HowTo installing Fedora 16 on a software RAID

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Hardware IBM x346 Server

The IBM x346 Server come with two RAID solutions, IBM ServeRAID-7k and the SCSI Adapter also supports a minimum of RAID functionality.

IBM ServeRAID-7k is a RAID solution delivered by IBM. I am not sure if this is a HW or SW solution, but I tend to think the second based on what I have read on the internet. The RAID can be managed using a configuration CD freely available on the internet. However this is cumbersome. I do not intend to stop my server when exchanging a hot swap SCSI drive.

Adaptec host RAID is a software RAID solution, combining a minimal BIOS support that allows the controller to mirror drives. Once the OS (Windows or Linux) booted, the RAID function is carried on by the OS kernel in software. The BIOS part will disable itself. Since the software support over dmraid in Linux is not complete, I do not recommend using dmraid together with the Adaptec controller. The worst problem that I encountered was that a drive removal was not recognized, this is for me a no go.

So I decided to disable both and install the Software RAID that comes standard with Linux. I work with it for some time now and this is a very mature and reliable implementation.

IBM ServeRAID-7k

In order to disable the IBM RAID it is required to remove the RAID Card physically from the system. This is very simple, can be accomplished with no tools at all. Check the xSeries 346 Types 8840 and 1880: Hardware Maintenance Manual from IBM. On page 31, Working with adapters is described how to install/remove the ServeRAID-7k card.

  • Open the main enclosure
  • Open the PCI adapter cage
  • Release the clips retaining the card
  • Remove the card
  • Close the PCI adapter cage, close the main enclosure

Note: If the link will not be available, search after the filename "25k8115.pdf" on google, there should be enough references.

Adaptec Host RAID

The Adaptec HOST RAID needs to be disabled. This is accomplished by

  • boot the system
  • press Ctrl+A when the Adaptec controler boots
  • Disable the host RAID

Starting the installation

Parameters for the anaconda installer

Installation process