Jul 13, 2011

Installing Openfiler 2.99 On a 3Ware 9750-4i RAID Controller

I haven't been writing too much lately, and the stuff I have been writing about have pretty much consisted of three different things. SuperMicro servers, Openfiler SAN's and XenServer. This article isn't going to be too much different because I am still very much involved in this project. It should have been done already, but I have been plagued with set backs from manufacturers, and retailers since I ordered this stuff, but I digress.

So I finally got one of my SuperMicro storage chassis built out, and I decided to do the initial install of Openfiler 2.99 on it. Turns out there was a little bit of a pain in this process. You see, I am using a 3Ware 9750-4i RAID controller card. Reading online, in forums, and in the Openfiler community it seemed that this card would be supported out of the box because the 9750 chipset's driver is built into Linux kernels 2.6.23 and newer which Openfiler uses. Eh, not so much.

When I booted up Openfiler, it saw the RAID controller, but it didn't detect the right driver so it asked me to load a driver, or search for one manually I find the 3ware 9000 Storage Contoller Linux Driver (3w-9xxxx).

However when I select it, the Openfiler installation craps out with the below error:

glib detected *** /sbin/loader: double free or corrupted...

WTF? It turns out that LSI/3Ware made a driver available for Openfiler 2.3 though, which you can download here: (Openfiler 9750 32bit and Openfiler 9750 64bit)

The good news is the 2.3 driver works for 2.99 as well. The bad news is that the driver comes as a floppy image. Yes, as in 1.44MB floppy! WTF is that? No matter how hard we try, we just can't get rid of those damn floppies (Thats what she said! - Corny, I know...).

Anyway, to get this bastard installed, I had to track down a floppy disk, and a usb floppy drive. I then had to write the image to floppy using a tool called Rawrite. Once I had the floppy I booted up the server to the installation CD, at the same time I plugged in the usb floppy drive with the driver floppy disk. Openfiler read the disk at boot up, found the driver and I was able to get it installed successfully.

When I rebooted though, it wouldn't boot up. This is the final "gotcha" I found with 3Ware and Openfiler. When you are creating your RAID in the 3Ware bios, there is an option to create a separate boot partition as a part of the RAID config. I went back in, re-created the RAID but this time I set up a 10GB boot partition. I then repeated the previous steps and installed Openfiler to the 10GB partiton. This time it booted up without issue.

Not sure why the install wasn't as straight forward as it should be, but now that it's installed it seems to be working well.

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