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Old 17th October 2013
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Default OpenBSD 5.3 installation on SuperMicro system board

Hi,

I'm wondering if anyone has any experience in running OpenBSD on a SuperMicro system board.

My board is:

http://www.supermicro.nl/products/mo...C600/X9SRi.cfm

and have set it up to do RAID1.

My issue is that the RAID volume doesn't detect.....

I'm actually trying to do the install from the "live-usb" version of OpenBSD so I don't know if that's got something to do with it or if simply OpenBSD doesn't have the correct driver for the RAID controller?? {haven't checked the HCL yet}

I actually haven't tested using AHCI though that will be my next step.

The BIOS definitely detects the drives which are Corsair 120GB SSD's hooked onto the SATA III connectors.

Also I'm not sure if the USB installer is using a 32bit or 64bit kernel as there is no definitive reference anywhere, however, it seems to hint at 32bit by stating i386 so I don't know if that's the issue...?

Maybe by using Live-usb I've made my life more complicated then it has to be however, since I couldn't find a USB installer image of OpenBSD 5.3 x64 I thought this was my best bet - I'm not a fan of CD installs though might have to go that way if necessary.

Would anyone be able to give me any advice?

Thanks.

[EDIT]

can confirm AHCI mode working..... am wondering if then the RAID isn't supported? :-( would need to setup SoftRAID instead at that stage.

[EDIT]

just did a demo install using one disk and AHCI mode.... after boot into OpenBSD the system just shuts off?? Maybe it's using 32bit after all and is incompatible with the systemboard....

Last edited by sparky; 17th October 2013 at 08:29 PM.
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Old 17th October 2013
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Just a bit of digging here and looks like Intel E5 devices now supported:

Quote:
Additional Intel E5 pci(4) devices recognised, as found on Supermicro X9DRT-HIBFF.
http://www.openbsd.org/plus52.html

however is that just cpu and chipset and/or RAID controller too???

Ok so now I think I'm gona try a CD....... and do it the "by book" way and see if that works.... though this is probably easier then then my SPARC net install - that took a while to figure out how to do!
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Old 17th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky View Post
Maybe by using Live-usb I've made my life more complicated then it has to be however, since I couldn't find a USB installer image of OpenBSD 5.3 x64...
You didn't specify what live image you are using (as there are third-party projects which create these...), however the project's official FAQ provides information on how you can create one yourself:

http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq14.html#flashmemLive

My suggestion is to install a recent snapshot of -current. Snapshots of -current can be found at /pub/OpenBSD/snapshots/amd64 at most mirror sites.

If you continue to experience problems & decide to escalate this as an official problem report:

http://www.openbsd.org/report.html

...the first question the project developers will ask is whether you have tested with a recent snapshot.
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Old 18th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky View Post
Also I'm not sure if the USB installer is using a 32bit or 64bit kernel as there is no definitive reference anywhere, however, it seems to hint at 32bit by stating i386 so I don't know if that's the issue...?
The machine types i386 and amd64 denote the 32-bit and 64-bit Intel/AMD architectures, respectively.
Quote:
Maybe by using Live-usb I've made my life more complicated then it has to be however, since I couldn't find a USB installer image of OpenBSD 5.3 x64 I thought this was my best bet - I'm not a fan of CD installs though might have to go that way if necessary.

Would anyone be able to give me any advice?
If an optical drive or diskette drive (...shudder...) are not at hand, installs on bare-metal i386/amd64 platforms are normally conducted in one of these two ways:
  • network boot with PXE
  • boot from USB
PXE booting is described in pxeboot(8) and in brief: you just need one or two servers that provides DHCP and TFTP on the local network. The server(s) need not be the same architecture or OS, and the TFTP server needs only serve two files: the pxeboot bootloader for OpenBSD and the OpenBSD bsd.rd kernel.

Booting from USB requires an existing OpenBSD system, in order to create a bootable USB drive -- whether a real drive or a stick, if the i386/amd64 BIOS can boot from USB, that's all that's needed. The bootable drive can be created with fdisk(8), disklabel(8), newfs(8), and installboot(8), and have a copy of the bsd.rd kernel on it. It need not be a complete OpenBSD system.
Quote:
Maybe it's using 32bit after all and is incompatible with the systemboard....
I don't think so. All 64-bit Intel/AMD CPUs I'm aware of are able to execute the 32-bit instruction set.

Edited to add:

The installboot program requires the admin to have previously copied the second stage bootloader (boot) to the drive. It installs and then configures the first stage bootloader (biosboot) in the Partition Boot Record (PBR). Both of these files are stored in /usr/mdec with the installboot program.

Last edited by jggimi; 18th October 2013 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 18th October 2013
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Thanks for the responses!!

@ocicat the image I was using is this one:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/live...mg.7z/download

Download USB Install disk image

But I'll give 5.4 a go and see if that's any better though not sure how stable it's gona be, however from www.openbsd.org I see that it's almost getting to become RELEASE version.

@jggimi

Thanks for the tips.... I'm sorry if I wasn't clear in my last posting which probably made me sound clueless on x86/amd64 systems however, I have a substantial Linux/FreeBSD based network on x64 architecture.... just get into <panic> mode with OpenBSD for some reason though at present I run it on SPARC as my primary router/firewall/etc.....

Quote:
I don't think so. All 64-bit Intel/AMD CPUs I'm aware of are able to execute the 32-bit instruction set.
I agree that 64bit systems are backwards compatible with 32bit though will only see upto 4GB RAM however, I remember reading something on the OpenBSD FAQ stating that some h/w was only supported on amd64 arch?? Perhaps just bad memory!!

The issue of shutting down straight away maybe compatibility or simply a bad checksum of the image....

I'll go down the official route of installing from CD for now and seeing if that makes things better, though will be 5.4 current over 5.3 (just for later + maybe more drivers etc...).

Though I really don't like CD's.... it's such a waste of money/material.... but then I want/need the system up and running so don't wana spend time building my own USB boot disk.
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Old 18th October 2013
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Quote:
Though I really don't like CD's.... it's such a waste of money/material.... but then I want/need the system up and running so don't wana spend time building my own USB boot disk.
There are some other install options
4.1 - Overview of the OpenBSD installation procedure
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Quote:
There are some other install options
As discussed previously, PXE or USB..... and some others probably..... :-)

Have gone disk method now and install 5.4 x64 (AMD64 though always use term x64 to indicate 64bit Intel/AMD - so not sticking to common denomination).

5.4 is stable though still not capable of detecting the RAID setup.... :-(

Have installed using AHCI (hot swap) method provided by system board and seems fine.

Just wondering if I should contact the devs about the RAID or if I should just go ahead and use the SoftRAID mentioned from here:

http://www.openbsd.org/cgi-bin/man.c...=4&format=html

??

Regards.
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Old 18th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky View Post
But I'll give 5.4 a go and see if that's any better though not sure how stable it's gona be, however from www.openbsd.org I see that it's almost getting to become RELEASE version.
It does not appear that you are familiar with OpenBSD's flavors. Studying Section 5.1 of the official FAQ is in order.

Yes, the release of OpenBSD 5.4-release is currently scheduled for the end of October. I have not read of any manufacturing issues in the official mailing lists to indicate that the current release date will not be honored.

Outside of CD manufacturing issues, there shouldn't be, because the code base for OpenBSD 5.4-release was frozen mid-August because of the lead time needed to get CD's pressed before the 1 November release date. A new CVS tag in the code repository was created at the point of the code freeze.

Having said that, development of OpenBSD continues at the head of CVS. This is where snapshots of -current are created. Recent snapshots of -current will contain ~1.5 months of additional work past what is in 5.4-release. There is no final testing being made on 5.4-release. As far as the project developers are concerned, 5.4-release is history. Some may say ancient history.

The value of official releases is that they are known tagged points in CVS. A modicum of time is spent on ensuring that releases work over & above any particular snapshot. Snapshots of -current are known only if the source code is downloaded at the same time, because snapshots are not tagged. If a problem is found in a snapshot, knowing what the code is which generated the problem is not entirely clear unless the head of CVS was checked at the same time.

At some periodic time ( usually daily for the i386 & amd64 platforms...), snapshots are created from whatever code is found at the head of CVS. The times between snapshots for the other platforms are typically longer.

The point to take away from this discussion is that the latest code is always in -current. Although at the time of writing, OpenBSD 5.4-release is still to be officially released, snapshots of -current today are still newer than the impending release to be made at the end of October.
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Old 18th October 2013
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One more comment on the development cycle -- Releases occur twice per year. Each represents approximately four months of heavy development, then two months of heavy testing. During the test period, development is intentionally cut back -- new functionality is effectively excluded. Patches continue for break/fix.

So, taking 5.4 as an example, development work began in February, about two months before 5.3 was released. and ceased in June, while break/fix patches continued into July and August.

From a support perspective, 5.4 is currently unsupported. Bug reports will not be accepted against 5.4-release until the day of release. Support for 5.4 will continue with patches in the -stable branch (and any major patches published as errata), until the release of 5.6, which is expected on or about November 1, 2014.
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Quote:
...should just go ahead and use the SoftRAID...
Softraid should be a branch discussion -- please see this thread for a very recent discussion of what's considered production ready vs. experimental. TL;DR - don't use RAID4/5 in production, RAID1 works well.

Last edited by jggimi; 18th October 2013 at 02:36 PM. Reason: corrected link
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Old 18th October 2013
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Thanks so much for the information..... I really appreciate that!

I guess it's part of the reason why I always panic with OpenBSD as it's so involved and if one doesn't follow the system regularly, one can easily get lost.

Having glossed through:

http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq5.html

it looks like I am on "stable"??

And according the guide I can upgrade to "current" using:

Code:
Following -current
In this case, we will assume we are using a public AnonCVS server, anoncvs@anoncvs.example.org:/cvs. We will also assume you are using sh(1) as your command shell, if you are using a different shell, you will have to adjust some of these commands.
To checkout a -current CVS src tree, you can use the following:

    # cd /usr
    # export CVSROOT=anoncvs@anoncvs.example.org:/cvs
    # cvs -d$CVSROOT checkout -P src
Once you have a tree, you can update it at a later time:

    # cd /usr/src
    # export CVSROOT=anoncvs@anoncvs.example.org:/cvs
    # cvs -d$CVSROOT up -Pd
the only issue am worried about with 'current' is how stable is it?

At the beginning of Section 5. it talks about bug fixes and patches applied to 'stable' and 'release' branches.

Basically is 'current' ready to be run in production? - or should I just continue running 5.4 and send my dmesg to the email given in the FAQ and hope that in the later releases the driver or fix gets implemented?
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Old 18th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky View Post
Having glossed through...
And that's why you have questions.
Quote:
it looks like I am on "stable"??
If you do not use CVS to build the system from source, you are not using -stable.
Quote:
And according the guide I can upgrade to "current" using...
No. You must start by installing or upgrading to the most recent snapshot.

Source upgrades to -current are only supported when built from the most recent snapshot. The procedure to follow, to use -current, is to...

Install the most recent snapshot, or upgrade to the most recent snapshot. If the latter, you must review the Following -current FAQ and make any manual changes required. Most of these changes will be included in the upgrade ... but not all. In particular, the time_t change will require an effort on your part to upgrade through. That set of instructions you should not gloss over.

Once at -current, you may either upgrade from snapshot to snapshot, or you may maintain via source.

Last edited by jggimi; 18th October 2013 at 03:12 PM. Reason: clarity, typo
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Quote:
the only issue am worried about with 'current' is how stable is it?

At the beginning of Section 5. it talks about bug fixes and patches applied to 'stable' and 'release' branches.

Basically is 'current' ready to be run in production? - or should I just continue running 5.4 and send my dmesg to the email given in the FAQ and hope that in the later releases the driver or fix gets implemented?
Many people use -current in production. I do. But not everyone does.

You already understand that -current is the development branch. What that means:
  • Fixes are applied to -current first. After that, and only if they are applicable to the most recent two releases and do not change libraries or functionality, are fixes developed and committed for -stable, and then if deemed important published as errata. Fixes are sometimes developed first on -stable due to a bug report, but this relatively rare. And in that event, they are usually tested with -current before being committed.
  • New functionality is introduced only in -current. And of course, new functionality introduces bugs. But the risk is not eliminated with the other flavors, it is merely lower. Even break/fix patches will occasionally introduce regressions.
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Old 18th October 2013
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Quote:
And that's why you have questions.
Plus lack of experience!! :-)

So according to my thorough reading of these:

http://www.openbsd.org/faq/faq5.html

http://www.openbsd.org/faq/upgrade53.html

http://www.openbsd.org/plus.html

I have installed a 'snapshot' of OpenBSD 5.4.... using the install54.iso - am I correct?

So would I need to upgrade this as it looks to me like the latest snapshot, having taken it off my local mirrors: /pub/OpenBSD/snapshots/amd64/ directed as suggested earlier.

But more to the point.... if the h/w based RAID subsystem is not being detected by the installer then it doesn't matter if I run current or snapshot or release does it? As from my (lack of) understanding there is no install.iso for 'current' as it's distributed via CVS, so my only options seem to be using either SoftRAID which reading through the link I posted above needs to be setup pre-install (again to my (lack of) understanding :-) ) or doing a simple:

Code:
dd if=/disk1 of=/disk2
Then if one disk goes down, boot from the other......


Btw, thanks for everyone's patience..... I found out the hard way about reading through the docs multiple times in order to find out how to do things when I did my SPARC install ages ago. I'm just happy that no one has got frustrated with my lack of understanding/knowledge yet - or at least that they're being extra nice about it :-)

[EDIT]
Bottom line is that OpenBSD 5.4 is installed at present and seems to be pretty stable.... my worry is not about which version am running but the H/W RAID controller. If it really makes no difference as to the detection of it then I can just continue from where I am now building up the system and installing it into the network.

Last edited by sparky; 18th October 2013 at 03:41 PM.
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Old 18th October 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sparky View Post
I have installed a 'snapshot' of OpenBSD 5.4.... using the install54.iso - am I correct?
Nope. That's -current; 2.5 months beyond 5.4-release.
Quote:
.... if the h/w based RAID subsystem is not being detected by the installer then it doesn't matter if I run current or snapshot or release does it?
You are correct. It does not. But to clarify, a snapshot is -current. It is just an older -current than what you could build yourself from source. (I used to build -current from source. I don't any longer, unless I have a specific need. My normal maintenance is to upgrade from snapshot to snapshot.)
Quote:
As from my (lack of) understanding there is no install.iso for 'current' as it's distributed via CVS, so my only options seem to be using either SoftRAID which reading through the link I posted above needs to be setup pre-install (again to my (lack of) understanding :-) ) or doing a simple:

Code:
dd if=/disk1 of=/disk2
Then if one disk goes down, boot from the other......
You have other choices. While you can (with prior knowledge of the steps) create one or more softraid arrays and install directly onto it/them from the bsd.rd RAMDISK kernel, you don't necessarily need to. OpenBSD has an /altroot facility. FAQ 4 says:
Quote:
You may also want to create an /altroot partition, as described in daily(8). This can make a daily copy of your / partition, giving you an extra copy of your kernel and /etc configuration files should something happen to your root partition. Obviously, the /altroot partition needs to be at least as big as /. If you have a second drive and have something else duplicating the rest of your disk, either software softraid(4) or a periodic copy using dump(8)/restore(8), this disk can be bootable after the removal of the primary disk.
More details on /altroot can be found in FAQ 14.
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Old 18th October 2013
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Such a shame about the RAID but the /alroot sounds like a good idea.... though will need to do reading on it :-)

Many thanks for all ideas and experienced insight! I really need to spend more time with OpenBSD, the problem is that it's just too stable; once you configure and get it running that's it you don't need to touch your box in months unless something needs configuring or upgrading.
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Quote:
Such a shame about the RAID ...
I'm sorry your hardware RAID controller is not recognized.

For a RAID1 array, though, what would your hardware RAID be doing for you that softraid(4) doesn't do? Remember, hardware RAID is just software RAID in firmware.
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Quote:
For a RAID1 array, though, what would your hardware RAID be doing for you that softraid(4) doesn't do? Remember, hardware RAID is just software RAID in firmware.
Making my life less complicated :-P

Set RAID up in the BIOS then install OpenBSD onto the RAID volume and I'm done! Time for configuring and building. :-)

This might sound like a really dumb question after everything that has been said/read/ and posted but is it possible to install SoftRAID post install?

Of course Google'ing is my next step after pressing submit but just wanted to see.....

[EDIT]

Yep looks like a really dumb question I ask.... :-(

Seems to need to be done first: http://www.perkin.org.uk/posts/insta...-softraid.html
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Old 18th October 2013
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Yes, you can create softraid arrays at any time. FAQ 14 will be your friend. Note these additional comments regarding RAID, from FAQ 14:
Quote:
Some words on RAID in general:

  • Before implementing any RAID solution, understand what it will and will not do for you. It is not a replacement for a good backup strategy. It will not keep your system running through every hardware failure. It may not keep your system running through a simple disk failure. In the case of software RAID, it won't guarantee the ability to boot from the surviving drive if your computer could not otherwise do so.
  • Before going into production, you must understand how you use your RAID solution to recover from failures. The time to do this is BEFORE your system has had a failure event. Poorly implemented RAID will often cause more down time than it will prevent. This is even more true if it has caused you to become complacent on your backups or other disaster planning.
  • The bigger your RAIDed partitions are, the longer it will take to recover from an "event". In other words, this is an especially bad time to allocate all of your cheap 500G drives just because they are there. Remirroring 500G drives takes a much longer time than mirroring the 4G that you actually use. One advantage of software mirroring is one can control how much of those "huge" drives is actually used in a RAID set.
  • There is a reflex to try to RAID as much of your system as possible. Mirroring your boot partition in a software RAID system is difficult, and often pointless, as most PC hardware has difficulty booting from any drive other than its primary boot drive. Even hardware which CAN boot from other drives will often have difficulty determining when a drive has failed to avoid booting from it. OpenBSD's "altroot" system can actually be BETTER for some applications, as it provides a copy of old configuration information in case a change does not work quite as intended.
  • RAID provides redundancy only for the disk system. Many applications need more redundancy than just the disks, and for some applications, RAID can be just added complication, rather than a real benefit. An example of this is a CARP'd set of firewalls provide complete fail over redundancy. In this case, adding RAID (either via hardware or softraid) is just added complication.
Where I use boot-on-RAID and root-on-RAID -- note that they're not exactly the same thing -- I always confirm that I can control via BIOS configuration which physical drive is used for booting.
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Old 18th October 2013
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Yep... those comments are good... RAID1 was what I am after anyway. Otherwise all my backups are kept in 2 places; a large ZFS pool running on FreeBSD and another drive over NFS as fulltime "disaster recovery". Ok off to the wiki for me :-)

[EDIT] I mean FAQ...
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