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Rebuild RAID 1 array on M2A-VM motherboard with ATI SB600 controller

Discussion in 'Motherboards & Memory' started by SAlexson, Oct 29, 2007.

  1. SAlexson New Member

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    System Configuration:
    Motherboard: ASUS M2A-VM AMD690G MicroATX AMD (ATI SB600 controller)
    BIOS Version: 0901
    Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Windsor 2.2GHz Socket AM2 65W
    Memory: A-DATA 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel
    Storage: 2 x Seagate Barracuda 250GB SATA 3.0Gb/s
    Video: EVGA GeForce 7200GS 256MB GDDR2 PCI-Express x16
    LAN: 2 x Intel 10/100/1000Mbs PCI Pro/1000 GT Desktop Adapter
    OS: Linux/CentOS 5 x86_64


    Problem:

    I have an ASUS M2A-VM motherboard. Appearently it has an ATI SB600 controller on it that is supposed to support RAID1. I have installed 2 Seagate 250G SATA hard drives on this board. I configured the SATA controller to RAID in the BIOS. In the ATI FastBuild utility, I configure the array for RAID1, and assign the 2 hard drives to it. Everything seems to work ok. The OS (Linkux/CentOS 5) installs and runs smoothly.

    Now my problem...

    - I disconnect one of the drives (in the FastBuild utility, the drive is labelled 1-2 in the array)

    - On boot, the controller tells me that the array condition is critical (as expected)

    - I connect a replacement drive (identical to, but physically different from the one removed)

    - Once rebooted, I go back into the FastBuild utility (Ctrl-F) there is no option that I see for rebuilding the array to a new drive once a failed drive is replaced.

    I have tried deleting and redefining the array to include the new drive (without initializing the drives in the array). It does not rebuild the array to the new drive. If I DO initialize the drives in the array, as expected, all data is lost on the "healthy" drive.

    There seems to be absolutely NO documentation for the SB600 controller. I can find documentation for Promise Technologies, VIA, and Intel controllers. The version of FastBuild in the documentation for those controllers seems to have an Option 5 in

    the main menu of FastBuild. My version only has 4 options:
    1. View Drive Assignments
    2. Define Array
    3. Delete Array
    4. Controller Configuration

    Options 1 and 4 are informational only. There are no options to set under those two sections. The other 2 are pretty self-explanatory. With the data missing from the replacement drive, I cannot boot into the OS. I get a kernel panic once it tries to mount the filesystems. I shouldn't need to boot into the OS to rebuild the array, right?


    Questions:

    Am I missing something?
    What is the proper procedure to rebuild a RAID array after disk failure/replacement?

    I have contacted ASUS Tech Support, but all they did was forward me the manual for the RAID controller, which does not cover the procedure to rebuild data on the RAID array.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2007
  2. DanTheBanjoman Señor Moderator

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    Doesn't the controllers BIOS offer the option? I'm used to arrays auto rebuilding, however I only used dedicated controllers.
     
  3. SAlexson New Member

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    No, there is no option in the controller BIOS to initiate a rebuild. Because of that, I was hoping it performed an autorebuild after detecting a resolution to a disk failure. That didn't happen either.
     
  4. Namslas90 New Member

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  5. SAlexson New Member

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  6. Namslas90 New Member

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    Webpam allows the restoral of an array, without it you got nothing. :toast:
     
  7. SAlexson New Member

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    So, then how do I use it when Linux won't boot if the data isn't on the replacement drive? I am thinking that I might have configured my drive partitions incorrectly within Linux (something I am pursuing on the CentOS forums).
     
  8. Namslas90 New Member

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    I believe the only mistake made is Webpam was not installed, when stetting up array.
    I realize the second link is for a gigabyte board, but it offers a complete explaination of the workings of SB600 chipset and webpam. Everything you need is there. The file is the ATI sb600 user guide.

    :toast:
     
  9. SAlexson New Member

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    Well, for my sake, I hope you are correct. I will install WebPAM tonight and see what happens!
     
  10. Namslas90 New Member

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    I believe you will have to rebuild the entire Raid array(ie: reformat). Be sure to post back with results, :toast:
     
  11. SAlexson New Member

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    Well, luckly these servers are still "in development", so no big deal there...just extra time.
     
  12. SAlexson New Member

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    Well, I think I may be SOL. The CD that came with the motherboard only has a Windows version of WebPAM on it. I cannot find a version of WebPAM for Linux that will successfully install. So, unless ASUS can provide me with a Linux version (I sent a request to tech support), I guess I wasted my money on this motherboard. They haven't been very responsive thus far, so I am not very hopeful. Their only response to my queries has been to send me a PDF of the controller manual. No explanation, and they didn't even respond to my question of rebuilding an existing array.

    I'd like to thank everyone here for their help. As always, the people here have been more than a little helpful!
     
  13. SAlexson New Member

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    Well, I have had to abandon my quest.

    The official answer, at least from Gigabyte (ASUS never responded), is that there is no Linux version of WebPAM for the ATI SB600 controller. This is rather frustrating since the manual for ATI WebPAM explicitly states that is supports "Windows 2000, Windows XP Professional, Windows 2003, Red Hat Enterprise 4.0, SuSE ES 9.0". I don't know how they can make that claim if there is no version for Linux.

    So, since it WebPAM is a Java application running in a Java VM, I attempted to port it to Linux based on the Windows install. I got it loaded under Linux, but it would not recognize that it was able to manage the controller. I am assuming that the driver definition for the controller is embedded in the Java application somewhere, but I could not determine which jar, war, or class file actually defined which controller to use. So, having spent entirely too much time on this already, I have stopped fighting with it.

    I have since turned to software RAID under Linux, and I am happy to report that I have had no issues. I have tested a "faulty" drive incident, and I was successfully able to rebuild the array. I have seen little to no performance degradation with software RAID under Linux.

    Again, thanks to everyone for there assistance and guidance in this matter.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007
  14. Namslas90 New Member

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    Maybe try Here, or maybe Here.

    I did find a single link, that stated your mobo doesn't support Raid with Linux. But that dooesn't mean it can't be done. (However, it may be more trouble than it's worth).

    :toast:
     
  15. SAlexson New Member

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    The issue I have is that ATI's manual for WebPAM explicitly states that is supports Linux. WebPAM is only used for RAID Array Management. It shouldn't really matter what the OS is since it is a Java application. The only requirement would be that there is a driver available for the SB600 controller under the desired OS. There IS a Linux driver for the SB600 controller. Linux identifies it just fine. The problem is that I cannot find a version of WebPAM that has been built for this driver. Again, that is why I ask how the ATI manual for WebPAM can claim it supports Red Hat and SuSE if there is no version available for these OS's? Sounds like false claims to me. And, of course, by the time the end consumer finds out, it is too late.
     
  16. pppp New Member

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    Better late than never.....If anyone else should stumble across this thread, here's the answer to the above question.

    The RAID BIOS (Fastbuild), on the ATI/AMD SB600 Southbridge chipset, does NOT allow a user to specify "Rebuild RAID". This would be a normal option on a "grown-up" RAID card, but you wont see it on the SB600.

    However, if you replace the failed hard drive, the SB600 *WILL* rebuild the RAID 1: You just have to have blind faith in it. The fact is, the SB600 Fastbuild BIOS will continue to mark the status of the RAID 1 as "critical" until the RAID is rebuilt. That's right - no progress indication at all, zippo.

    The best thing to do is just leave the PC on and let it do its thing. You can reboot while it is rebuilding the RAID - that's not a problem. However, until the RAID is rebuilt, the BIOS will still indicate "Critical".

    The larger the hard drives....the longer the rebuild (it can take many hours). You just have to have complete blind faith that the SB600 RAID controller is actually doing its thing.

    Although the SB600 is based on the Intel AHCI open-standard and uses software-based (fake) RAID, it will still rebuild the RAID without an OS install.

    Hope that helps someone.
     
  17. thoughtdisorder

    thoughtdisorder New Member

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    Good stuff! Welcome to the forum.:toast:
     
  18. anglik666 New Member

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  19. lvm New Member

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    RAID 1 and SATA DVD-RAM on same controller

    I know this is slightly off topic, but you guys seem to be the only ones that has understood how to handle the M2A-VM RAID controller.

    When I define a RAID 1 array and connect the SATA DVD, it does not allow me to boot from the DVD. The DVD does not turn up in the initial BIOS list, but in the later RAID list -and blinking. When i try to boot Windows XP the system cannot boot from the installation CD (it is not recognized).

    Can it be done or will I have to get a separate RAID controller?
     
  20. anglik666 New Member

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    U shouldn't connected u DVD to raid controller, connect it to standard MoBo sockets. In MB bios U set booting order of devices connected to mobo and raid controller as one device, starting order of devices connected to raid controller u set up in raid bios, but many of them not support CD\DVD or booting from them. Windows for sure can't boot dvd connected to raid controller.
     
  21. suraswami

    suraswami

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    Nice.

    I always put OS on good old IDE drive and RAID all the SATA drives. In that way even if one drive fails or the controller fails I still have my OS intact (provided that part is not broken). I learned the hard way in putting OS on a RAIDED drive, when my board gave me problems I was host. I have to redo everything.

    Usually I stick to NV chipset and never had problems with them.
     

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