Pls help with a clean install of FileServer on the software RAID5

I've planned to take a 3 400Gb SATA HDDs and to do something like

3xRAID1 (ext2) /boot
3xALONE (swap) swap   #even after panics when one swap area fails just reboot 
3xRAID5 (jfs|ext3) /  #and resume work on a degraded RAID
3xRAID5 (jfs) /home   #with good jfs recoverability

I'm newbee in a Linux kernel and bootoptions but has some xperience with a Linux and (mostly) xBSD hi-level configuring so my Q may looks a bit dummy.

When I boot an Installer (2009.10-2) and select Manual Partitioning I can't make any RAID partition just because here is no such options.

When I switch onto another tty (or close installer, or boot it via F6 and removing di-live from params) and do a modprobe md then next lsmod shows md module loaded but regardless of it when I run di-live again it shows the same partitoning opts like before without any RAID.

Also I can boot a Live and apt-get mdadm package but AFAIR before final on-disk installation Live environment warns that "any changes will not saved" so this on-the-fly installation seems useless.

Am I wrong somewhere except DNA? :)
How to do a fresh (on a clean drives) install of a FileServer Appliance on the software RAID5 with JFS?
What's right steps for it?

Liraz Siri's picture

You're trying something we don't yet officially support. It's probably possible, but as with all pioneers, you are on your own. Note that everything is open source so there's nothing stopping you from figuring it out and sharing your results with the community on the forum. That will also make it easier to add software RAID to subsequent releases. We just haven't taken a serious look at that yet.

Anyhow, currently TurnKey appliances are optimized for simple installation on virtual machines. So maybe you could instead start with a regular Ubuntu/Debian installation on the host, configure software raid the usual way and then setup the appliance as a virtual machine. You'll get a bit more flexibility doing that and be able to run more than one appliance on your box.

Either that or hardware RAID I guess. Many modern motherboard chipsets support that through the BIOS...

I've asked abt something very trivial for "Gurus" and hard for a "half-newbies". Can I, for example, set up something in the Live and then "merge" this into install? Pls, let's leave a trash like "official support" etc. alone and look into the root of task.

We have a "slightly" (comparing to eBox for example or even TKL-Zimbra) customized distr -- 1) some modules don't loads on boot (but are still here!) and 2) some stages of setup (i.e. partitioning) disallows (simply hides?) some variants that present in a "regular installation". Am I right?

The Q is:
how to 1) load some modules (and use it! in a next step) and 2) make this "next step" (unhide raid selection in di-live partitioning, make and mount raid manually, or something else)?

In my previous experience on BSD I see no problems after a point when a raid is created, partitioned and mounted into a some /target -- from that point almost any xNIX installer completely indifferent for a /target real location and underlying details, isn't it?

Playing with some other customized distros I've seen that when I select a Manual Part and make a raid partition then AFAIR a md module loaded dynamically and used immediately. If I reboots installer after a raid part was created then on a next boot the same installer loads md on boot. As I wrote in a 1st post it seems that the TKL-FS distro have this module too (modprobe loads it), so the goal is to use it someway.

Of course I can use a "regular Ubuntu installation" but in that case I need no any 1) VM and 2) TKL-FS itself :)
Also for my goals -- a simplest "soho" (with more "ho" than "so") file-server with some additional workload (like mgetty-fax on ttyS0) -- both VM-based and "regular install" ways totally violates the KISS principle :)

Liraz Siri's picture

What I meant by unsupported is that we haven't tested a working procedure for doing what you want so it's harder to help you. Much of the difference between a guru and a newbie is what they have experience doing. Being a guru isn't like being a genie. I imagine I'm a bit more experienced than the average Linux guy but even still it's hard for me to tell you what will work in advance, without trying it myself first.

If I've learned anything is that if you're trying out something new that key is to experiment. Setup a throw away test environment such as a virtual machine with 3 virtual hard drives and bang on things till you get something to work by trial and error. That's what I would do. If you do that, you'll get software RAID to work for yourself and make it easier for us to add support for it  in future versions.

Now with regards to your specific questions, a few tips:

  • When you boot into Live CD mode your changes are saved to a tmpfs in memory via overlay. When you install to hard drive you don't get these changes merged, you just get the original appliance filesystem. If you want to change that before installation, use TKLPatch.
  • We're using di-live for the installer. That's TurnKey's custom live installer. It does however  leverage debian-installer scripts. You can extend di-live via a hooks mechanism. See the source code and documentation for details.

Hope this helps!

Pls detailise one thing:

is there some, posibly dirty, way to start di-live from the some "middle stage"?

I mean that I can try to
1) create FS layout that I need with a Live and onboard and/or apt-ed tools then
2) somehow tell di-live to skip previous stage(s) and start copying onto layout from p.1 and
3) boot into Live/Recovery again and manually edit mounts etc.

Is there (in the TKL-FS) some dirty hack for a p.2 ?

Post new comment