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Thread: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo controller

  1. #1
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    How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo controller

    I spent a few days figuring all this out from many sources and thought I would give it back to the Ubuntu community. YMMV as they say, so good luck with my 18 or so easy steps.....

    My goal was to install Ubuntu 14.04 by itself on a RAID 1 array of2 HDD's using the motherboards built in RAID controller. (Fake RAID,software RAID)
    Hardware: MSI Z87-G41 PC Mate mobo with intel Z87 chipset. Inteli5-4670k LGA1150, 2-WD Black WD5003AZEX S3 500G HDD's, 8GB crucialRAM.

    First Part is motherboard configuration:
    Configure the Intel RAID as RAID1 with 2 HD's, by doing the following (if you have a different mobo, the exact steps will be a little different, but the concepts are the same. “Where's the damn anti matter inducer?" "This? No...this!” "That or nothing.":
    First, set up your BIOS by booting and hitting the Delete Keyuntil the bios is visible. In integrated peripherals, select thehard drive controller and set it to RAID. Use esc key and saveconfiguration and exit. Next, reboot and keep holding the Ctrl keyand repeatedly hitting the I (letter i) key until the intel RAIDconfiguration screen appears. If you're not quick enough, you mayneed to reboot a few times to get it to work, as it flashes by veryquickly. Use the tab & up-down arrow keys to select the 2 drivesand set them to the configuration you want. I used RAID 1. Finally,boot back to the BIOS configuration screen again and go to the bootsection and select the boot order with USB key as first and the RAID array, which will show as a single entry named Intel HDD as the second boot device. Save configuration & exit.

    Second Part is software RAID configuration:
    Boot the Ubuntu installation live CD/USB thumb drive whileconnected to the Internet (very important, you need toinstall packages from the repository!!!).

    1. When the installation boots up choose "Try Ubuntu"
    2. Make sure you are connected to the internet (again, crucial step)
    3. Open a terminal and type the following to temporarily disable dmraid and install mdadm.

    Code:
    sudo dmraid -a n
    Code:
    sudo apt-get install mdadm

    1. You will be prompted with POSIX configuration, I chose No Configuration. This is a DOS type screen that you navigate in with the tab, arrow, space bar and enter keys.
    2. Wait for it to finish and type in the terminal to automatically recognize and set up your FakeRAID:

    Code:
    sudo mdadm --assemble --scan
    There is no need to reboot at this point.


    Third Part...We are now ready to start the Ubuntu installation:

    1. Run Install Ubuntu from the desktop icon or the top icon on the launcher.
    2. Choose to Install Ubuntu
    3. Choose to partition manually and create: 50 MB bios boot partition with bios_grub flag (reserved bios area) followed by a 200 MB EFI boot partition at the front of the drive, a swap partition of appropriate size at the end of the free space and the remaining free space as an EXT4 partition mounted as / .
    4. When choosing where to write the Boot-Loader - Choose the volume mounted as “biosgrub”. This is not going to work and will cause an error in the installation, but you will fix it later.
    5. Proceed with the installation.
    6. After all this, the installer will fail to write GRUB and give you a fatal error. The installation can go no further.
    7. Reboot using the live installation disc/USB thumb drive, connect to the Internet, install Boot Repair by opening a terminal and copy/paste the following lines one at a time followed by the enter key:
      Code:
      sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
      Code:
      sudo sed 's/trusty/saucy/g' -i /etc/apt/sources.list.d/yannubuntu-boot-repair-trusty.list
      Code:
      sudo apt-get update
      Code:
      sudo apt-get install -y boot-repair && (boot-repair &)
    8. (If needed, you will find complete instructions online here.... https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Boot-Repair .
    9. Launch Boot Repair (it may launch itself at the end of the last command above) and it will guide you on fixing the boot loader and rewriting GRUB. Note that this will switch you back from mdadm to dmraid. I had to run boot repair twice to fix everything. After it's first attempt, it said grub was not installed and suggested I try again. If Boot repair has exited, rerun it by hitting the super key (windows key...sigh) and typing boot. It's icon should appear. The second attempt did it after I installed grub on all listed hard drives when the dialog to do so appeared. Use space bar up/down and tab to select different bootable devices by putting an * inside the [ ] next to the drives you want to put grub on, tab down to the ok symbol and hit enter. The only thing I didn't put grub on was the USB key the live session was running from.
    10. Because the initial installation failed before it could complete, reboot with the live disc/USB thumb drive again and select the option to “reinstall Ubuntu”. It may seem to stall out towards the end where it says “Restoring previously installed packages...”. It took my system about 15 minutes to clear this step, but it could take longer (over an hour) depending on your system specs and Internet connection.
    11. Finally, it completes and you have the option to reboot. Don't forget to take out the live disc.
    12. You should now be booted on the RAID on your desktop.


      If someone wants to put in the experimentation time, you may be able to simplify the above, but I am just glad it worked after doing all that. I am also considering just chucking the whole install and buying a hardware RAID card, which should dramatically simplify the whole mess.


      The following is optional after you have the whole thing running. There is a GUI of sorts available to control the RAID (and damn near everything else in your system), called webmin. The example I give the first link to is for controlling RAID using mdadm, I don't know if it works with dmraid. Read more about it here: http://michal.karzynski.pl/blog/2009...ui-via-webmin/
      For total webmin info, look here: http://www.webmin.com/index.html
    Last edited by mgmiller; June 11th, 2014 at 10:11 PM. Reason: fixed typos
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    Re: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo contro

    As I mentioned above, I did get a real Hardware RAID card. It's an Adaptec RAID 6405E 2271700-R 6Gb/s SATA/SAS 4 internal ports w/ 128MB cache memory Controller Card, Kit. It's important to get the kit and not the bare card because there is a proprietary cable that attaches to the card to let you plug in your sata drives. http://www.adaptec.com/en-us/products/series/6e/

    Anyway, you install the card and plug in your drives and boot into the controllers BIOS with Ctrl A to let you set up your RAID configuration, then reboot and go into the mobos' bios and select the array you just created and put it in the correct boot order. I am using it in RAID 1 with 2 Samsung 840 EVO SSD's.

    Reboot and install Ubuntu normally. It just works.

    This card supports many Linux distros and includes drivers for them on an included CD. If you are installing Ubuntu 14.04, no drivers are needed, it's all built into the kernel. For 12.04, the drivers are on the CD.
    Using Ubuntu since Warty Warthog (4.10)
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    Re: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo contro

    Hello mgmiller,

    I am curious if your guide above would work for BIOS raid using ICH10R (x58 motherboard). It is NOT a EFI or UEFI system, its all pure old school BIOS here. The reason I ask is one of your steps (step 3) states to
    3. Choose to partition manually and create: 50 MB bios boot partition with bios_grub flag (reserved bios area) followed by a 200 MB EFI boot partition at the front of the drive, a swap partition of appropriate size at the end of the free space and the remaining free space as an EXT4 partition mounted as / .
    Also, I want to create a separate partition for Windows during this step (at least 2/3rd's of the space), but not format it since Windows 8.1 will not use it without needing to create the partition itself. Can you please advise on the changes you would try? I am coming off of 3 days of work (16 hours yesterday alone, not very happy about that lol) trying to get Ubuntu 14.04 and Windows 8.1 installed on two Samsung 840 Pro's but none of the guides I have been reading are working correctly. I tried many of the steps above but did not do step 3 correctly I believe. What I did was let Ubuntu create the partitions itself, then I backed out of the installer and used gparted to resize and create the partitions how I need them to be. During the actual install, GRUB fails of course, then I try changing it to another location and then it works. Today is my fourth day since I started this, and its now a week since I started the research. Windows breaks Ubuntu's install, then Ubuntu breaks windows install and I am going back and fourth over and over trying to fix each others problems. I never did have luck with mdadm but was successful with dmraid, not sure why. Boot-Repair is not working for me either, it keeps spitting out an error message. One interesting thing to note, is my 14.04 is installing to the raid array by default out of the box without any terminal code, it just installs (except for the GRUB error). So, if I can't get mdadm to work during the install, maybe I can get this to work with dmraid (I already did in fact), and then possibly once it is finished and working, then simply "switch over" to mdadm? Currently the machine sits in a state with Windows booting and Ubuntu not booting, but both are installed on the same array and ubuntu is using dmraid and GRUB is yet again broken, thanks to Windows. lol

    Any thoughts or tips would be appreciated. Thank you.

    Here is my BootInfo http://paste.ubuntu.com/7665391
    Last edited by SkOrPn; June 18th, 2014 at 09:32 PM.

  4. #4
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    Re: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo contro

    I spent 10 solid hours getting to the point that's documented above. I do not dual boot with Windows. I am running Ubuntu alone. If you are using a non-uefi mobo, I would skip the efi partition step. I think you are very close. You seem to have Windows installed and working and Ubuntu installed, so your partitioning is probably good. Did you do steps 7 through 10 above? Boot-repair is critical to making this work. That is what ultimately fixes grub so you can get into Ubuntu. dmraid is the default raid driver in 14.04, mdadm was only used as a temporary measure to get some kind of array that the Ubuntu installer would see. After running boot-repair twice, it switches you back to dmraid.

    Even though I was ultimately successful, I did not really trust the fakeraid. If it broke, I was concerned it would take me a horrendous amount of time to fix and since this is going to be my business file server, it has to be easy to administer. That is why I opted to get the RAID card in my previous post.
    Using Ubuntu since Warty Warthog (4.10)
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    Re: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo contro

    Yeah, I'm not trusting it either. On Windows it is a different story and I have never experienced FakeRAOD problems, but that is extreme amounts of money being poured into Intels Windows WHQL prgram, so it is extremely reliable. But with Ubuntu I have no clue the current status of the raid drivers.

    Well, I just tried your steps above and had a totally different experience. After the 10th or so install of Ubuntu, out of the blue this time I did NOT get the GRUB failure message, it just completed the install using mdadm. I Also tried creating all these bios partitions but my setup did not have any such option. So I wiped the array clean, and then simply created two partitions, one ext and the other unformatted, leaving me with only two entries. I also was forced to use gparted instead of the installation routine. At your step 6 above I was just greeted with a Congratulations Ubuntu installed and is ready to restart. So, I restarted and the system hung, lol... This time I got quite angry, and instead of launching the live session I used the boot-repair disk and tried to go that route. Everything seemed to go OK until the moment it asked me to copy paste the apt-get install routine, which the code was incorrect, and I had to change it myself to the proper code, only to discover it was going to download nearly 500 mb/s of updates. So again my changes were wrong, however after the updates it asked me to install GRUB to the proper location (I selected every location haha), and it then told me it failed to install GRUB. However, upon reboot here I am in my Working Ubuntu installation on my Intel FakeRAID and everything seems to be working great.

    Now I have to figure out how to install Windows, on the second partition gparted created, and get my employers software re-setup before I have to report to work next Monday, lol. I am worried about re-installing Windows now as that is what broke it over and over the last few days. I also need to see if its possible to migrate from this deprecated dmraid to mdadm in the meantime. Anyway thanks for the reply. I'm going to play around with this fresh Ubuntu install and get some things organized and updated.

    Oh, and yeah I want a raid card so bad, but I am going to opt for a rebranded lsi 9271-4i. They are probably the fastest cards around and only about 1/3rd the cost, if not less. Just need to figure out how to flash proper LSI firmware onto it, lol...

  6. #6
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    Re: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo contro

    You will certainly have a much easier time installing with a hardware RAID card. That being said, I looked at your link and the card pictured looks nothing like either the lsi9271-4 which is shown here...http://www.lsi.com/products/raid-con...s-9271-4i.aspx or the IBM 5110, which it purports to be seen here... http://www.redbooks.ibm.com/abstract...054.html#m5110

    The Adaptec card I am using was about $189 at Newegg and it is a genuine Adpatec product. No need to reflash or hack around with anything and I have even spoken with Adaptec support about it before I got it, to answer a few questions and they were very knowledgeable and helpful.

    I'm not sure what you're buying on e-bay, so be careful and good luck.

    After installing Windows, if the grub gets broken again, try running boot repair again.

    I'm not sure why you felt you needed to change the code that boot repair suggested. My experience with it is not extensive, so I can't comment on why it may or may not have been wrong, but you did get an odd result with your changes.
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    Re: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo contro

    Boot-Repair usually has two steps, the purge step and the install step. When I use Boot-Repair it spits out terminal code for the removal of GRUB which all works fine, but when it gets to the point of installing GRUB, it spits out incorrect code as is evidenced by the machine telling me an error code "E: Unable to locate package linux" (something along those lines). I then go back to see what it did when it purged it and I realize it is giving me the wrong code to put into the terminal, otherwise it would have worked, lol. So, I edit it and it then works properly and GRUB is fixed. The command Boot-Repair gives me that fails is below

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install -y --force-yes grub-pc linux*
    The one that works that I edited myself is

    Code:
    sudo apt-get install -y --force-yes grub-pc
    This is of course only when I have Ubuntu installed, and not windows. Once I install Windows and re-launch the Live Ubuntu everything in Boot-Repair is then completely different and completely broken. And further if I use the installed version of Boot-Repair or the Disk version, each version gives out different repair code. So obviously it does not like something about my machine. Anyway, I just found a completely new dual boot guide specifically for 14.04 and Win 8.1, so I am going to give that a try today, and pray it works with FakeRAID. OH, I just noticed in the comments that I am not the only one with Boot-Repair problems, others are getting the same error message I am. Proof that it must be the combination of 14.04 and Win 8.1.

    http://www.everydaylinuxuser.com/201...l#comment-form

    I already installed Windows a dozen times over the last 5 days, and each time Boot-Repair would not fix it, after entering each code it gives me all I get in response are these error messages. Its time for another approach, not the same one that repeatedly fails. And when I gave up on Boot-Repair I tried using EasyBCD and it completely killed my windows install, lol... I'm going to stop using these easy UI fix methods and just use the terminal from here on out...

  8. #8
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    Re: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo contro

    I am glad I don't dual boot. In general, aren't you supposed to install Windows first and then do the Ubuntu install? It sounds like you are doing the opposite. I am also wondering how you are installing Windows 8.1 in an old, non UEFI bios. I thought that was a requirement.

    My final thoughts were have you considered running Windows in a vm within Ubuntu or Ubuntu in a vm in Windows? Have you considered a wubi install (I know that's not ideal because you will be running Ubuntu in NTFS).

    Good luck.
    Using Ubuntu since Warty Warthog (4.10)
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    Re: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo contro

    Quote Originally Posted by mgmiller View Post
    As I mentioned above, I did get a real Hardware RAID card. It's an Adaptec RAID 6405E 2271700-R 6Gb/s SATA/SAS 4 internal ports w/ 128MB cache memory Controller Card, Kit.
    ...
    I am using it in RAID 1 with 2 Samsung 840 EVO SSD's.
    The problem with that, and the reason I didn't finally give up on software RAID and go with a RAID card, is no TRIM support.

    No TRIM support is a problem. SSDs internally shuffle used blocks around to prolong the life of each... "memory cell," let's call them. Without TRIM, the SSD(s) will actually shuffle-around data blocks that are unused, thus potentially decreasing service life, rather than increasing it. Without TRIM, you'll also eventually begin to lose performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by mgmiller View Post
    I spent 10 solid hours getting to the point that's documented above.
    I spent considerably more time than that, messing with dmraid (which actually just worked, right out of the box--but it's deprecated, so...), and mdraid. I was trying to get mdraid working with my FakeRAID array. Finally gave up and went with native Linux RAID.

    Quote Originally Posted by mgmiller View Post
    I do not dual boot with Windows. I am running Ubuntu alone.
    So why not just use native Linux RAID? Works like a champ, and supports TRIM for RAID levels 0, 1 and 5 (at least).

    With RAID1 (mirrored, which is what I'm doing), you can even let /boot be in the RAID array.

    I, also, am using a Z87-A mobo (Asus), btw.

    Jim

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    Re: How to install Ubuntu 14.04 in software RAID 1 with Intel Z87 chipset mobo contro

    Yeah, it seems many people overlook the extreme importance of automatic TRIM functions. My Intel FakeRAID has TRIM enabled and is every bit as fast and stable as native Linux RAID. However, it is NOT anywhere near as good as a real RAID card as mgmiller has, but you can do manual TRIM functions I am sure. I know it is easily possible on Windows, so I assume it is on Ubuntu as well.

    Well, I tried the mdadm install steps above just to see if it would install/migrate in a working dmraid environment and wow, I did not expect it to just work out of the box like that. It makes me suspicious and wondering if I am really in a RAID0 environment at the moment. Is there any way to test my internal transfer speeds (should be around 500 MB/s), or look at the raided set in a UI or terminal command?

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