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Installing Debian sarge on IBM x206m Server with SAS drives

Filed under: — jimmy @ 9:50 am

UPDATE! (27.10.2006)
It seems that the initrd (initial ramdisk) has to be recreated before rebooting. Otherwise the adp94xx module is missing. I was sure that I checked this before posting this HowTo, but a second test and some comments from other users showed me, that it doesn’t work this way. Thus I added the necessary steps.
I also found out, that there are problems with S-ATA drives. If you follow my HowTo it works, but when using grml-0.8 or ubuntu 6.06 LTS Server Edition it can not access the S-ATA drives. Well, ubuntu uses another driver version but grml-0.8 uses exactly the same driver, built from the same source. I couldn’t find out what’s wrong, maybe a side effect from other parts in the kernel code?

Some of the newer IBm servers have SAS (serial attached SCSI) Controllers onboard. The driver is not in the linux kernel but you can get the source on the IBM site. Since grml 0.8 we support the SAS driver so if you want to install debian, you can boot with grml and run debootstrap. Another way is to use the sarge installer and load the kernel module before partitioning harddisks. This way is described here:

  • Download the precompiled kernel module for the sarge kernel and copy it to a usb-stick (The modified source code is also available)
  • Boot the server with the debian sarge installer cd
  • Make all steps as usual until the installer fails because no partitionable media was found
  • Switch to the console with <Alt-F2> and hit enter to activate it
  • Plugin your usb-stick and run “modprobe sd-mod”. With “dmesg |tail” you will see an entry which tells you the device node of the stick
  • Run “mkdir /usbstick” and mount it, e.g. “mount /dev/scsi/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/part1 /ubsstick”
    (/dev/scsi/… is the device node, that you saw before in the output of dmesg)

  • Now copy the kernel module with “cp /usbstick/adp94xx.ko /lib/modules/2.6.8-2-386/kernel/drivers/scsi” and run “depmod”
  • Run “umount /usbstick” and unplug the usb-stick. Run “modprobe -r sd-mod”. This steps make sure, that the SAS drive(s) will be named /dev/sda, /dev/sdb, etc. Otherwise /dev/sda would be assigned to the usb-stick.
  • Now load the kernel module: “modprobe adp94xx” and “modprobe sd-mod”, to load the support for scsi disks, again.
  • Watch the output of “dmesg”. The SAS drive(s) and the controller should be detected
  • Go back to the installer screen with <Alt-F1> and repeat the partitioning

UPDATE! (26.10.2006)
The following steps are required to recreate the initrd:

  • Continue with the installation up to the last step, when the installer asks you to remove any media and to reboot.
  • Switch back to the console (<Alt-F2>)
  • Copy the adp94xx module to the recently installed kernel: “cp /lib/modules/2.6.8-2-386/kernel/drivers/scsi/adp94xx.ko /target/lib/modules/2.6.8-2-386/kernel/drivers/scsi/”.
  • Now chroot to the installed system which is mounted on /target: “chroot /target”.
  • We need the proc filesystem, so run: “mount /proc”.
  • Run depmod: “depmod”.
  • Create a new initial ramdisk: “mkinitrd -o /boot/initrd.img-2.6.8-2-386 2.6.8-2-386″.
  • Exit from the chroot by hitting Ctrl-D or typing “exit”.
  • Go back to the installer screen with <Alt-F1> and complete the final installation step.

113 Responses to “Installing Debian sarge on IBM x206m Server with SAS drives”

  1. Andy says:

    I’m having a closely related problem trying to install a SuSE Linux 10.1 on my IBM x206m server. The steps you provide may help resolve the problem despite the fact I can’t find anywhere an adp94xx.ko for the SuSE 10.1.

  2. Andy says:

    Unfortunately there is no driver for the 10.1 (Open Suse). The ones for SLES are up the release 9 SP3. I got the divers for SuSE OSS 10.0 but when trying to probe the module I get the message “Invalid Module Format”.
    Compile is not an option due to my weak Linux skills.

  3. jimmy says:

    It’s not that difficult. Basically it’s one command to execute. I can help you, if you want. But I’d prefer mail to blog comments ;-)

  4. Andy says:

    Well Jimmy, yes please send me an email (my email address should be registred within the comment record). I desperately need help and would be pleased to receive your support.
    Thank you.

  5. Alf says:

    And this driver support RAID-HotSwap’s models

  6. jimmy says:

    Alf: Yes, hotswap works. RAID has to be done in Software. The RAID driver is not open source, so I can’t compile it for Debian. Anyway, SW-RAID works perfectly :-)

  7. Andrew says:

    Where in IBM site can we download the source code for the X206M SAS driver ? I just can’t seem to find it. I wish to compile it for my kernel 2.4.42 based RedHat Linux. The existing driver seem provided work for only RHEL 3/4 only.

  8. Andrew says:

    Think i found it. Is it the one below ? Can i compile the source code on a 2.4.18 Redhat kernel and use it on a 2.4.9 ? My 2.4.9 RH don’t seem to recognise the default image file provided by IBM.


  9. jimmy says:

    Andrew: The image files are for the enterprise editions. Why do you want to compile it on a different kernel? It doesn’t work for 2.6 but I’m not sure about 2.4 because it’s been a long time that I used a 2.4 :-) I can’t remember if 2.4.18 checks for the version of a module.
    BTW: Yes, the URL is correct. That’s where I downloaded the source code from.

  10. Krystian says:

    When I restart my IBMxSeries206m after this I see: Kernel panic… :( Why?

  11. jimmy says:

    Oh. Watch the output before the kernel panic and find out if the adp94xx kernel module gets loaded. Maybe something went wrong during the creation of the initrd.
    Do you have any special setup, like RAID, LVM or both?

  12. Krystian says:

    I don’t use any special setup like RAID or LVM.
    Output before the kernel panic fast disapear :) Even when I use Shift+PageUp I don’t see nothing about module adp94xx.
    This are some last lines before the kernel panic:
    tg3.c: v3.10 (September 14, 2004)
    ACPI: PCI interrupt 0000:04:00.0[A] -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 169
    tg3: tg3_request_firmware(eth%d): Couldn’t get firmware “tg3/tso-1.4.0″.
    tg3: eth%d: Firmware “tg3/tso-1.4.0″ not loaded; continuing without TSO.
    eth0: Tigon3 [partno(BCM95721) rev 4101 PHY(5750)] (PCIX:100MHz:32-bit) 10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet
    eth0: RXcsums[1] LinkChgREG[0] MIirq[0] ASF[1] Split[0] WireSpeed[1] TSOcap[0]
    pivot_root: No such file or directory
    /sbin/init: 432: cannot open dev/console: No such file
    Kernel panic: Attempted to kill init!

  13. marco says:

    can i have one help …. i have the same problem with ubuntu linux … my ibm x206 don’t work ….thanks

  14. Wukey says:

    I will also mention, I have used this guide also to install Debian on an IBM 306m. I get the same error “Kernel panic: Attempted to kill init!” as Krystian, and my output in the logs is pretty much identical. If anyone has any more info to how to fix this that would be great. The module doesn’t seem to be loading at all. :-( .

  15. Wukey says:

    Since my last post I have been successfully able to install Debian Sarge on an IBM 306m with the Adaptec SAS/SATA controller. I have setup two servers, one with a single hard disc, and the other I configured a software RAID 1 during the debian setup cd and it works beautifully. If anyone would like more information or help just shoot me an email.

    wukey at wukey dot net.

  16. jimmy says:

    Wukey: I realized that the initrd has to be recreated during setup, otherwise the adp94xx module is missing and thus the root filesystem can’t be mounted. I have to update my initial posting the next days.

  17. Reinaldo says:

    I cant access AIC-9405/9405W (9005:043f) after create a Hardware RAID. I can solve this problem?

  18. Reinaldo says:

    This is important about Raid Controllers:

    A Fake Raid:

  19. jimmy says:

    Reinaldo: You can not access the RAID device. There’s an option for the adp94xx kernel module to attach to those raid devices, but you still can only access the separate drives, which is a real bad thing. There are other drivers to access the HW Raid, but these are not open source, so they can not be recompiled for debian.

  20. Edy says:

    I have followed the method provided by jimmy (Thank you) to install Debian sarge onto the 306M but when i do a dmesg after performing modprode adp94xx and modprobe sd-mod, it says the following

    AIC-94xx controller(s) attached = 0

    Now it cant find the disk.

    Any clue?


  21. jimmy says:

    Edy: Do you have HW RAID enabled? If yes, you have to disable it.

  22. Edy says:

    Hi Jimmy,

    That did the trick. Now i am installing sarge onto it. I have 2 harddisk on it. Does it mean i cant use the onboard raid 1 function?

    From other forum, some people mentioned they have success to have the raid 1 setup by parsing the following as kernel option at boot


  23. jimmy says:

    Edy: No, you can not use the onboard RAID function with these drivers. If you use the “attach_HostRAID” option, you can access the hard disks which are part of a HW RAID. But you only have access to the hard disks themselves, not to the raid1 device! E.g.: If you setup a HW RAID1 with two disks and you boot with the “attach_HostRAID” option, you will still see /dev/sda and /dev/sdb. IMO this is a very dangerous option, because you might destroy your RAID1.

    The best solution is to use linux SW-RAID.

  24. Ash says:

    Hi Jimmy.

    I’ve recently acquired an IBM x206m with an SAS hotswap hd. I’m intending to install Debian Sarge and successfully followed your instructions up to UPDATE 26.10.2006 where, when running the command ‘depmod’ after ‘mount /proc’, I’m getting the following message:

    WARNING: Couldn’t open directory /lib/modules/2.6.8-3-386: No such file or directory
    FATAL: Could not open /lib/modules/2.6.8-3-386/modules.dep.temp for writing: No such file or directory

    Due to this, I’m unable to proceed further in my installation since I’m getting the error message:

    pivot_root: No such file or directory
    /sbin/init: 432: cannot open dev/console: No such file
    Kernel panic: Attempted to kill init!

    Most grateful if you could help. I’m new to Debian/Linux btw.


  25. seba says:

    i ‘ve followed the method described, but when my new system boot’s nothing happens. Any idea?

  26. jimmy says:

    Ash: What’s the output of “ls -al /lib/modules”?

    Seba: Can you describe what “Nothing happens” means in detail.

  27. seba says:

    Nothing happens means that computer does not boot.
    I’m restalling now to confirm that the problem is not a mistake consecuence.

  28. Ash says:

    Hi Jimmy,

    I’ve ended up installing debian sarge 2.6.8-2-386 instead of 2.6.8-3-386. I carefully followed all your instructions and the installation went on smoothly this time. Thanks for your valuable help.


  29. empika says:

    Hi jimmy
    great site, this has been really helpful when setting up my IBM xSeries 260.
    I am stuck installing grub however. I have modprobed ect and discovered my 3 disks, then partitioned them with /boot, /, /swap and /home all with their respective sizes, I then made them raid volumes (for raid5) and gave each of these the correct filesystem type (ext3 and swap) which the installer dutifully creates. After that i carry on until i get to the grub install which the falls over at any option i try and give it. /dev/sda (master boot which shouldnt be right anyway), /dev/sda1 etc..
    nothing seems to work.
    do you have any idea where i should be trying to install grub to after creating this raid5 array on this daft sas controller!!
    any help would be great,

  30. Aladar says:

    Hi Jimmy,

    just a quick question on your solution befor today later i start installing my new x206m …
    My box has SATA not SAS, the same driver is needed as you have in this howto? Or do i have to look further to find the driver for it?


  31. jimmy says:

    Ash: I’m glad that it worked for you :-)

    Seba: Feel free to mail me if it doesn’t work again.

    empika: I recently installed a x206m with SW-RAID5 and it worked out of the box. But grub can not boot from RAID5! Lilo has the same limitation. My preferred solution is to create a small RAID1 on the first two disks for /boot. So I have a 1 GB RAID1 on /dev/sda and /dev/sdb and a RAID5 on /dev/sda, /dev/sdb and /dev/sdc. The 1 GB that is unused on /dev/sdc is my swap partition.

    Aladar: Yes, the same driver. But I had minor problems with S-ATA: After loading the adp94xx module the device nodes where missing (e.g. /dev/sda). I had to create them myself.

  32. empika says:

    thanks for the swift reply :)
    I shall give this a go right away!

  33. empika says:

    it worked, thanks alot, ive been banging my head against a brick wall trying to get this server working for the last few weeks, you really have been a huge help :D
    just 2 questions though…
    1, is it possible to compile that module for newer kernels using the source tarball you provide?
    2, do you mind if i heavily quote you (you will be acknowledged of course) when i write this up on my own weblog?

    again, thanks a million

  34. jimmy says:

    empika: *LOL*
    About your questions:
    1.: Yes, it’s possible because it’s a patched version. But it will not work with 2.6.18, because there were again changes in the kernel. Tried it with 2.6.17 and it worked, so it should work with older versions, too.

    2.: No, of course not. Feel free to do it.

  35. Fernando says:

    Hi, Sorry for my bad english. I am trying to install Suse 10.1 in a IBM x206m and of course not work.

    Please someone send me information or help me to install this o.s..

  36. jimmy says:

    Fernando: SuSE 10.1 is certified for this server. There are precompiled drivers on the support page and on the CDs, too. This should work without any problems and is covered by IBM support. What went wrong with your installation?

  37. shack says:

    I’ve just been going through the steps with your USB solution and when I try to mount the drive:

    mount /dev/scsi/host1/bus0/target0/ /usbstick I get, failed: block device required

    Any idea?

    This is on HP proliant server if that helps…

    Thanks in advance, great site :)

  38. jimmy says:

    Ah, HP Proliant, that might be the reason… just kidding ;-)

    In my postings it reads “e.g. mount /dev/scsi/host0/bus0/target0/lun0/part1″. Don’t forget the lun part and the partition part1.

    HTH, jimmy

  39. Bald0z says:

    Thanks a lot for this HowTo, it helped me much installing our new xSeries 306m server.
    I was trying to fit your howto to Ubuntu 6.06LTS but I didn’t succeed, I think ubuntu uses something else rather than sm-mod. And also the precompiled module was not recognized, and I didn’t have a functional machine at hand to compile the source.

    A suggestion for installers, if you have network configured you can use wget instead of the usb disk, to directly download files from your server. It makes the whole thing much easier.

    Marco from Italy, Indutech S.p.A.

  40. jimmy says:

    Great that you like it and that it was helpful. I also tried it with ubuntu because I received a request via email. Dou have have S-ATA drives or SAS?
    Thx4hint about wget.

  41. Juuso Alasuutari says:

    Hi, and thanks for the helpful article. I’d be happy if I could install Etch with adp94xx. Have you gotten it to compile against 2.6.17? I’ve tried, but with no success so far. I haven’t tried your modified sources, though, but only the sources from Adaptec’s website.

  42. jimmy says:

    Yes, worked with 2.6.17, but only with the patched source code. This was the reason for the patch (changes in the kernel scsi API) :-)

  43. Fernando says:

    Hi Jimmy, I installed Suse Linux Enterprise 10 in my IBM x206m server with 2 sas disks(hot swap), raid 1 enabled and it works fine.
    My problem is that if i change one disk the server don’t rebuild the raid-1 automatically.
    I did the same with Windows 2000 and it works, the raid was rebuilded when i change one disk.

    Do i need to install a driver? Any idea? I’m so frustrated.

    Thanks for all and sorry for my english (I´m trying to learn!!)

  44. jimmy says:

    Don’t worry about your english. As long as I understand what you mean, it’s ok :-)

    You are using Hardware-RAID, right? Which drivers did you install?

  45. Fernando says:

    Hi,yes, i´m using HardWare-RAID in a IBM x206m.
    I used the IBM ServerGuide CD to configure the raid-1.(First I enabled de RAID option in the Setup Menu)
    Then I installed Suse Linux but i didn’t use any extra driver (is needed?wich?).
    The O.S. recognize 2 disks not 1 (I thought that the HardWare-RAID hides the 2 disks and Suse will see only one disk). The only way to use the Raid was to create a SoftWare RAID-1 during the installation of the operating system. Does SuSe have any problem with HardWare-RAID?

  46. IvanHoo says:

    Hey Jimmy I’m wondering if you could give a hand I also have an IBM x206m but I have to install Madriva Power Pack 2007 so when I tried to install it says that the driver isn’t in /usr/lib/libDrakx directory so I tried tofollow you howto but I couldn’t copy the apd94xx.ko driver to any of the directories. I’ll appreciate whatever you can say me to solve this issue. P.S Sorry for the english I’m not good enough at it jeje.

  47. jimmy says:

    I’m wondering that SLES10 was able to detect the hard drives without additional drivers, although I haven’t installed SLES myself, yet.
    The drivers for SLES can be found on the IBM support page for the x206 server and they support the HW-RAID, too.
    If you use Software RAID you have to manually resync the RAID.

    I wrote the HowTo for Debian sarge. Even if you could find the correct location for the kernel module, it won’t work. It’s compiled for a specific version of the Debian kernel. You would have to recompile it for Mandriva. I’m sorry, but I never used Mandriva or Mandrake. Try to google if someone has already installed it on a SAS box.

  48. Josip says:

    Hello Jimmy,
    I have also problem with installation of Debian Sarge on IBM server x206m with two 73 GB hard disc (Adaptec SAS/SATA controllers 9405). After successfully finished all tasks in both of your instruction set (for UPDATE! from 27. and 26.10.2006.) still problems. After reboot, server don’t see more hard disc, only message appear on the screen:

    CLIENT MAC ADDR: 00 14 5E ….. GUID …

    I think that kernel module for Adaptec controller doesn’t memorize on hard disk after reboot. Before reboot kernel module is on the /target/lib/modules/2.6.8-2-386/kernel/drivers/scsi, also on initial ramdisk. What do you think, where is actually problem here?

  49. jimmy says:

    Looks like, that grub was not installed correctly. If it’s a problem with the adp94xx module you usually get a kernel panic. What’s on the screen after DHCP…?
    Did you setup RAID or do you simply boot from the first disk?

  50. Josip says:

    GRUB was install successfully, without any failure and warning message, everything was Ok.

    1)After looking for DHCP (about 20 sec), server restarted and once again looking for boot device, and procedure repeat continual (check cd-rom, floppy, hard, net, restart and again cd-rom, floppy, hard, net, restart…)

    BIOS boot priority have default setting;
    1.CD-ROM, 2. FLOPPY, 3. HARD DISC, 4. Ethernet Network.

    I think that server doesn’t see boot hard disc partition, and normally next step is that looking for DHCP on the network.
    But hard was remember created partition boot sda1 (ext3,swap). Also on hard disk has some data and folder.

    2) RAID setup is disabled as default, and I simply boot from first disk. With this default BIOS and controller configuration I was install MS Win 2003 server, and everything working.

  51. Josip says:

    I having something forgetten. At step of grub installation, I was see on bottom message as like “grub install on hd0″. But I think that should be maybe target sda or sdb (not hd0).

  52. jimmy says:

    Ok, I’m sure that it’s a problem with the boot manager. About hd0: grub has it’s own naming scheme which is different from the names we are used to under linux. Usually the best thing is to boot with a live cd and reinstall grub. BTW: The adp94xx does NOT guarantee, that sda is the first disk and sdb is the second disk. It even might change between two reboots. Maybe sda was the second hard disk during installation and thus the boot record can not be found when the BIOS accesses the first hard disk. So you could try to swap the harddisks and see if it works.
    Feel free to send me a mail if it still doesn’t work.

  53. Josip says:

    Hi Jimmy, as first thank you very much for help. Debian works !!! I’m very happy.
    I was pull out first disk from server, and second disk leave on the server.
    After reboot I get on the screen following message;
    “GRUB loading, please wait……..
    Error 15″
    My second step was putting boot Debian CD-rom and repeat reinstalling Debian together with your procedure UPDATE! from 26 & 27.10, and installing GRUB on the second disk (first disk was still stay out). Rebooted server only with one disk and after that moment I have Sarge on my server.
    Once again, THANK you VERY MUCH !!!!!!!

  54. Nick says:

    You may find this page handy. Its regarding SATA disks on the x206, but I believe the approach will still work (assuming you compile the SAS drivers for the kernel later on).

  55. spiney says:


    is the above information (use grml and run debootstrap) still valid for grml 0.9? Yesterday I tried to install Debian on a x306m (same controller it seems) and no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get grml 0.9 to recognize the SATA drives connected to the controller. grml 0.9 doesn’t have the adp94xx driver any more it seems, but tries to use aic94xx.

    So, if someone with this hardware could boot with grml 0.9 and tell me the result, I’d appreciate it. :)

    Basically I’m wondering whether I should go back to grml 0.8 or try running kernel 2.6.19.x (which has an all new, shiny aic94xx driver according to the Changelog).

    Kind regards
    Wolfgang Karall

    PS: the captcha is almost too good for me. ;)

  56. jimmy says:

    Nick: Thx, already read the page, once. Have to document how to handle a SW-RAID, too :-)

    spiney: Yes, it is. But did you read the Update? S-ATA was also problematic on grml-0.8. The only way to install on S-ATA is to use Debian, AFAIK. aic94xx didn’t help, unfortunately. You can give recent 2.6.19.x a try, didn’t have time to test it myself. Hopefully things get better in the next kernel releases ;-)
    @captcha: Yes, I think decrypting the letters is easier for a good OCR software than for an human being ;-)

  57. Mav says:

    I’ve got a 306m with an adaptec 9405 card. The solution work for me but I want to use the hardware raid1. Is there a solution to use it with sarge debian ?

  58. jimmy says:

    No, you have to use SW-RAID. But this is not really a drawback IMO, as SW-RAID works perfectly and performant, too.

  59. spiney says:

    Actually I missed the part about the SATA drives, Jimmy, so thanks for hitting me over the head with it. :)

    Anyway, I’m gonna try with 2.6.19 (kudos to mika in advance for the upcoming grml beta version) and report my findings, hopefully I’ll be able to use the SATA disks that way.

    Kind regards
    Wolfgang Karall

    PS: did the captcha in the second try, I’m getting used to it ;)

  60. Tobi says:

    Hey Jimmy,

    I just wanted to say hello! You helped me a lot some time ago with setting up Sarge on an IBM x206m machine. A brief howto can be found on my website, but you go much more into detail which is great.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge!


  61. jimmy says:

    spiney: You’re welcome :-)
    Yes, we have to find a way for the grml cd, anyway. Because without that feature I’m lost when I have to rescue a server with S-ATA.

    @captcha: *ROFL*

    Tobi: Thanx for the nice words :-)

  62. empika says:

    Hi again Jimmy

    You helped me a great deal before and im now wondering if you can help again.
    I am getting a similar error to Krystian above, the tg3 ethernet driver is no longer loading properly for some reason, it has worked fine for a few weeks but after i came back from a weeks holiday i have found that it now fails to load properly, i have not updated or touched anything.

    tg3.c: v3.10 (September 14, 2004)
    ACPI: PCI interrupt 0000:04:00.0[A] -> GSI 16 (level, low) -> IRQ 169
    tg3: tg3_request_firmware(eth%d): Couldn’t get firmware “tg3/tso-1.4.0″.
    tg3: eth%d: Firmware “tg3/tso-1.4.0″ not loaded; continuing without TSO.
    eth0: Tigon3 [partno(BCM95721) rev 4101 PHY(5750)] (PCIX:100MHz:32-bit) 10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet
    eth0: RXcsums[1] LinkChgREG[0] MIirq[0] ASF[1] Split[0] WireSpeed[1] TSOcap[0]

    I beleive there has been contoversy in the debian camp as whether to include this driver as the firmware is proprietry code, i cannot find any resolution for the problem and was wondering if you have run into this at all yourself?

    without a network connection this box is pretty much useless :(


  63. jimmy says:

    This is just a warning, that the TSO feature can not be loaded. The card will work without it, too. TSO ist just an optimization (TCP segmentation offload).
    What exactly doesn’t work since you came back?

  64. spiney says:

    JFYI: when using a recent install medium for Debian sarge (i.e. version 3.1r4), while inside the chroot and rebuilding the initrd, you need to issue

    depmod 2.6.8-2-386

    because the running kernel used by the Debian installer is 2.6.8-3-686. The precompiled module works nontheless, and the installed kernel is again 2.6.8-2-686.

    Otherwise, thanks again, for now I’m happy with sarge, looking forward to kernel 2.6.20+ with hopefully proper support for SATA disks.

    Kind regards
    Wolfgang Karall

  65. empika says:

    Ah all sorted now thank
    Turned out to be a faulty switch rather than the ethernet card, i was thrown off by that error that i had never seen before.
    Thanks anyway

  66. Jaric says:

    Dear Jimmy:

    Thank you for your HowTo.It’s a great document.
    I had installed Debian sarge on X206m,but I got some problem about “no partitionable media was found”!I’ll try to install again!

    Thanks to god & you.

  67. jimmy says:

    spiney: Do I get this correctly? The installer starts with 2.6.8-3 but installs 2.6.8-2?

    Jaric: Seems, that the controller was not found. Maybe RAID is enabled in the BIOS.

  68. spiney says:

    Yes, the installer runs with -3 (and interestingly your module was still loading fine, different vermagic or not), but installs -2 onto the harddisk. This is from a Debian sarge 3.1r4 CD1 downloaded on Dec 19th, btw. But since I moved into a previously configured system on Software RAID after the inital setup was completed, I can’t really check at the moment.

    But doing a test installation beforehand in VMware (along the lines of your HowTo, exactly to see whether the module loads ok ) showed the same thing: -3 in the installer, -2 on the harddisk. I wouldn’t have noticed if depmod didn’t try to compile the modules.dep file for the wrong directory hierarchy. :)

    Kind regards
    Wolfgang Karall

  69. jimmy says:

    spiney: Thx for checking. Really interesting that in this case vermagic doesn’t matter. Usually vermagic drives me cracy because of its pedantic checking ;-)

  70. Mav says:

    I just installed Sarge on a 306m after disabled hardware raid. (/ is on /dev/sda6-sdb6)
    After grub installation and reboot, I have a kernel panic during the boot. This is the messages:
    md:md2 stopped
    mdadm: cannot open device /dev/sda6: No such device or address
    mdadm: /dev/sda6 has wrong uuid
    mdadm: cannot open device /dev/sdb6: No such device or address
    mdadm: /dev/sdb6 has wrong uuid
    mdadm: no devices found for /dev/md2Ext3-fs: unable to read superblock
    pivot_root: No such file or directory
    /sbin/init: 432: cannot open /dev/console: No such file
    Kernel panic: Attempt to kill

    Any suggestions ??? Please.. :)

  71. jimmy says:

    Seems that sda and sdb are not found. Maybe something went wrong during creation of the initrd and adp94xx is not included. Boot with a live cd and check your initrd and your RAID setup.

  72. -christian says:


    Thanks for that driver. We installed it on our IBM Box and it worked right out of the box with the 2.8.8-2/3 kernel. As expected the driver failed with the installation of the 2.6.8-2-686 kernel. So I fetched the sources you provided and tried to build it on another machine running that flavour, but the build proccess failed. Any hints for that?!

  73. jimmy says:

    I need more information. You can mail me the output of the build process.

  74. Mark Honman says:

    Glad to have found this… but surprised that the x206m hardware is so bleeding edge.

    In my case, I’ve been trying to install Ubuntu 6.06.1 AMD64 version with LVM (from Alternate CD)… it installs, boots the initial image, but can’t find the Ubuntu VG (this is a 2.6.15-26 SMP PREEMPT kernel (not sure about minor numbering as I’m not at work right now).

    So it seems to me that the alternate CD must already include a suitable driver (though it might not be in the initrd, I imagine that the first stage of bootup is courtesy of GRUB). Will try your instructions for building the initrd, and let you know.

    Will also try the Ubuntu Feisty Alternate CD – 2.6.19, which should work. It certainly did the job on an x100 that has a GoVault drive. Although I would greatly prefer to use 6.06.

  75. Mark Honman says:

    OK, it looks like Ubuntu dapper & edgy do have the driver – aic94xx.
    The recipe for redoing the initramfs is a bit different. See Ubuntu bug report #46510. There’s a comment right at the end that shows how to do it.
    As above, chroot to /target and mount /boot

    > Once you get there just edit this file: /etc/initramfs-tools/modules
    OR /etc/mkinitramfs/modules (on 6.06 LTS)
    > Add a new line at the end of the file and write aic94xx
    > Close the file and execute this command:
    > update-initramfs -u -k all

    Tried this and it works perfectly.

    The Feisty Herd 1 install didn’t work – modprobe aic94xx draws a blank (the driver’s there, but the hardware is invisible).

  76. Darrick says:

    For RAID you need the dmraid package and support for it in your distro. I think OpenSUSE 10.2 and FC5/6 support dmraid in their installers. I’ve heard that Mandriva 2007 might too. Unfortunately, I don’t think Debian or Ubuntu have picked it up yet.

  77. jimmy says:

    Mark: Yes, my tests showed that Ubuntu uses aic94xx. But I never completed the installation. Very interesting that the installation fails ;-)
    Thx for your infos.

    Darrick: dmraid is for ATA-RAIDs. I don’t think that it supports SAS RAIDs, too. Did you test it?

  78. -christian says:


    Thanks for your help, but I figured it out by myself. Some of the paths in the makefile had to be corrected.


  79. vital says:

    Dear Jimmy,

    I have Dell PowerEdge 2900 server with 300GB * 3 SAS hard drives. I want to install Debian Linux onto it. But i’m not able to detect my SAS hdds.

    Please any one can help me…..


  80. James says:

    Hi there

    I am using super micro X7DB3 mobo which has on biard adp 9419 sas controller.
    My o/s is fedora core 5(FC5)-Kernell 2.6.15-1.

    I have a problem to detect sas HDD under fc5.

    I tried 20 times to create 94xx.ko module according to instruction. However it is so difficult to create and hard to understand how to do after inout this.

    Would you kindly explain how to do ?

    Fist of all I am stuck on creating module for fc5.^^;



  81. jimmy says:

    vital: Are you sure that these drives are SAS? 300 GB sounds like S-ATA :-) Which SAS/SATA controller is installed?

    James: Try googling for adp9xx or aic94 with Fedora. Every distribution is slightly different, so my HowTo only works for debian sarge.

  82. currix says:

    Very nice and helpful site. I am trying to install debian etch AMD64 in a dell power edge server with two SCSI HD 73GB in RAID 1. Everything goes smoothly until you try to download packages or install grub. Both actions fail miserably. Funny, the 32 bit x86 etch version installed smoothly. In this case the dmesg output relevant to the scsi disks is:

    scsi0 : LSI Logic SAS based MegaRAID driver
    Vendor: MAXTOR Model: ATLAS10K5_073SAS Rev: BP00
    Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 05
    Vendor: MAXTOR Model: ATLAS10K5_073SAS Rev: BP00
    Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 05
    Vendor: DP Model: BACKPLANE Rev: 1.00
    Type: Enclosure ANSI SCSI revision: 05
    Vendor: DELL Model: PERC 5/i Rev: 1.00
    Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 05

    Any clue of what can be happening with the AMD64 version? Is it a very bad option to stay with the x86 flavour?

    Thanks in advance


  83. jimmy says:

    Maybe the driver’s not running stable on 64 bit platforms. Although there are drivers for SuSE and RedHat 64-bit, AFAIR. What does “Both actions fail miserably” mean? What’s happening.
    Most of my servers are still x86 with 32-bit. As long as you don’t need the 64-bit for addressing large memory you can still stay with the 32-bit version.

  84. spiney says:


    did anyone try kernel version 2.6.20 with the x206m and SATA drives? At the moment I’m not really in a hurry to update from the Sarge kernel, but I’d like to know whether someone tried with 2.6.20 or maybe with a 2.6.21 pre-release and the drives got detected properly. :)

    Wolfgang Karall

  85. jimmy says:

    I made a test yesterday with the latest grml devel release. SAS was ok but SATA still doesn’t work :-(
    And the new aic94xx module needs to load the adaptec firmware which seems to forbid distribution :-(

  86. Renata says:

    Hi people,

    Help-me!! I’m crazy!!!

    I don’t get install the debian following the instructions… My kernel is 2.6.18-4-486, and the precompiled kernel module isn’t compatible.

    Some of knows where I obtain the precompiled kernel module aic94xx compatible my kernel???

    Thank you

  87. Dagy says:

    Hi Guys,
    I have problem with x206 and sata drive.
    It seems that drive is working correctly but the speed is terrible. hdparm -t /dev/hdc says about 3MB/sec speed what is terrible low for any drive today ;)
    I use debian sarge kernel: 2.4.27-1-386
    For scsi drives I use the default driver from installation and SW raid (md device) which works pretty well. No problem yet ( 2years non-stop ) hdparm -t /dev/sda:
    Timing buffered disk reads: 254 MB in 3.00 seconds = 84.67 MB/sec which seems also pretty nice.

    The only problem I have is that additional “high” capacity sata drive is very slow and after using it for about a month system freezes with only this record in syslog: /dev/hdc busy
    or something like this.

    Can any 1 help ?

  88. jimmy says:

    Renata: The installation instructions are for the kernel on the debian installer CDs. If you change the kernel afterwards you have to recompile the module. If you use a kernel >= 2.6.18 the aic94xx module is in the vanilla kernel. Could you explain in detail what goes wrong?

    Dagy: It’s been a long time that I used a 2.4.x kernel. Any reason why don’t use the 2.6.x kernels? If you just want to check your hardware I’d suggest to download the grml CD and run a benchmark.

  89. Rousseau says:

    Hello Jimmy i follow the steps with debian sarge but when i boot my system, it only appears in the screen a cursor blinking, does not appear the menu of grub, what I must make?

  90. jimmy says:

    Rousseau: Maybe the grub installation did not work. Boot with a live cd and reinstall grub and see if things change.

    greets Jimmy

  91. Vit says:

    I have problem to make controler working on IBM xSeries 306 under 2.6.20. Kernel module seems to work, firmware file got found, but module says “ERROR: Unsupported device type 5″ and disk device do not appear. Do I need to perform some aditional steps to configure SCSI device? Any thoughts?

  92. Eric says:

    Re: the AIC94xx driver, I’m trying to figure out how to get Fedora to load the sequencer firmware (aic94xx-seq.fw) during the installation process so that it can find the hard disk and thus install onto it. Modifying the initrd.img and minstg2.img files to include a copy of the firmware file in their /lib/firmware directories does not seem to do the trick.

    Has anyone gotten this working? This is starting to be a real problem around the lab…

  93. jimmy says:

    Vit: Which driver are you using and what’s the output of “lspci”?

    Eric: Sorry, I don’t use fedora but there might be other HowTos, that are fedora specific.

  94. Iceman says:

    Eric, any luck with loading the sequencer firmware on boot with fedora? Can anyone give an idea on how to do this?

  95. Hanz says:

    I can not seem to get Adaptec’s or your driver compiled on my Debian Etch system. I was wondering if you could point me to a how-to guide for building these kind of drivers. I have a Super Micro 6025B system with an on board Adaptec SAS adapter, and a number of SATA drives. When I try to boot from a distro with a build in adp94xx driver, I get a message “ERROR: Unsupported device type 5″ for each drive in the system. Also I’m trying to build this on a 64-bit kernel, so that may also be the problem.
    Not that it helps, but I did install Windows XP 64 on the system and the Adaptec drivers did recognize the SATA drives and install just fine. However this is going to be a server, and that is not an option.

  96. David Koski says:

    Any update for Etch 2.6.18 or better? I can’t find a driver for a Super Micro with SAS.
    Driect email: david@kosmosisland.com

  97. volker says:

    I´m trying to install debian on an SCSI harddisk (Controller is AIC94xx)
    When i boot with grml the following happens:

    probing firmware_class: [failed]
    probing AIC9410: [Ok]

    I can´t see any harddisk ! Anybody who knows this problem ?

    thx, volker

  98. saree says:

    Dear all,

    If have an ad94xx kernel 2.6.18-4-486, please sent to my email ngerumpi_dimall@yahoo.com

    Thanks you..

  99. Volker Arendt says:

    Hello all,

    is it possible to upgrade the current kernel (kernel-image-2.6.8-2-686) to an smp kernel (kernel-image-2.6.8-2-686-smp) without problems or do we have to reinclude the kernel module for the SATA-controller?

    Kind regards


  100. jimmy says:

    Volker: Yes, you have to recompile the adp module for the smp kernel.

  101. Lukas says:


    I’ve got a little problem with driver compilation (both – adaptec’s and your’s). I have tried on several of machines, using sarge (several debian versions of linux 2.6.8) and etch (debian 2.6.18). Also tried with vanilla (there is no aic94xx support in 2.6.18). In every case I’ve got some errors in adp94xx_osm.c (couple screens) – I can say this file makes one big error…
    Any idea what could it be? Maybe I need something to patch/install? Could you give me some clue, please?

  102. jimmy says:

    I can not help if you don’t tell me what errors you get ;-) You can send me the output of gcc via mail.

  103. lukas says:


    Logs are little to big (I think), so I’ve put them under http://gembasz.pagema.net/adp94xx/


    PS. this captcha is really killing me…

  104. Nikolay says:

    Hi Jimmy,
    Do I need to recompile patch if I want use it with etch AMD64 version?

  105. ronald says:

    I have the same problem with you guys on installing fedora 7. Do you know how to resolve this issue? I have download image driver from IBM when disk inserted it says “Drivers is not compatible with fedora release”. I have downloaded a driver source code from this link http://www.adaptec.com/AdaptecCom/Templates/PL/license-agree.aspx?NRMODE=Published&NRORIGINALURL=%2fen-US%2fspeed%2fsas%2flinux%2fadp94xx-1_0_8-6_src_tgz%2ehtm&NRNODEGUID=%7b9869CA40-7934-4C61-9586-59326B50F7CF%7d&NRCACHEHINT=Guestbut
    I don’t know how to compile.

    Please need badly your help.. @jimmy…..

  106. Darsha says:

    Hi Jimmy!

    You mentioned in Comment 59:

    jimmy Says December 15th, 2006 at 9:58 pm

    > No, you have to use SW-RAID. But this is not really a drawback IMO, as SW-RAID works perfectly and
    > performant, too.

    Do you know why HW-RAID does not work respectively where to find infos about such a issue (as I always way too much time to bring up the Hardware-RAID)?

    Are there any updates by the way? Is HW-RAID supported by the mean time?

    Greeting and thank you for this post!
    – Darsha

  107. jimmy says:

    Nikolay: Yes, of course. You need to recompile it.
    ronald: Sorry, there’s no way around recompilation. But feel free to mail me so that I can help.

    Darsha: It’s just because of the drivers. When I tested all the drivers, the ones with RAID functionality didn’t work. As I never used HW-RAID with this machines I didn’t investigate further.

    Any updates? Well, I have to retest the drivers with etch in the next weeks because I want to upgrade my x206m. Since I’m running SW-RAID on it I won’t test HW-RAID. But the main reason for not testing is, that the x3200 is out for a couple of months and has a far better LSI controller.
    (The x3200 is the successor of the x206 and the controller is supported OOTB on debian etch, also when using HW-RAID)

  108. Proton says:


    I have Dell poweredge 2900 series server machine. Trying to install FC3, but not able to detect SAS drive (146 GB). Please help me on this.


  109. André says:

    I need precompiled kernel module (adp94xx) for the sarge etch 2.6.18. If any people who has this module, send me please. andrefprobst@gmail.com

  110. André says:

    I need precompiled kernel module (adp94xx) for the debian etch 2.6.18. If any people who has this module, send me please. andrefprobst@gmail.com.

  111. ricky says:

    Thanks a lot jimmy for this blog.

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