Installing old linux on new RAID hardware - Setup

This is a discussion on Installing old linux on new RAID hardware - Setup ; Hi all, we are planning to buy a new server based on Tyan i5000PW, and using both controllers LSI 1060E SAS and Intel ESB2 SATA for a big raid5 array. The problem is that we need to install mandatorily Scientific ...

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Thread: Installing old linux on new RAID hardware

  1. Installing old linux on new RAID hardware

    Hi all,
    we are planning to buy a new server based on Tyan i5000PW, and using
    both controllers LSI 1060E SAS and Intel ESB2 SATA for a big raid5 array.

    The problem is that we need to install mandatorily Scientific Linux 3 in
    there, SL3 having kernel 2.4.21 . I assume 2.4.21 does not support these
    controllers because it is old while the chipsets are much newer. While I
    assume the newest ~2.6.20 kernel does support these
    (I am not sure of either statements, if you know more please tell).

    We are ok in using 2.6.20 with SL3, the problem is the installation...
    how can we do? The boot CD of SL3 will not see our disks.

    I have thought about 2 solutions, which I'm not sure they work, please
    review these and tell your opinions.

    -- Possible solution 1:
    Boot with Ubuntu, configure the raid with mdadm, partition it with 1
    small raid1 for /boot and the rest in raid5 for / .
    Take (scp) the filesystem of SL3 from another computer of ours having
    SL3 installed and throw it on the / (raid5).
    Take the kernel ~ 2.6.20 from ubuntu and put it on /boot
    Install GRUB on the MBR of all disks, setting the kernel parameter for
    root=/dev/md1 or the like.
    Would this work?


    -- Possible solution 2:
    Boot with some boot floppy or boot-cd which just loads the kernel (2.6)
    and then asks you to swap the CD in the drive to continue booting. I
    would put SL3 installer CD in there and go ahead with the installation.
    Does such a boot-cd or boot-floppy exist?
    If yes, then:
    Install SL3 and configure RAID.
    Now still I cannot boot because SL3 will have installed kernel 2.4 on
    the disks.
    Boot with Ubuntu, copy Ubuntu's kernel into /boot
    Reconfigure GRUB menu to use the new kernel
    Now I can boot SL3 with the kernel of Ubuntu normally.
    Would this work?



    Now another problem: will GRUB work? How can GRUB see the drives, is it
    the BIOS which allows it to see the drives or what?

    Thanks in advance
    Beta

  2. Re: Installing old linux on new RAID hardware

    In <4656a2aa$0$56941$892e0abb@auth.newsreader.octanews .com> Beta writes:

    >Hi all,
    >we are planning to buy a new server based on Tyan i5000PW, and using
    >both controllers LSI 1060E SAS and Intel ESB2 SATA for a big raid5 array.


    >The problem is that we need to install mandatorily Scientific Linux 3 in
    >there, SL3 having kernel 2.4.21 . I assume 2.4.21 does not support these
    >controllers because it is old while the chipsets are much newer. While I
    >assume the newest ~2.6.20 kernel does support these
    >(I am not sure of either statements, if you know more please tell).


    2.4.21 is definitely too old to have a driver for it.

    >We are ok in using 2.6.20 with SL3, the problem is the installation...
    >how can we do? The boot CD of SL3 will not see our disks.


    You probably can even patch the driver into 2.4.21, if a driver for 2.4.x
    even exists.

    >I have thought about 2 solutions, which I'm not sure they work, please
    >review these and tell your opinions.


    >-- Possible solution 1:
    >Boot with Ubuntu, configure the raid with mdadm, partition it with 1
    >small raid1 for /boot and the rest in raid5 for / .
    >Take (scp) the filesystem of SL3 from another computer of ours having
    >SL3 installed and throw it on the / (raid5).
    >Take the kernel ~ 2.6.20 from ubuntu and put it on /boot
    >Install GRUB on the MBR of all disks, setting the kernel parameter for
    >root=/dev/md1 or the like.
    >Would this work?


    Probably. Depends on if the distribution can cope with the newer modutils
    needed.

    >-- Possible solution 2:
    >Boot with some boot floppy or boot-cd which just loads the kernel (2.6)
    >and then asks you to swap the CD in the drive to continue booting. I
    >would put SL3 installer CD in there and go ahead with the installation.
    >Does such a boot-cd or boot-floppy exist?


    Normally, not. You'll have to create it.

    >If yes, then:
    >Install SL3 and configure RAID.
    >Now still I cannot boot because SL3 will have installed kernel 2.4 on
    >the disks.
    >Boot with Ubuntu, copy Ubuntu's kernel into /boot
    >Reconfigure GRUB menu to use the new kernel
    >Now I can boot SL3 with the kernel of Ubuntu normally.
    >Would this work?


    I think not, because such a boot disk does not exist.

    >Now another problem: will GRUB work? How can GRUB see the drives, is it
    >the BIOS which allows it to see the drives or what?


    AFAIK, yes.

    There are other options which are a bit easier which I would suggest:

    1. Create a chroot-environment on a standard Debian/RedHat/Suse/Slackware/
    Ubuntu/whatever install with an SL3 inside.

    2. Create a virtual host on your new box with your virtualisation package
    of choice (XEN, vmware, etc.) and install your SL3 inside that virtual
    host.

    3. See if the driver has been backported to 2.4.x and create a custom
    install CD/floppy for SL3 containing that kernel.

    Good luck,
    Uli
    --
    Dipl. Inf. Ulrich Teichert|e-mail: Ulrich.Teichert@gmx.de
    Stormweg 24 |listening to: Channel 13 Is Haunted (Hex Dispensers)
    24539 Neumuenster, Germany|Adrenalin (Supabond), Ne Me Touch Pas (Opération S)

  3. Re: Installing old linux on new RAID hardware

    Ulrich.Teichert@gmx.de wrote:
    > In <4656a2aa$0$56941$892e0abb@auth.newsreader.octanews .com> Beta writes:
    >> I assume 2.4.21 does not support these
    >> controllers because it is old while the chipsets are much newer.

    >
    > 2.4.21 is definitely too old to have a driver for it.


    Yes in facts I now checked: 2.6.20 has got those drivers while 2.4.21
    hasn't.

    >> Would this work?

    >
    > Probably. Depends on if the distribution can cope with the newer modutils
    > needed.


    modutils... you mean the modprobe and similar stuff? That is going to be
    kernel-only so 2.6-only... what kind of conflicts could arise with SL3?

    >> -- Possible solution 2:

    ....
    >> Does such a boot-cd or boot-floppy exist?

    >
    > Normally, not. You'll have to create it.


    Interesting, how could I make such a CD?

    I'm a newbie here. I had a look at the Linux Boot Process
    http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/l...n-process.html
    http://oldfield.wattle.id.au/luv/boot.html

    I think I have to take a 2.6.20 initrd image, open it change the linuxrc
    so to ask the user to change the CD (SL3 is inserted here), mount the
    new CD, and then... probably load the initrd image from the SL3 CD so to
    execute its linuxrc if any (chroot?), and then... I don't know anymore.
    How could I make the boot process go ahead with the SL3 installation?

    Thanks in advance

  4. Re: Installing old linux on new RAID hardware

    In <4658613f$0$84081$892e0abb@auth.newsreader.octanews .com> Beta writes:
    [del]
    >> Probably. Depends on if the distribution can cope with the newer modutils
    >> needed.


    >modutils... you mean the modprobe and similar stuff? That is going to be
    >kernel-only so 2.6-only... what kind of conflicts could arise with SL3?


    As there has been a change which breaks compatabilty between 2.4.x and 2.6.x
    module handling, you need other versions of the module-tools (yes, modprobe,
    insmod, etc.).

    Some distributions have support for 2.4 and 2.6 kernels (Debian 3.x, for
    instance), some not.

    >>> -- Possible solution 2:

    >...
    >>> Does such a boot-cd or boot-floppy exist?

    >>
    >> Normally, not. You'll have to create it.


    >Interesting, how could I make such a CD?


    >I'm a newbie here. I had a look at the Linux Boot Process
    >http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/l...n-process.html
    >http://oldfield.wattle.id.au/luv/boot.html


    >I think I have to take a 2.6.20 initrd image, open it change the linuxrc
    >so to ask the user to change the CD (SL3 is inserted here), mount the
    >new CD, and then... probably load the initrd image from the SL3 CD so to
    >execute its linuxrc if any (chroot?), and then... I don't know anymore.
    >How could I make the boot process go ahead with the SL3 installation?


    This is very distribution specific and I don't know SL3. Is it based on
    RedHat? There should be a package to create custom CDs or google for
    instructions, I only run Debian boxes.

    Anyway, if SL3 can't handle 2.6 kernels and has the older modutils, you
    can forget about modules and initrd. You have to compile all the stuff
    in you need and cope with the countless errors it will spit out during
    booting.

    Why aren't you looking at virtualisation? It will be soooo much easier....

    HTH,
    Uli
    --
    Dipl. Inf. Ulrich Teichert|e-mail: Ulrich.Teichert@gmx.de
    Stormweg 24 |listening to: Channel 13 Is Haunted (Hex Dispensers)
    24539 Neumuenster, Germany|Adrenalin (Supabond), Ne Me Touch Pas (Opération S)

  5. Re: Installing old linux on new RAID hardware

    Ulrich.Teichert@gmx.de wrote:
    > As there has been a change which breaks compatabilty between 2.4.x and 2.6.x
    > module handling, you need other versions of the module-tools (yes, modprobe,
    > insmod, etc.).
    >
    > Some distributions have support for 2.4 and 2.6 kernels (Debian 3.x, for
    > instance), some not.


    I found a kernel 2.6.9 in the repositories of SL3!!
    http://linuxsoft.cern.ch/cern/slc30X/i386/yum/kernel26/
    Together with modutils 2.4.26-15 dated 08 july 2004 in the same
    directory of the repo called "kernel26"
    I assume this modutil is able to handle 2.6 modules

    Kernel 2.6.9 is still too old to have the drivers I need, so I will need
    to compile 2.6.20, but I assume the modutils 2.4.26-15 are still able to
    handle modules for 2.6.20 . (default modutils installation for SL3 is
    modutils-2.4.25-14.EL... such a little version difference!)

    So if I understood correctly, there is a modutils (probably 2.4.26-15)
    which is able to handle both 2.4 and 2.6 modules, right?


    > Why aren't you looking at virtualisation? It will be soooo much easier....


    Full virtualization (vmware, qemu) and HW virtualization (KVM) have
    horrible performances on network, disk io etc. We need this machine to
    perform at best. If I use paravirtualization, this requires I recompile
    the kernels of the guest machines with Xen and I think Xen is available
    for 2.6 kernels only, so this would not solve the problem.

    Furthermore we plan to virtualize the machine with many vservers, and
    two levels of virtualization... is just too much for us

    Thanks!

  6. Re: Installing old linux on new RAID hardware

    In <46589b30$0$56922$892e0abb@auth.newsreader.octanews .com> Beta writes:

    >Ulrich.Teichert@gmx.de wrote:
    >> As there has been a change which breaks compatabilty between 2.4.x and 2.6.x
    >> module handling, you need other versions of the module-tools (yes, modprobe,
    >> insmod, etc.).
    >>
    >> Some distributions have support for 2.4 and 2.6 kernels (Debian 3.x, for
    >> instance), some not.


    >I found a kernel 2.6.9 in the repositories of SL3!!
    >http://linuxsoft.cern.ch/cern/slc30X/i386/yum/kernel26/
    >Together with modutils 2.4.26-15 dated 08 july 2004 in the same
    >directory of the repo called "kernel26"
    >I assume this modutil is able to handle 2.6 modules

    [del]

    To find out which version is required, have a look inside the kernel
    Documentation/Changes files:

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    ....
    o util-linux 2.10o # fdformat --version
    o module-init-tools 0.9.10 # depmod -V
    o e2fsprogs 1.29 # tune2fs
    ....

    Module-Init-Tools
    -----------------

    A new module loader is now in the kernel that requires module-init-tools
    to use. It is backward compatible with the 2.4.x series kernels.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    So, you should check if it's a least that version, then you should be
    fine. As you will have to compile a custom kernel anyway, you should
    check all other program version mentioned in this file, before you
    have a go at it.

    >> Why aren't you looking at virtualisation? It will be soooo much easier....


    >Full virtualization (vmware, qemu) and HW virtualization (KVM) have
    >horrible performances on network, disk io etc. We need this machine to
    >perform at best. If I use paravirtualization, this requires I recompile
    >the kernels of the guest machines with Xen and I think Xen is available
    >for 2.6 kernels only, so this would not solve the problem.


    >Furthermore we plan to virtualize the machine with many vservers, and
    >two levels of virtualization... is just too much for us


    OK, I see.

    Good luck,
    Uli
    --
    Dipl. Inf. Ulrich Teichert|e-mail: Ulrich.Teichert@gmx.de
    Stormweg 24 |listening to: Channel 13 Is Haunted (Hex Dispensers)
    24539 Neumuenster, Germany|Adrenalin (Supabond), Ne Me Touch Pas (Opération S)

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