Install and boot Linux on BladeCenter S from an attached disk

Configure a SUSE 10 boot disk for the first BladeCenter that combines server and storage

The IBM® BladeCenter® S chassis is the first IBM BladeCenter to integrate server and storage. In this article, learn how to install SUSE Linux® 10 on the blade's attached disk and then how to boot the blade server from the attached disk.

Da Shuang He, Software Engineer, IBM

Da Shuang He is a software engineer at the IBM China Development Lab in Shanghai, China. He is currently working on system management software; he focuses on creating self-bootable servers, remote operation system installation, and power management.



06 May 2008

Also available in Russian

The IBM BladeCenter S is the newest BladeCenter designed for small and medium businesses. It is also the first BladeCenter to integrate the server and storage systems. This article shows you how to install SUSE Linux 10 on the BladeCenter S attached disks and then boot the blade from the operating system so the blade can work without a local disk. This makes it easier for users to implement high-availability systems and to migrate an application from one server to another just by remapping the disk from one blade to another blade.

Step 1. Check the storage and blade status

In this step, you check whether the storage status is okay and if the blade can use the attached disks.

Check the storage status

Log in to the IBM BladeCenter Advanced Management Module and click the system status. Scroll down to the I/O Modules section and:

  1. Check whether the SAS Connectivity Module's status is OK.
  2. Check whether the status of Storage Module 1 is OK.
  3. Check whether the status of disk 1 on Storage Module 1 is OK.

Map the first disk on Storage Module 1 to the blade 1, and determine that their statuses are OK (as shown in Figure 1).

Figure 1. Storage status
Storage status

Can the blade use the attached disks?

Click the I/O compatibility link shown in Figure 1 and then check whether the Compatibility Status of blade 1 is OK. Figure 2 shows the status is OK; it means that the first blade can use the storage in the BladeCenter S.

Figure 2. Blade I/O compatibility
Blade I/O compatibility

Let's install the OS on the attached disks from the first blade and boot the first blade from it, so you only need to check the compatibility status of the first blade.

For a blade to use the BladeCenter S attached disks, you should install an SAS daughter card; the SAS daughter will make sure the blade has another disk controller that attaches the BladeCenter S attached disks to the blade.

Now let's map the disk to the blade.


Step 2. Map the disk to the blade

First map the first disk on Storage Module 1 to the first blade.

Log in to the SAS Connectivity Module Web interface

Click the node Zoning under the node Configuration; we choose the user-defined zoning configuration so we can edit the configuration. In this case, we'll use the configuration User Defined Config 03.

In Figure 3, notice the zone group ID of the first blade is 34, and zone group ID of disk 1 on the first storage module is 61:

Figure 3. Use the user-defined configuration
Use the user-defined configuration

Map disk 1 on the DSS 1 to blade 1

To map disk 1 on the DSS 1 to blade 1:

  1. Click the tab Basic Zone Permission Table.
  2. Choose the zone group ID 34, which is the group ID of the first blade; all the mapped information of this blade is shown in that table.
  3. Select zone group ID 61, which is the group ID of disk 1 on the Storage Module 1 in the permission table.
  4. Click the button Add to Permission Table to add the disk 1 to the permission table of blade 1.

Now you've mapped the first disk on Storage Module 1 to the first blade, and the zoning configuration has been updated (as shown in Figure 4):

Figure 4. Mapping the disk to the blade
Mapping the disk to the blade

Activate the new configuration

After updating the zone configuration, you need to activate the new configuration by clicking the button Activate this Configuration. Next you see the message "Zone configuration has been successfully activated" as shown in Figure 5:

Figure 5. Activating the zone configuration
Activating the zone configuration

Now you have successfully mapped the first disk on Storage Module 1 to the first blade. Now let's configure the blade as bootable.


Step 3. Configure the mapped disk as boot media

In this step, you configure the LSI controller to make sure the blade can boot from the attached disk.

Enter LSI controller configuration interface

Power on the blade. During the blade boot process, you see the screen in Figure 6:

Figure 6. Blade boot screen
Blade boot screen

Press keys Ctrl+C to enter the LSI Controller Configuration screen.

Configure attached disk as bootable

Select the controller of the SAS daughter "SAS1064" as shown in Figure 7 and then press Enter to see the controller configuration screen.

Figure 7. LSI controller configuration screen
LSI controller configuration screen

Change the boot support option

In the LSI controller configuration screen, choose Boot Support, and then click Enter to change the value to "Enabled BIOS & OS" as shown in Figure 8:

Figure 8. Single LSI controller configuration screen
Single LSI controller configuration screen

This option will enable the blade to boot from the BladeCenter S attached disk.


Step 4. Start the OS install

Now let's install the operating system in five relatively easy steps:

  1. Put the OS image CD into the CD-ROM drive.
  2. Change the blade boot sequence to make sure the first boot media is the CD-ROM drive.
  3. Boot the blade from the CD to start the installation of the OS.
  4. After the blade is booted, choose the installation. The installation process will start the OS installation on the attached disk. Use all the default settings and just wait for the installation process to finish.
  5. After successfully installing the OS, change the blade boot sequence to make the first boot media the hard disk and reboot the blade again. The blade will boot into the OS installed on the attached disk.

Step 5. Resolve any installation errors

Errors can happen even in the best installs. The most common error yields this message:

The partitioning on disk /dev/sda is not readable by the partitioning tool parted, which is used to change the partition table.

To solve this error:

  1. After the blade is booted, return to the LSI configuration screen as shown in Figure 8.
  2. Choose the option SAS Topology and then press Enter. The topology is shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9. Storage module selection screen
Storage module selection screen
  1. In the screen in Figure 9, choose the DSS1 and then press Enter to see the disk attached (Figure 10).
Figure 10. Storage disk selection screen
Storage disk selection screen
  1. After you choose the disk as shown in Figure 10, press keys Alt+D to see the disk operation menu panel as shown in Figure 11.
Figure 11. Storage disk operation menu
Storage disk operation menue
  1. Choose the Format option as shown in Figure 11. Then you see the disk format screen as in Figure 12.
Figure 12. Storage disk format screen
Storage disk format screen
  1. Press F to start the formatting of the disk; the formatting process is shown in Figure 13.
Figure 13. Storage disk formatting screen
Storage disk formatting screen
  1. After the disk is formatted, return to the previous screen as shown in Figure 11. This time, choose Verify to verify the disk and make sure there is no error on the disk; the disk verification screen is shown in Figure 14.
Figure 14. Storage disk verification screen
Storage disk verification screen

After the disk has been formatted and verified, you can start the OS installation again, and this error will disappear.

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