Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Toys: LSI MegaRAID 9240-8i

Lately, I had a bit of a scare: One of my HDDs started acting funny - guess what, it was the one I added unmirrored, because I couldn't get a second one. It was the time of the great flood in Thailand and hard disks were both devilishly expensive and in short supply.

Well, it turns out It was just a loose connector, but it still yanked me out of my comfy, trusty world once more, even more so since that specific drive is packed to bursting with my digital negatives. I know I haven't written anything about my new digital camera yet (shame on me), but I promise I will - any day now...

Well, bottom line, I decided I'd never be that scared again. To that end I took some serious money in hand (almost 300€) and bought myself some top-of-the-line hardware: An LSI MegaRAID 9240-8i card, said by LSI to
"allow small to medium business owners and gaming enthusiasts to enjoy the latest RAID technology at affordable price"
Though I'm neither, I guess it applies to hardware enthusiasts and fanatic hobby photographers as well.

As of writing this, I've finally got it working. You may be wanting to read about part of my oddyssey here:  Grub conks out, Lilo to the rescue 

By now I've found out that:
  • Grub from Debian Squeeze/Wheezy won't work with it on a Gigabyte GA-870A-USB3 board
  • Lilo from said distros however does work with that board-controller combination
  • RAID5 will produce a kernel panic both with the 2.6 kernel from Squeeze and the 3.2 kernel from Wheezy on above board
  • RAID5 can work with that controller/board config, as is proven by Arconis DiskImager which I used to rescue my data from the array after the RAID5 experiment blew up in my face. Alas, I have yet to figure out how they do it.
As of writing this, what remains to be done (besides getting RAID5 to work) is getting the Megaraid Storage-Manager (short MSM) to work with Debian. In case you face the same problem: Don't bother with the hints in the LSI Knowledge Base, they don't work. Check back in three weeks (after my vacation) for an article on wether or not I eventually got it working.
Also check back here for how I finally scraped together the courage to include the controller in my liquid cooling system, but that won't happen so soon...

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