We’ve purchased a few IBM X3650-M3 servers, to be used as new storageservers with Solaris and ZFS. The X3650 comes with an IBM M1015 RAID-controller, which is a bit of a budget controller, since it lacks features as NVRAM and a BBU. However, it is one of the few controllers that supports JBOD, and that is ideal, because I would like to let ZFS handle the RAID part. Furthermore, it will only be used to control the OS-disks and some SSD cache-devices in the server itself, and all data-disks will be in separate enclosures.

While installing these machines we ran into some problems with a missing driver for the M1015-controller, with both OpenSolaris (snv_134) and OpenIndiana (oi_148), and an outdated firmware. I hope I can save someone else a few days of troubleshooting by describing the process of installing a driver during the installation of OpenSolaris, and upgrading the firmware.

Insert CD with text-install, reboot the server and let it boot from CD (if it doesn’t, reset the uEFI-BIOS to defaults, but enable ‘Legacy Only’ in the Boot Manager). Once textinstall is loaded, choose your keyboard, language. In the installation menu, choose ‘[2] Install Additional Drivers’. If you’re in the same situation as I, you’ll (eventually) see a notification that no driver can be found for an ‘LSI Logic MegaRAID SAS 9250’. The IBM M1015 is actually a rebranded LSI-controller.

No Driver

no driver

Alright, so we need a Solaris-driver for the LSI 9240 controller. Luckily, LSI provides this :). Hit [F9] (Quit) and return to the installation menu. In the installation menu, choose ‘[3] Shell’.

I like to do the next steps not in the console, but via SSH from another computer, so first I set up the network and the SSH-server. Use ifconfig to configure a simple network as you like.

Now you’re ready to SSH to your server.

Verify that no disks are currently visible:

If you’re in the same situation as I, you should see no disks.

Download the appropriate driver from the LSI-site. Check the link under ‘Accept’ for use in the wget-command below, it might have changed.

If all went well, you should have a number of files, like imr_sas.img, imr_sas.iso and imr_sas.Z. We’ll be using the nice Solaris package-file, so an upgrade or removal should be easily possible. This package is hidden in the .Z-file:

Do NOT reboot, like the system suggests, because you’ll loose the changes :). The driver is already loaded by the installscript, but not correctly. We’ll load the driver ourselves, but first we have to remove it.

This will yield an error, which I don’t quite get, but it seems no big deal.

Now it’s time to add the driver correctly:

If all went well, the last command should not give any output, and definitely no error. format should show some disks now:

Hurray! We’ve got disks to install Solaris on! Return to the installation, choose ‘[1] Install’ and complete the installation normally.

After the installation completes and the system reboots, go into the IMM-setup and enable ‘Legacy Only’ in the Boot Manager. I had to do that to have the system boot the newly created install.

Firmware

Our M1015 was delivered with an older firmware (20.5.1-0014, while 20.10.1-0020 was available). For some reason the old firmware make the disks behind the controller unbootable. Solaris would install just fine (after above steps), but would not load after a reboot. Not even grub was loaded. I did two things to fix this: upgrade the firmware of the RAID-controller, and add ‘Legacy Only’ to the list of bootable devices in the IMM-setup (F1 during boot). I’m not sure what ‘Legacy Only’ does, but it needs to be enabled, together with (in my case) ‘Disk 0’ and probably ‘Disk 1’ if I want to boot from the ZFS-mirrored root-disks.

I’ll shortly list the steps I took for the firmware upgrade. Apply brain.

Download a recent version of the MegaCli tool:

Download the newest firmware:

Find out what the adapter-ID is of the M1015-controller:

In my case it’s 1, since there is another adapter present which controls the enclosures.

Flash the new firmware to the correct adapter. Tripplecheck that you’ve got the right one!

You’ll need to reboot for the upgrade to finish. After that, the disks on the M1015/LSI 9240 should be bootable!

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