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Old 16th June 2009, 03:35 PM
Crysm Offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Knoxville, TN
Age: 26
Posts: 12
Booting from (software) RAID1 partitions?

I've tried everything I can think of, but I haven't gotten a bootable install going yet.

First off, the machine I'm installing on was running Fedora 9 as a file server. Long story short, I broke the install and figured it was time to upgrade. The drives still contain a 6-element RAID5 array, and a 2-element RAID1 array (root). The RAID5 filesystem is intact and safe, but it is so large and contains so much data that there is no where I can move it to make this process easier. The 6 HDs in there take up every IDE/SATA connector on the motherboard, so my install/boot media is limited to a single USB memory stick. (EDIT: To clarify, this is only for booting install media, rescue disks, etc. The system will be installed to the hard drives when I manage to get it working properly)

The RAID setup consists of 4x750GB HDs (sda, sdb, sdc, sdd) and 2x1000GB HDs (sde, sdf). Sda,b,c,d are all formatted with a single partition as Linux RAID. Sde,f are split up thusly:

sde1/sdf1: 248.5 GB Linux RAID (RAID 1 - /dev/md1 on / )
sde2/sdf2: 750 GB Linux RAID (RAID 5 - part of /dev/md0 on /array )
sde3/sdf3: 1.5 GB swap

This was a perfectly working setup on Fedora 9 (though I wish I could remember how I did it), but I haven't managed to pull it off with the Fedora 11 installer.

First off, I tried the LiveCD image. That was a mistake, because it forced me into all kinds of partitioning weirdness (because I needed to keep sde2 and sdf2 right where they were) to get the ext3/ext4 combination right. It did install pretty quickly, though, and ostensibly cleanly. On reboot, I got the thoroughly ambiguous message "Read Error" immediately after the BIOS was done printing its own messages. Well, after going through that a few times with some variations, I got sick of it and dug up a minimal boot image instead so I could go back to sane partitioning (basically what I was using before, above). This eventually installed, and on reboot, no longer gave me the "Read Error" message, or any kind of message at all. Just sat there.

Seeing as the installer had prompted me to install Grub only on /dev/md1, I subsequently tried to do a grub-install on sde, sdf, sde1, and sdf1, to no avail. Grub kept spitting out "Could not find device for /boot: Not found or not a block device." for each one of those.

At this point I should probably mention that I know next to nothing about Grub (or bootloaders in general), as it's not the sort of thing I have to change often. I never really caught on to its subtleties, and I'm pretty much clueless here.

I would strongly prefer to keep the partitioning set up as it is now (described above), which means no /boot partition. Unless something has changed between Fedora 9 and Fedora 11, I don't see why this should be an issue, though many people seem to prefer a separate partition.

If someone could show me what I need to do to make this system boot again, I would be most grateful.

Last edited by Crysm; 16th June 2009 at 03:40 PM. Reason: clarification
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