TYAN 8-core dual boot with Win2003Server?

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Gribok
Posts: 19
Joined: 2006/03/10 01:41:44
Location: Washington, DC

Re: TYAN 8-core dual boot with Win2003Server?

Post by Gribok » 2006/07/11 20:58:39

You can definitely use two drives with windows and two other drives with Linux. Doing software raid is pretty easy during installation. Just use the graphical installer and do manual partitioning. For each partition you want to be raid1 you need to create a partition on each of the two drives of type raid and then create a raid device using the two raid partitions. I hope that makes sense. The only thing that I would suggest is what I said earlier in this thread about installing the bootloader not in MBR (Master Boot Record), but on the Linux partition, and then creating a bootable floppy. This way you don't touch the windows boot environment.

As for true Hardware-RAID cards, be careful about the cheaper ones. Even if it says it's hardware raid, that may not be the case. Some of the cheaper cards do exactly the same thing as your onboard solution, the raid information is calculated using the CPU through a driver that's supported under windows only. Such a card can still be used, just with software raid, meaning the drives on the raid card will be seen as normal separate drives even if you have set them up as one raid device in the card's bios.

The only manufacturer that I can recommend is 3ware. We use their cards in our company on CentOS servers exclusively and have not had any problems. I've installed the 2-port, 4-port and 8-port versions of their SATA raid cards and I absolutely love them. The 8-port cards that I have are part of a 9TB logical volume, serving about 50-60 windows machine using Samba. The controller that I would recommend is the "3ware 9550SX-4LP" and goes for about $319. It's a very nice 64-bit PCI-X card that works perfectly with CentOS 4.

As for accessing your existing windows drives, I'm not sure that you can do that with mdadm. I know that when you setup software raid it writes some meta data to each drive and it's possible that you would overwrite something already on the drives, but I really don't know.

PattiMS
Posts: 14
Joined: 2006/06/19 15:51:08

Re: TYAN 8-core dual boot with Win2003Server?

Post by PattiMS » 2006/07/11 22:02:25

I think I understand that I have to create two type RAID partitions, then create the array - I guess I need the boot floppy since the BIOS won't see it as an array - the floppy will load the CentOS RAID driver.

It sounds safest to set up booting as you suggest. I recall seeing an option during installation of some distro or other to put the loader either in the MBR or on a partition. So, in this case, you're saying I should opt to put the bootloader (is that GRUB?) on the CentOS RAID partition (I believe). But since that RAID drive is not set bootable (although I think I can put it in the boot sequence but it wouldn't have the CentOS driver) I need some sort of boot floppy. I remember how to do that for DOS and Windoz, but I've never done it for *nix. I assume it's sort of similar, and maybe the installation utility will give me the option to create a boot floppy if I install GRUB on a partition (instead of MBR). Wouldn't that be nice? ;-)

I'm a little fuzzy on things like where the SATA controller's job stops and the BIOS picks up and then stops so the OS can pick up... I just was getting rid of an array and had to fiddle with the BIOS, the nVidia Nforce RAID BIOS, *and* the OS... they all interact.

Thank you very much for the help. :-D

PattiMS
Posts: 14
Joined: 2006/06/19 15:51:08

Re: TYAN 8-core dual boot with Win2003Server?

Post by PattiMS » 2006/07/12 16:49:52

Since I initialized and formatted those two extra drives I'm going to use for the CentOS RAID installation, Win2003 will be confused after the install. Hopefully WIn will handle the sudden disappearance of those drives gracefully! I was thinking maybe I should have left them uninitialized so Win didn't assign drive letters...

Here goes... (taking a deep breath) :-x

PattiMS
Posts: 14
Joined: 2006/06/19 15:51:08

Re: TYAN 8-core dual boot with Win2003Server?

Post by PattiMS » 2006/07/13 00:21:11

OK - it seemed to go OK - *but* in trying to figure out how to make a boot floppy, I realized that the floppy won't have the CentOS software RAID drivers on it to recognize RAID1 array it's installed on... :-? . o O (deep in thought...)

At least I didn't mess up the Win2003Server installation... but if I ever try to view the contents of those drives which CentOS is installed on, won't Win automatically write something there even though they're ext3? I'd like to make my Windows installation think that they're read-only devices, but I don't know how to do that...

PattiMS
Posts: 14
Joined: 2006/06/19 15:51:08

Re: TYAN 8-core dual boot with Win2003Server?

Post by PattiMS » 2006/07/14 00:36:24

Well, I'm still struggling with this. I've installed CentOS twice, but it never gets booted and the problem appears to be that there's nowhere to put the bootloader.

The first two drives are RAID 1 for Win2003Server, using FakeRaid - so bootloader can't go there because anaconda doesn't see them as a RAID array.

The next two drives I specify in anaconda as a software RAID, but the BIOS doesn't see them as a single RAID drive during boot, that so the bootloader can't go there either.

I made a GRUB.iso disk and a boot floppy but they see neither RAID... :-( :-(

PattiMS
Posts: 14
Joined: 2006/06/19 15:51:08

Re: TYAN 8-core dual boot with Win2003Server?

Post by PattiMS » 2006/07/25 19:14:42

E: (hdc) and F: (hdd) are seen as a single drive because of BIOS RAID and has Win2003Server installed on that RAID partition, which Windows sees as C: even though it's hdc+hdd in Linux. hda was repartitioned so there is a \boot partition in the first sector of the drive (tried installing it in the MBR of hda but that didn't work), followed by a small FAT32 partition to hold a drive mapping (G:). D: (hdb) and the rest of C: are set up as CentOS software RAID. I had Anaconda install the boot loader in /boot partition, but still I cannot boot things!! Is there a BIOS setting I'm missing?

hda - 100GB
hdb - 100GB
hdc - 282GB
hdd - 282GB

All are SATA, but hdc and hdb are set up under BIOS RAID so they appear as one drive to Windows, and Windows is installed on them. I can't put Linux on hdc+hdb because of the RAID. I keep reinstalling CentOS on combinations of hda:hdb but can't figure out how to get installations to boot.

These drives are hot-swappable, so maybe some combination of swapping things around will work...

PattiMichelle

PattiMS
Posts: 14
Joined: 2006/06/19 15:51:08

Re: TYAN 8-core dual boot with Win2003Server?

Post by PattiMS » 2006/07/25 20:47:34

Well, after all that reinstallation, it turns out to be as easy as unplugging the Windows hot-swap drives and the BIOS automatically boots from the Linux drive's (I wound up putting GRUB on hda's MBR). Maybe changing the boot order in BIOS might do the same thing, but I haven't tried that. I now have a pseudo-dual-boot system with CentOS on RAID1 hda+hdb and Win2003Server on RAID1 hdc+hdd, although they don't know each other are there...

:-D cheers! :lol:

PattiMS
Posts: 14
Joined: 2006/06/19 15:51:08

Re: TYAN 8-core dual boot with Win2003Server?

Post by PattiMS » 2006/07/25 21:58:23

HAH! :-D Changing the BIOS boot order worked - the problem was that the BIOS identified my SATA as SCSI so I had them excluded from the boot list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
:-)

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