[GLLUG] RAID1 and Debian 7.2.0 installer

Chris Bell chrisbell at chrisbell.org.uk
Mon Oct 14 23:42:21 UTC 2013

On Mon 14 Oct, John Edwards wrote:
> BOn Mon, Oct 14, 2013 at 10:24:29AM +0000, Chris Bell wrote:
> > Hello,
> >    I have been trying to install Debian 7.2.0 to a Pentium 4 32-bit box with
> > a pair of 3TB discs configured with all RAID1 partitions.
> The first thing to check is whether a machine that old can detect the
> 3TB disks correctly. Then check whether the 3TB disks are partitioned
> using the DOS style partitions or the newer GPT partitions.

   It is an IBM "eserver". Its setup shows the disc labels and capacity
correctly, although I suppose that may not show that it will detect the
discs correctly. Perhaps I should do a test with single non-RAID partitions.
   The first attempt at installation did not throw up any other problems,
although I did not attempt to copy any data or files to the larger /serv

> > There is a line included in the raid
> > set-up to enable booting which does not appear to do anything except make
> > the screen flash.
> What do you mean? I've never seen such a line needed in the mdadm.conf
> (Linux software RAID configuration file). I would have thought that
> the choice of which partition to boot from would be purely the
> decision of the boot loader GRUB.

   Debian uses parted, and the normal sequence is to create each partition,
enter a name for each partition, define the intended use (including ext4,
swap, or container for software RAID), and set the bootable flags. The
"bootable" line disappears if swap is selected, but remained stuck at not
bootable if RAID is the intended use.

   The next step is to select the partitions to be included in each RAID
group and specify the RAID type.

   The final details of remaining individual and RAID partitions are then
entered, but the bootable line does not appear.

> > What do I need to do? Should I just try to cofigure the
> > RAID using an alternative installer? Should I insert an old IDE PATA disc
> > just to run GRUB2 from a bootable minimal installation? Thanks.
> > 
> > Bootable Partition 1 66GB RAID1 / 
> > Bootable Partition 2 66GB RAID1 unused, for future use as alternate / 
> > Bootable Partition 3 66GB RAID1 unused, for future use as alternate / 
> >          Partition 4 16GB RAID1 swap
> >          Partition 5 rest RAID1 /serv
> Does booting a Debian CD is rescue mode help in booting the system, or
> at least get some data about the disks and partition layout?
> The output of 'parted /dev/sda print' (as root or sudo) will give
> full details of the partitions and which type they are.

   Not tried yet, ran out of time today. The basic idea was to allow /serv
to be accessible from a totally new software version. Another box with a
couple of 2TB discs but no spare partitions is in continuous use, and is
overdue for re-installation, so I hope to use the new box as at least part
replacement. I also intend to change some UPS batteries as my mains supply
is not reliable. 

Chris Bell www.chrisbell.org.uk
Microsoft sells you Windows ... Linux gives you the whole house.

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