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Setting up a RocketRaid 2320 controller on Linux Mint 9

After the most recently recorded podcast, I decided to take a stab at running Linux on my primary media server. The machine sports a Highpoint RocketRaid 2320 storage controller, which has support for running up to eight SATA drives. Over the course of last evening, I found out that the solution wasn’t quite as plug-and-play as running the same card under Windows. Here’s what I found out and how you can avoid the same mistakes.

Remove the RocketRaid card when installing Mint.

Make sure you have decent physical access to the machine, as the Mint installer apparently does not play nicely with this card. I replicated a complete system freeze (no keyboard or mouse input) after progressing past the keyboard layout section during the installer. Temporarily removing the 2320 from its PCI-Express slot avoided this problem; I was then able to re-insert the card after installation was complete.

Compile the Open Source driver for best results.

Highpoint has a download page for their 2300-series cards, which points to Debian and Ubuntu (x86 and x64) compatible versions of the rr232x driver. Unfortunately, the Ubuntu 64-bit version did not seem to successfully initialize – the device just wasn’t present.

A post on the Ubuntu forums (for version 9.04) was quite helpful in pointing out the required steps, but had a broken link that wasn’t easy to find. To obtain the Open Source driver, click through to the “Archive Driver Downloads for Linux and FreeBSD” page, then scroll to the bottom and grab the 32/64-bit .tar.gz file with a penguin icon. I’ve mirrored version 1.10 here in case the URLs on the HighPoint site change again: rr232x-linux-src-v1.10-090716-0928.tar.gz

The process for building the driver is as in the original post:

  • Extract the .tar.gz file to a reasonably permanent location. I say this because you will likely need to rebuild the module for any kernel upgrades. I’m going to assume you’ve created something under /opt, such as /opt/rr232x.
  • Change to the extraction directory and run:cd product/rr232x/linux
    sudo make
    sudo make install
  • Reboot your system after the installation process and the kernel will load the rr232x driver as a module.

Install gnome-disk-utility to verify and mount your filesystem.

I’m not sure why this utility disappeared as a default between Mint 8 and 9, but gnome-disk-utility will display all connected devices and allow you to directly mount partitions. It will also let you know if it “sees” the RR2320 controller. In my case, after installing the driver and rebooting, I was able to click on the 3.5TB NTFS-formatted storage and assign it a mount point of /media/Raid5 in two clicks.

What’s next?

Most of the remaining complaints online revolve around booting to the RR2320 itself, which seems like more of a pain than it’s worth (even under Windows this would seem to be the case.) I personally run a separate system drive; the actual Ubuntu installation manual from Highpoint may have additional details on actually booting to your RAID volume.

I’ve yet to install the Web or CLI management interface for Linux, which should happen in the next few days. One of the really neat items about this controller is that it can email you if a disk falls out of the array, but I’ll need to get the Web interface running in order to change some outgoing mail servers.

I also haven’t done any performance testing or benchmarking with the controller versus Windows, or if there would be an improvement migrating the filesystem to ext4 as opposed to NTFS. I do plan to stick with NTFS as I’d like portability across all major platforms with this array. From initial observations, I can play back HD content from the array without stuttering while large files are being decompressed and checksummed, which is my main goal.

  1. Jon F
    July 4th, 2010 at 12:46 | #1

    As I mentioned in the podcast, I have an lvm set up on my machine. Something I’ve found that works very well is to put symlinks from each of the default home directory folders (Documents, Music, Pictures, etc) to corresponding folders on your RAID or LVM. That way,you can re-install your system, re-establish the symlinks, and be totally up and running in under an hour. No backups necessary.

  2. Tyler B
    July 4th, 2010 at 13:04 | #2

    Glad to hear you figured it out. Just a quick question though: for as great as Linux Mint is as a desktop OS, why did you pick it for your media server? Or is this machine actually used for media playback as well?

  3. Jake B
    July 5th, 2010 at 10:43 | #3

    This machine is also used for media playback – it just happens to have the RAID storage locally. I’ve installed VLC and XBMC as well and things appear to be working properly with those applications.

  4. Jon F
    July 5th, 2010 at 19:36 | #4

    In that case, Mint is a great choice, if only because it comes with all of the ‘restricted’ codecs that other distributions won’t include for fear of legal troubles. Of course, I’ve always wondered how one would go about suing a non-profit organization that’s based in a country that doesn’t recognize the validity of software patents… but that’s another conversation altogether.

  5. Andrew
    July 7th, 2010 at 05:23 | #5

    Did you manage to get the management software installed? I can’t seem to get the .rpm converted to .deb properly, when I run the .deb installer it doesn’t create some of the directories or add config files.

  6. Jake B
    July 7th, 2010 at 14:13 | #6

    Haven’t done so yet, but I’ll give it a shot tonight. Thanks for the reminder :)

  7. qay707
    March 21st, 2012 at 06:21 | #7

    Thanks for the instructions. Therefore I was able to get the controller bios running with the open source driver on a squeeze debian 64 version. But I have problems that the bios is not able to identify 3TB hdd correct and in my linux system the hdd are not included. Has somebody suggestions to solve the problem?

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