Thinking out loud....???? - Suse

This is a discussion on Thinking out loud....???? - Suse ; This is not 'exactly' an openSUSE question but... Many years ago, back in the 20th century (1998) I bought a motherboard from SuperMicro® that had a Raidport slot. I bought the raid card for it which was manufactured by Adaptec® ...

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Thread: Thinking out loud....????

  1. Thinking out loud....????

    This is not 'exactly' an openSUSE question but...

    Many years ago, back in the 20th century (1998) I bought a motherboard from
    SuperMicro® that had a Raidport slot. I bought the raid card for it which
    was manufactured by Adaptec® (ARO-1130SA2/CA2). Unfortunately there were a
    lot of things I didn't quite understand back then and Im even made a few
    incorrect assumptions. The bottom line is that the raid card came with
    drivers for Windows® and Unix® but NOT for Linux® !!! It seems that since
    Adaptec® was just starting to pay attention to our beloved OS they did not
    write any Linux drivers for this raid card... They soon came out with
    there next generation of cards and they DID write Linux® drivers for these.
    So I just put the card away maxed out with memory and never used...

    Well now it's many years later and I still use that motherboard. It has
    served me well and I shall probably use it a few more. So here's the
    question. An idea that I would like to clear up once and for all so I can
    move on and sell that raid card for a couple of bucks on ebay.. If I use
    the original Unix® (*cough, cough *) driver disk to install the hardware
    raid array first what will happen when I try to 'see' it when I boot up
    into a fresh openSUSE installation ??...........??

    This is probably stupid but there it is. I just want to be clear on the
    concept. I'm just not certain how all this hardware (raid) initialization
    works and at what level the kernel 'talks to' the hardware... Probably I'm
    mixing up different concepts but that's the whole point. I'm a little
    confused about the separation of the OS from the raid hardware.

    P.S. That other OS which the raid card drivers are written for is....as
    Keith Oberman would say..'The Worlds Worst OS manufacturer of the last
    century...... hate to say it but here it is......yep you guessed it...

    *SCO*


    Arrrggggg.


    Just thinking out loud...

    P.S.#2 Yes, I am aware that I can use software raid.

  2. Re: Thinking out loud....????

    Hi Michael

    You can argue that a hardware RAID system, once setup with its own BIOS
    can look like a "simple" controller for any OS that might use it. Indeed
    the basic ROM calls that something as old as DOS3 uses would work okay.
    This is essential to booting the system as the MBR has to exist in some
    form to make this happen.

    The problem you have is OS driver access to all the "other" features the
    RAID card may have. As an example of some of the problems you may
    strike, there is a Promise RAID controller that Linux recognizes in a
    limited sense as only having single drive capability. ie the RAID
    functionality gets "left out", but it works fine as a standard IDE
    controller with 4 physical hard disk. You can do all the regular things
    like hdparm software RAID and so on.

    But to your question. The Unix disk will no doubt have two basic
    functions, that to do the RAID setup, then do whatever needs doing to
    make the OS kernel support it. I have actually (many years ago) setup a
    Adaptec RAID card on a SCO Unix system. SCO in those days needed the
    driver compiled directly into the kernel so the install process actually
    did that on the fly. The actual RAID configuration could have equally as
    well run at the SCSI BIOS level (Ctrl-A etc) instead.

    Depending on the contents of the current kernel harwdare support then
    you may get the install to "spit the dummy" and not work at all, or
    recognize it partially with limited functionality. You may for example
    have to manually define a disk controller on the kernel boot line. You
    may even be able to use an adaptec RAID driver from a later piece of
    hardware that way as they would try to keep code compatibility between
    products. Try it! If you dont want to wade through the SuSE install try
    the latest Knoppix CD after you have configured for just one HDD. You
    can see a lot during the boot process that would allude to its support
    (or not)

    Note that I have not done any web searching on current support (if any)
    for the card in question. I also note the kernel sources dont seem to
    mention much!

    Cheers Bob


    Michael Soibelman wrote:

    > move on and sell that raid card for a couple of bucks on ebay.. If I use
    > the original Unix® (*cough, cough *) driver disk to install the hardware
    > raid array first what will happen when I try to 'see' it when I boot up
    > into a fresh openSUSE installation ??...........??
    >
    > This is probably stupid but there it is. I just want to be clear on the
    > concept. I'm just not certain how all this hardware (raid) initialization
    > works and at what level the kernel 'talks to' the hardware... Probably I'm
    > mixing up different concepts but that's the whole point. I'm a little
    > confused about the separation of the OS from the raid hardware.


  3. Re: Thinking out loud....????

    Bob Bob wrote:

    > Hi Michael
    >
    > You can argue that a hardware RAID system, once setup with its own BIOS
    > can look like a "simple" controller for any OS that might use it. Indeed
    > the basic ROM calls that something as old as DOS3 uses would work okay.
    > This is essential to booting the system as the MBR has to exist in some
    > form to make this happen.

    -------------------------------snip-------------------------------
    > Note that I have not done any web searching on current support (if any)
    > for the card in question. I also note the kernel sources dont seem to
    > mention much!
    >
    > Cheers Bob
    >

    Thank you so much for helping to elucidate these points. I think I'll ask
    Adaptec this exact question. "To what degree did you attempt, if at all,
    to backport your drivers on your Linux enabled raidport raid cards to work
    with the ARO-1130SA2/CA2 card ? If partially, then what functionality is
    provided and what is not ?" Or something like that...

    So perhaps I'll give it a go. Maybe I'll learn something about raid drivers
    in the process ?

    P.S. Thanks again :-)


    ----------------------------------snip---------------------------

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