Managing hardware RAIDs with Adaptec Storage Manager and Ubuntu

Manage disaster recovery (DR) by monitoring hardware RAIDs with Adaptec Storage Manager 64-bit on Ubuntu Linux 64-bit. This tip explains how to ensure the stability and validity of your servers' storage devices with proactive DR.

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Ubuntu Server deployment confronts a roadblock in terms of hardware management of redundant arrays of independent disks (RAID). Adaptec, a leading RAID card vendor, does not provide a Debian-based version of its popular Storage Manager software, even though the Linux kernel includes the driver for many of its RAID cards by default. As a result, IT administrators running Ubuntu Server don't have a vendor-supported method for RAID controller...

management.

Here we discuss how to download the RPM-based Adaptec Storage Manager for x64 Linux and convert it to a Debian-based tool. In this tip, we assume the following:

  • Server Operating system: Ubuntu 7.04 Feisty Fawn amd64
  • Software: Adaptec Storage Manager 4.30 for Linux x86_64
  • RAID Card: Adaptec Serial ATA RAID 2410SA
  • The given server must support forwarding of trusted X11 connections via secure shell (SSH)
  • The client connecting to the server must have a working X11 environment (Linux, OS X, Windows+cygwin, etc.)

The first section of this article describes the steps involved with downloading and installing the software from Adaptec on a Debian-based Linux server, while the second section describes how to launch the software from a remote client and create alerts.

Installing ASM
The following steps should work on newer versions of 64-bit Ubuntu, as well as with other types of Adaptec cards.

  1. Download the software from Adaptec. Downloading requires free registration, and the software version may vary based on the controller card in question. Make sure to download the version for 64-bit Linux (e.g., Adaptec Storage Manager for Linux x64 version 4.30-16038).
  2. You should now have an rpm file named something similar to 'asm_linux_x64_v4.30-16038.rpm'.
  3. Create a directory with the same name as the rpm file minus the file extension:

    mkdir asm_linux_x64_v4.30-16038

  4. Move the rpm file into the newly created directory:

    mv asm_linux_x64_v4.30-16038.rpm asm_linux_x64_v4.30-16038

  5. Change working directories to the newly created directory:

    cd asm_linux_x64_v4.30-16038

  6. Install the 'alien' and 'fakeroot' packages from the apt repositories in order to convert the rpm file into a Debian package file:

    sudo apt-get install alien fakeroot

  7. Attempt to convert the rpm file into a debian package:

    fakeroot alien asm_linux_x64_v4.30-16038.rpm

  8. An error will be returned that resembles the following:

    dpkg-gencontrol: error: current build architecture amd64 does not appear in package's list (i386)

    This error occurs because rpm-based systems do not label 64-bit systems with the string 'amd64' as do Debian-based systems. Luckily, circumventing this error is quite easy.

  9. Edit the Perl module that alien uses when converting to deb-files and replace the line that prints the package architecture with 'amd64':

    sudo vi /usr/share/perl5/Alien/Package/Deb.pm

    Then replace this:

    print OUT "Architecture: ".$this->arch."\n";

    with this:

    print OUT "Architecture: amd64\n";

    Save the changes and exit the file.

  10. Now re-run the conversion command to generate the debian package:

    fakeroot alien --scripts asm_linux_x64_v4.30-16038.rpm

    You should get a successful message that resembles the following:

    storman_4.30-1_i386.deb generated

  11. However, the Debian package that was just created contains some file paths in its pre and post install scripts that do not exist on a Debian-based system, therefore they must be removed.

  12. Create a new directory with the same name as the Debian package that was just created:

    mkdir storman_4.30-1_amd64

    And then create a subdirectory inside of it called 'debian':

    mkdir storman_4.30-1_amd64/debian

  13. Extract the contents of the Debian package to the newly created directory and sub-directory:

    dpkg -x storman_4.30-1_amd64.deb storman_4.30-1_amd64 dpkg --control storman_4.30-1_amd64.deb storman_4.30-1_amd64/DEBIAN

  14. Edit the post install script to remove rpm-distribution specific language:

    vi storman_4.30-1_amd64/DEBIAN/postinst

    Remove the following lines:

    chkconfig --add stor_agent

  15. Edit the post remove script:

    vi storman_4.30-1_amd64/DEBIAN/postrm

    Remove the following lines:

    chkconfig --del stor_agent

  16. Repackage the extracted contents back into a Debian-package file:

    dpkg -b storman_4.30-1_amd64/ storman_4.30-1_amd64.deb

  17. Install the new package:

    sudo dpkg -i storman_4.30-1_amd64.deb

That's it. The ASM software is up and running!

Managing ASM

The ASM software runs on the server but must be managed on the client. To do this, simply open a terminal and type:

ssh -Y FQDN_OF_SERVER_WITH_ASM_ON_IT

This creates an SSH connection to forward trusted X11 connections on the server which the ASM software is installed. Once the connection is established, type the following to launch the storage manager:

sudo /usr/StorMan/StorMan.sh

A splash screen will appear:

Then, the program's main window will display:

The window presents a list of the servers it recognizes (currently only one server should be listed -- the server the software is running on.) Double-clicking on the server name will bring up a login prompt:

Enter the root username and password for the server (it is encrypted over SSH) in order to manage the hardware RAID. Once logged in, the display will change to this:

ASM lets an IT administrator explore all aspects of the configured RAID and the drives used in the configuration. As a proactive DR measure, notifications about the RAID can be created if one of its drives enters a degraded state. Click on the "Configure" button in the menu bar and a drop-down list will appear that includes the name of the currently connected server. Click the name of the server and then click on the menu item labelled 'E-mail Notifications'. This will bring up a new window that resembles the following:

Click on the 'Add e-mail recipient' button to make a new window appear:

Enter the name, e-mail address and level of notifications that the recipient should receive. Click 'Add' to complete the process.

There are many other tools inside ASM to discover, just click and learn. I hope this article has helped readers learn how to install the Adaptec Storage Manager software, once meant only for rpm systems, onto their favorite Debian-based servers.

About the author: Andrew Kutz is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) and a SANS/GIAC Certified Windows Security Administrator (GCWN). An avid fan of .NET, open source, Terminal Services and coding, Andrew's current focus is on virtualization. Andrew graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Ancient History and Classical Civilization and currently lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Mandy and their two dogs.

This was first published in February 2008

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