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Old 08-31-2010, 02:19 PM   #1
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Question Installing CentOS 5.5 on IBM x336 Server

Hello there. I am a relative newbie to Linux (I have one Linux web server but it is a miracle I got it working) and I have purchased an IBM x336 server. The IBM website says that the server supports Linux. After doing some research, I decided to install CentOS 5.5 on this server. The goal is to use it as a internal web server for testing.

My problem lies with the installation process, for some reason Linux does not see my hard drives. The server is equipped with two 36GB hot-swappable SCSI drives. When I get to the screen to choose where to install Linux, it only gives me options to install over a network, which I cannot do, because no hard drives are shown in the list. I have looked through the BIOS but I do not see any settings that would prevent the hard drives from showing.

I have been able to boot to CentOS 5.5 using a LiveCD, but even then I still cannot access my hot-swappable SCSI drives.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have done a lot of searching on the Internet and I have yet to find anything that applies exactly to my situation.

Thank you in advance.
Old 08-31-2010, 02:55 PM   #2
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I'm not familiar with this server but I'm wondering if it has an internal SCSI RAID controller. Some servers include a SCSI controller (e.g. Adaptec) for external connections (e.g. tape drives) but have a separate RAID controller for the internal drives. If this is the case typically during the boot process you would see information about such a controller and a keystroke sequence (e.g. Ctrl-A) to get into the controller's setup. In the controller's setup you would configure the RAID level you wanted. During install the controller is what is seen and it presents the RAID set (LUN) or sets (LUNs) the OS rather than showing you the individual drives that comprise the LUN(s). (Some might allow for RAID 0 which striping so you can use all the space of both drives but have no redundancy in case of failure.) That's what I'm used to on Dell PowerEdge and (IIRC) some older IBM servers that I no longer have. Also have seen it on at least one Compaq (HP) controller.

It's also possible this setup is something done in the main setup of the system so you might explore that. Another thing the main setup often has is boot sequence (or order) that tells it what devices to try at boot up.
Old 08-31-2010, 06:17 PM   #3
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I have purchased an IBM x336 server. The IBM website says that the server supports Linux.
IBM and RedHat (essentially CentOS) HCLs don't indicate that RHEL/CentOS 5.x is supported. However 4.x and below are supported.

IBM Link

Last edited by valen_tino; 08-31-2010 at 06:19 PM.
Old 09-01-2010, 12:28 AM   #4
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Thank you valen_tino, going back to CentOS 4.8 seems to be a step in the right direction, during the install it prompts me to install drivers for my raid controller. I tried installing the IBM ServerRAID driver for each item that the CentOS 4.8 installer said it detected on my computer, but it came back later in the installation and told me "no valid devices were found on which to create new file systems." I will do some additional research to find the correct drivers to choose. Thank you for your input!

MensaWater, thank you also for your response. The problem is definitely with Linux not talking with my Raid Controller. Once I find the proper drivers to install I should be well on my way. Thanks for your input.
Old 09-06-2010, 09:00 PM   #5
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So I am an idiot...

So I am an idiot, but I wanted to post my folly anyway in the hopes that it may help someone else.

As I stated in my original post, I purchased my server on eBay and I had no experience with a rack mount server. Both hard drive lights showed steady green power lights, but my operating system could not see the drives. After fighting nearly a week, I tore apart the server out of frustration. Upon removing a server board that blocked about 1/2 of my motherboard from view, I found that the SCSI connection was loose. After pressing it firmly back into place, the Linux operating system could see my hard drives and the installation proceeded without issue.

For the record, CentOS 5.5 worked out fine and automatically detected the proper drivers for my SCSI raid. Originally I tried to go back to 4.8, but that was not necessary after all. Thank you for your assistance.


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