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I am trying to install CentOS on a server with an HP Smart Array E200i storage controller. There are eight 67GiB drives that I joined into a RAID 10 273GiB volume. The pre-OS storage management software doesn't seem to report any problem with this volume.

When booting from CentOS-7-x86_64-NetInstall-1810.iso dd'd to USB, I cannot find the volume. It doesn't show up as a /dev/sd* device, and I can't find any mention of E200i in dmesg. Where should I be looking to see why this volume is failing to load? How can it be loaded so that I can run the install?

When I pass the kernel option hpsa_allow_any=1, I see this in dmesg:

HP HPSA Driver (v 3.4.20-125-RH1)
hpsa 0000:13:08.0: unrecognized board ID 0x3211103c, ignoring.
hpsa 0000:13:08.0: Board ID not found    

Ironically, the newest version of CentOS has a kernel too old for hpsa to support the E200i; from the hpsa docs:

Since Linux 4.14, the following Smart Array boards are also supported: [...] Smart Array E200i

CentOS only has Linux 3.10.

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This antique RAID controller's native Linux driver is cciss, which is not supported in RHEL/CentOS 7 (or later versions!).

Some such controllers can be used with the newer, existing hpsa driver, if the kernel command line option hpsa_allow_any=1 is passed at boot time. Using this option may require the RAID controller be on the latest available firmware from HPE. (Actually finding such firmware could be a real adventure, given the age of the hardware and the many reorganizations of HPE's web site over the years, and HPE's recent moves to restrict some downloads to warranty/service contract holders.)

  • Oh boy... I can tell this is going to be "fun" – Reinderien Jan 13 at 1:30
  • Running modern OSes on ancient hardware is not what I'd consider "fun"... – Michael Hampton Jan 13 at 1:31
  • "fun" in quotes. translating to headache-inducing hackery. – Reinderien Jan 13 at 1:31
  • Please see edit; the kernel flag didn't work. – Reinderien Jan 13 at 1:48
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@MichaelHampton had some good hints, but the complete solution is:

  1. Start the gnome-live CentOS USB image
  2. Follow instructions at elrepo.org
  3. yum install kmod-cciss
  4. modprobe cciss
  5. Run the anaconda installer
  6. chroot onto the hard drive
  7. Do the elrepo.org and cciss steps again

Then it works.

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