Down the Docks

February 7, 2006

Building a Home Fileserver part II(c): SATA & RAID

Filed under: Technology — ealing @ 8:40 am

The last OS-level problem I was having concerned the RAID array: it wouldn’t start, despite all the individual drives functioning.

Since the error messages I was getting were initially all from fsck, complaining about access to superblocks, I originally thought that there might still be something physically wrong with one of the drives. Then I started looking into mdadm, and with a little bit of its diagnostic wizardry, I found out what the problem was.

It turned out that I could start and mount the array after booting, but not during. I inspected the dmesg output, and suspected that the SATA drivers were loaded after fsck tried to check the drives. This meant that the array could not be started, as the OS still could not see the drives. I compiled a new kernel with the sata_nv and sata_sil options built in, rather than as modules, and tried again.

The machine wouldn’t reboot to start with, because no new initrd lines were created for the grub menu configuration file. Once that was sorted, the machine rebooted all the way to the command line from power on, and df showed all drives up and running. Success at last! Now I just have to configure the applications I want to run…

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