News from “The Lab”…

DL380 G4Ok, it’s time to update the blog…

I’ve spent the past days enjoying my “new” HP Proliant DL380 G4 (specs here). Well new is not a correct word: I fount this server on eBay, and I had to buy it.. My idea was to use it as a VMWare ESXi server machine, to test O.S. installation and configuration in virtual machines. Unfortunately it came with only 1GB of RAM, too few to have ESXi running. I’m actually waiting an 8GB RAM memory upgrade, from an eBay auction.

In the meantime I installed Linux Slackware 13.37 on it. It was not so difficult, except for LILO installation. Will provide details on it as soon as possible. Stay tuned!

Update: as I promised, this is first update about Linux Slackware 13.37 installation on my HP Proliant.

Basically, when you install LILO as bootloader, the setup procedure seems to fail to locate the correct position of the MBR in which to write the loader itself. This is probably due to a desktop oriented setup procedure, that assumes you’re working with a standard hardware. Before installing anything on the server, you have to create at least one logical volume using RAID controller’s BIOS. This system has 6 36GB U320 SCSI drives; I decided to create two RAID5 volumes: the first one spanned on disks 0,2 and 4 and the second one spanned on disks 1,3 and 5 (this way, as there are two rows of three disks in the rack, each volume is so located in a row).

When you begin your installation you have to partition your disk using fdisk or cfdisk, and this is your first issue: which device do you have to specify to the partitioning software? After navigating around in /dev finally I found that RAID devices are located under /dev/cciss/c0d0 (first volume) and /dev/cciss/c0d1 (second volume). So I partitioned /dev/cciss/c0d0 into three partitions:

  • /dev/cciss/c0d0p1 mounted as /
  • /dev/cciss/c0d0p2 mounted as /home
  • /dev/cciss/c0d0p3 as swap space

Finally, after installing all of the needed packages, LILO installation came up. It was able to locate my boot partition to be /dev/cciss/c0d0p1 and I expected it would also locate /dev/cciss/c0d0 as my boot disk, but it specified /dev/hda as boot disk!! It was too late to get something to work, so I turned all my system off.

Few days ago I decided to fix LILO setup. I had to boot from the installation disk, and when I was able to logon in the setup shell, I did the following:

  • first I created a /mount mountpoint
  • then I mounted my /dev/cciss/c0d0p1 partition in the mountpoint created above (mount /dev/cciss/c0d0p1 /mount)
  • I changed my root to /mount (chroot /mount)
  • I edited my /etc/lilo.conf (vi /etc/lilo.conf). As I changed my root to /mount, I was editing my system’s lilo.conf)
  • in lilo.conf I changed the line boot=/dev/hda with boot=/dev/cciss/c0d0
  • I saved the newly created lilo.conf
  • I issued the command lilo -v

The newly created configuration was written to /dev/cciss/c0d0 MBR. I removed the installation disk from the drive and rebooted the system with CTRL+ALT+CANC. It worked!!

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