I finally got my virtualization servers in, and all of my components to get them humming with XenServer 5.6 Sp2. The only problem I found was that the onboard RAID controller on my SuperMicro SuperServer 6016T-MTLF is really a HostRAID or FakeRAID solution. That's a problem because according to Citrix, XenServer does not support FakeRAID. Ain't that a bitch?
XenServer does support software RAID though using Linux mdadm. That is good news because to get two supported hardware RAID controllers I would have to fork over another $400, and I am already $400 over budget because my SuperMicro vendors didn't get me the right RAM. That is a different story though...
Anyway, I found an interesting tutorial on how to configure software RAID 1 in XenServer. I am cool with using software RAID 1 in Linux as I have never had problems with it. I find Linux software RAID is pretty stable. Plus since it's only RAID 1 I am unlikely to see a huge performance hit.
The only problem with the tutorial I found is that it takes a lot of terminal commands to get software RAID configured properly, and if I have to do this on more than one server that would be a pain. So I decided to copy all the commands into one handy dandy shell script! You can download that sucker here: (XenServer RAID 1 Script)
In order to run it, you must have two hard drives of the same size. Run the XenServer install like normal, and only select the SDA drive as the installation point, as well as for the VM containers. Make sure that you leave SDB unchecked when configuring your VM containers. After that, follow the prompts like normal to complete the install.
Once the install is done, you can ssh into your newly installed XenServer from another machine, then run the following:
- wget http://ftp.bauer-power.net/misc/XenRAID/xenRAID.sh
- chmod +X xenRAID.sh
- sh xenRAID.sh
That's it pal! Just wait a few minutes, answer a few questions with 'Y' for yes, and you will have a software RAID 1 implementation of XenServer 5.6 is no time! I have tested it three times in a row, and it works great! I have also taken out one drive at a time to verify that XenServer still boots, and it's worked flawlessly!
If you do have a hard drive failure, I found a really good tutorial on how to rebuild your RAID array here: (How to rebuild software RAID 1 in Linux)
Do you already use Software RAID on your XenServer? Had any issues? Let us know about your experiences with it in the comments.
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