CentOS 7 install not showing any drives on Dell Server

Once again the problem rears its head – Current CentOS 7.4 (1708) fails to see drives on a Dell machine.

Now I have been through this wild adventure before and wasted a GREAT deal of time (due to the UEFI BIOS and LifeCycleController taking 5 mins to POST – advancement is GREAT isn’t it?) with an R430 that was unable to see drives (SSD) in caddies that were attached via the S grade (as opposed to H – Hardware, and Software – ie ‘pretend RAID controller) onboard controller. No, matter, how, you, cut it, with options – it just didn’t see them. It transpires – other OS – no problem. Hardware controller – no problem. I just left it there. ACHI, ATA, RAID, nonRAID – it cares not. Dell machine sees no drives.

However, we are now seeing the same with PowerEdge R200‘s and 860‘s. Yes – the correct answer there is STOP USING THEM – but some people still do, and they need a reinstall or someone wants a dedicated server and they are – shall we say – ‘value oriented‘.

Now it COULD be that they never did work with CentOS7 without a hardware controller of the era. However collective memory says that is not the case – and that would be ‘silly’. Given the way that Linux works, we are as likely to have support for a card for one of my much loved MCA IBM machines a you are for the shiny shiny you have.

Attempting to boot from an older version of CentOS also fails. While Dell support RHEL – they do not support CentOS. The current RHEL is also 7.4 (August 2017) – so CentOS 7.4 should also work. Right? Yes.

Ubuntu? Okay, lets just check it’s not a disk issue. Nope – there they are – disks – as expected.

Updating the Dell firmware to the most current release from ISO burned to CD – still no dice.

SOLUTION

The solution was easy enough. ADD A HARDWARE CONTROLLER.

We are all adamant that 860’s and 200’s worked in the past.

I am sure they did.

Back then many of them were fitted with the original iDRAC (like the HP/Compaq iLO) – which was a card in the PCIe socket – and above that went the SAS5 controller.

SAS5 controllers quite often popped their caps (easy enough to replace if you are that way inclined) – and were removed.

We have boxes of LSI ARM controller based Dell SAS5 (MPT family of controllers so tools and stats installable from APT – and possibly YUM) controllers taking up space in the cupboards.

So a quick install – and there we are.

Hardware RAID1 (of sorts – no patrolling for example) as opposed to software from the motherboard…. as CentOS clearly cannot see them – end of.

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