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Re: Installing Debian on a SuperMicro server

Johann Spies wrote:
> I am trying to install Debian on a SuperMicro server on two ssd's
> configured in the bios as a RAID1 (I think it is called a fake-raid).

Like Miles recommended I also recommend you avoid BIOS RAID and use
Linux md raid with mdadm instead.  I have used Supermicro servers for
years and have always done this.

> Debian Stable does not recognize the disks at all.

That sounds more like a SATA controller problem.  Or perhaps the BIOS
is not configured correctly.

> Debian Testing's installation disk picks it up as a RAID1 device (even when
> I configure it in the bios as non-raid disks) and can install up to the
> stage where grub has to be installed.  Grub does not recognise the RAID1
> device but sees the two disks separately.

When using software raid (you said "configure it in the bios as
non-raid disks") it is normal to always see two disks individually.
You should use grub to install the MBR to both disks.  It is normal at
that point to see /dev/sda and /dev/sdb as raw disks when doing the
grub install.  That is the way it works.  However the installer has
traditionally only known about the first disk and has only installed
the MBR to the first disk.  Installation to the second disk in the
raid has always required a manual installation step.

Is it possible that you rejected the configuration at that point and
didn't continue on through?  If so then that is the problem.  You
should go ahead and install grub on both /dev/sda and /dev/sdb and
continue on with the installation and reboot.

When I set up a system such as this I always test afterward that the
system can be booted from each disk individually.  Don't boot past
grub.  Just boot to grub to verify.  If you boot past grub into a
degraded raid system it will create a "split brain" problem with each
disk thinking it is newer and requiring the raid to be rebuilt

> When I open gparted in Linuxmint 17 (live imaget) it complains when the
> disks are  configured in bios as RAID1 but gparted sees the separate disks
> when it is configured as non-raid devices.

Again that is normal for parted to see the individual disks.  That is
the way software raid works.

> I am prepared to go the route of a software raid if necessary, but in the
> Debian installer that is only possible if the Debian-installer sees the
> disks as separate disks as Grub does.

If the debian-installer does not see both disks individually then that
seems like BIOS RAID was not satisfactorily disabled.  If BIOS RAID is
not active then each disk will be seen separately.  Then the
debian-installer can set up Linux kernel software raid.


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