back as 7.3!) with PERC/5di RAID controllers. I'm sure Debian will work fine.


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