Got myself a free Xserve & XRAID

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by NOTNlCE, Nov 15, 2014.

  1. NOTNlCE, Nov 15, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2014

    NOTNlCE macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #1
    Hello all -
    Recently acquired a 1,1 Intel Xserve, which I promptly installed OS X Yosemite on using Piker Alpha's boot.efi. Now that it's set up and running Server, I've got some issues to sort.

    First of all, the Xserve only seems to recognize a single bay. Yosemite is installed on a 500GB hard drive in "Bay 3" - simply because that was the only bay it will recognize. The other drives are fine. I've even tried using different drives in the bays to make sure. However, their port doesn't show up in the device tree under System Profiler, and Disk Utility doesn't acknowledge their presence. And for that matter, neither does DCPIManager. It's like they're not even there.

    Next, I need a clarification on my Fibre Card. I'm using an LSI17204EP-LC (Non Mac Edition) and I cannot communicate with my XRAID because it says that my "Copper Passive" cable is not supported with this card. Now, that's not a huge issue, I'm fine getting another cable, but I have no idea what to purchase. Can someone send an ebay link or at least the proper type of cable to get, since the one that came with the XRAID seems to be invalid?

    EDIT 1:

    It appears (according to this article) that I need a 4Gb Fibre Cable to support my 4Gb Fibre Card, even though the Xserve will only negotiate a 2Gb Link Speed. Fine and easy fix, hopefully - I've placed an order for two which should be here Saturday.

    EDIT 2:

    I've placed another order for 4 more XRAID drive bays- a steal at $25 shipped. I don't think I'll need them, but if I ever want to add storage, I'll have the ability to do so.

    Thanks in advance.

    -N
     
  2. jamall macrumors regular

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    #2
    Hi NOTNICE,
    with regards to your drives not being recognised, I've had great difficulty getting newer SATA3 drives to work properly in my 08 Xserve. Most SATA3 spinning platter drives have jumpers that let you slow down the interface which often works, but many SSDs lack this feature. I've got a 120 GB Intel 520 series drive in at the moment, which is recognised most of the time after a cold boot and 100% of the time after a warm boot, but haven't had any success getting it to recognise a pair of Samsung 840 Evos which I picked up cheaply. I'm not sure if there are different versions of the SAS drive caddies because I've got several that will pretty much only work with Apple supplied drives and a couple that are far less picky.
     
  3. NOTNlCE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #3
    Thanks, Jamall. I didn't think about that. The drives I'm using currently were out of a NAS storage device that was given to me. The PSU in that died, and I never bothered to check the drives, I just knew they were all 500GB. I'll give it a check when I get off work this evening. However, even if the drives weren't recognized, wouldn't the SAS channels still appear in System Profiler? I suppose that the drive jumpers would explain why only that single drive is visible to OS X.
     
  4. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #4
    If they are Western Digital drives I have a PDF file describing the jumper settings and how to downclock them to SATA I.
     
  5. NOTNlCE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #5
    They actually are WD drives. How would I go about doing this?
     
  6. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #6
    The information is available here. You want to set your jumpers to #4 on the first page.
     
  7. jamall, Nov 19, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014

    jamall macrumors regular

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    #7
    To confirm it's a disk compatibility issue and not something worse, check that your drive caddies are being seen by the OS (I'm already assuming you're getting the green power lights at the top left corner of each caddy when they're inserted) by opening Console.app and making sure you get a couple of lines of output whenever you insert or remove a drive. Even an empty caddy talks to the OS. I'm not in front of my Xserve right now so can't tell you exactly what it spits out, but it's related to the disk I/O and you'll know it when you see it. It hasn't been mentioned yet and you seem to have a fairly solid grasp of the technical side of things, so please don't be offended by me asking the bleeding obvious (mostly for the benefit of anyone troubleshooting their Xserve and stumbling across this thread), but I presume you're already well aware of the difference between the connectors on the SAS caddies from the Xserve and the PATA caddies from the Xserve RAID and their non-interchangeability?
     
  8. NOTNlCE, Nov 20, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014

    NOTNlCE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #8
    Yes, not only are the RAID caddies different in connection, they're also a bit larger in size. I have the day off today, so I'll be messing with the Xserve this afternoon. Yes, the hard drive lights show green power, and even occasional disk activity (blue indicator underneath the green light). I haven't had much time to look into it yet, but I'll keep reporting back throughout the day. I think I'll also try to insert one of the 80GB SATA drives that the Xserve shipped with and see if that's recognized. I hid them away somewhere...

    On another note - my Fibre Cables should arrive today. Hopefully I can get the RAID box up and running as well.

    Thanks again for all the help.
    -N

    EDIT:

    Well, folks. It appears the main hard disk is dead. Also, I think my first two bays are dead as well. I swapped caddies around to see if the drives are recognized and it was only recognized in Bay 3. Which makes me think that my first two SAS bays are dead. I'll grab a new disk and do a reinstall, but I would really like to do the install on a RAID 5 array, obviously not doable with two dead drive bays. Any recommendation on how to fix the channels? The disks are for sure spinning up, I just don't think that they're receiving data.

    EDIT2:

    Leopard server is installed on the original 80GB disks that came with the Xserve. It appears to be in a RAID array between two of the disks, and it booted up fine, showing blue lights on the two disks, which makes me think that maybe (?) it is a disk compatibility issue? I'm going to create another Yosemite installer and try different thinks.

    EDIT 3:

    Ah, it appears that OS X doesn't support RAID 5 installs.
    Altemose, your solution worked perfectly! All three bays are operational with the 500GB drives with SATA 1 jumpers! However, now that I can't run a 1TB RAID 5 array for OS X, I'm wondering if that's even the best option here...

    EDIT 4:

    The Xserve won't boot into Yosemite with the GeForce 405 installed. Of course, I can remove the card and boot, but then I have no graphics acceleration. PRAM reset does not fix, have to physically remove the card. Any advice?
    In other news, the hard drive isn't dead. Simply in a boot loop because of the GeForce card.

    EDIT 5:

    Alright. Up and running without graphics acceleration. It's pretty bad. I'll grab a spare GPU tomorrow and stick that in instead of this troublesome GeForce 405. Mail hasn't arrived yet. Hopefully Fibre Cables will be here.
     
  9. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #9
    That's what experience of working on older computers gets you, the little overlooked tricks that make things work. RAID settings really depend on what you want to do with your Xserve.
     
  10. jamall macrumors regular

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    #10
    Remember you'll only get 150 MB/sec throughput through those SAS interfaces. You can spend $50 on the bay and get a PCIe card that let's you mount a bootable 2.5in drive on it with full SATA3 speed. The three archeological digs at the front are best left to big, slow, reliable drives.

    Regarding your graphics, can you be a bit more specific about the card you're trying to use, I have some experience with unlikely hardware combinations.
     
  11. NOTNlCE, Nov 22, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2014

    NOTNlCE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #11
    I was previously attempting to use a GeForce 405, which is a great low profile, low energy (and low performance) card. To set up Yosemite, I used a Radeon 6450 in the Xserve (which also is NOW not working with the Xserve) but which both function without issue in my 06 Mac Pro. I'm think I may have messed something up in the Xserve :eek:

    EDIT:

    With the 405, the Xserve just reboots itself. It's not my Yosemite install, because it does the same thing with a SFOTT installer. However, it boots Leopard Server no issues. (Weird, huh?)

    With the 6450, it just freezes on the Apple Logo and a progress bar that's 100% empty. Verbose gives me nothing. Not even a kernel loading or any initial messages, safe mode results in the same as a non-safe boot.

    The weird thing though is it boots both totally fine without another GPU installed. My monitor is plugged into the X1300 port (for boot screen purposes, obviously) and Yosemite loads right up. However, it's basically unusable without QE/CI, which brings me back to my issue. :/
     
  12. jamall, Nov 22, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2014

    jamall macrumors regular

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    #12
    If you can get the device IDs from System Profiler while you're booted in SL that'll give me somewhere to start, but the behaviour does sound a little odd.

    Edit: What you're describing doesn't quite add up. Try resetting your NVRAM (command-option-p-r, two chimes, etc.) then enter in Terminal.app in any OS that will boot:

    sudo nvram boot-args="-v debug=0x14e"

    That will output everything that's going on, but during a kernel panic it can come at you thicker and faster than a broken sewer so you might want to video the screen and freeze-frame it later. I'm not sure why the Xserve would attempt to rebuild the kernel cache when you've got the 6450 in there, and then just promptly freeze. The device ID is either listed in one of the available drivers or it isn't, and OS X should just ignore the card and keep booting if it can't find a match. If the card hasn't got Mac-compatible EFI, any attached screens will stay blank, and if it does have EFI but no drivers... it would probably be better off going blank at that point. The 405 is weird too, have you modified any of the GeForce kexts? The only time I've caused graphics related panics during startup is when I've forced cards to be loaded by incompatible drivers. As with the 6450, if it can't find a driver with the right credentials (or more accurately, if a kext is trying to load but can't find any suitable hardware) the card should just be ignored. If you're still stuck, try swapping slots, and blow out the PCIe sockets with compressed air and reseat the risers firmly back in place, and while they're out have a close look for any corrosion or damaged contacts/traces. The Xserve is like the Sophia Loren of enterprise hardware - you can get enthusiastic because it's easy to forget how old it is and it still looks pretty good, but when you get it's top off and look at the slots up close you realise very quickly what you're dealing with.
     
  13. NOTNlCE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #13
    Thanks for your help, jamall.

    The GeForce kexts haven't been touched. I modified the Radeon 6000 series kext to inject the device ID, and therefore have the "kext-dev-mode=1" boot flag in my NVRAM. I've reset the PRAM several times, with both cards - no changes. I thought maybe the modified kext was causing issues, but there's no modification on the SFOTT Yosemite installer, which also will not boot. It also doesn't matter which PCIe slot I use. I've swapped my Fibre Card and the GPU around to see if it was just a bad slot, and there's been no change.

    In hindsight, I probably didn't need to patch the 6000 kext, since the 6450 works out of the box in my Mac Pro 1,1. But again, don't think that's the issue here. I'll try your suggestion. It doesn't seem like it's panicking at all, though. I even get the system to show up on my network and is visible by my other Macs, and my XRAID recognizes that it's plugged into a Fibre Channel. Odd.

    -N
     
  14. jamall macrumors regular

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    #14
    Now I'm a bit lost. My Xserve has 64-bit EFI so I just modify the PlatformSupport.plist file in S/L/CoreServices/ to get unsupported OSes running. If you're injecting device IDs then I'm guessing you're using Chameleon, but there are other possible ways you could be doing it too. Either way I have no experience so I can't offer any further advice, best of luck!
     
  15. NOTNlCE thread starter macrumors 6502a

    NOTNlCE

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    #15
    The device ID injection was unnecessary. I'm booting using Piker Alpha's boot.efi for Yosemite. I think this is a hardware compatibility issue. I think one of my RAM sticks is messing up or something similar. Thanks for all your help, both of you. It's gotten me further than I could have on my own. I'll sort this last issue out and then I'll be golden. Much appreciated.
    -N
     

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