Installer does not list Software RAID/S150 created Virtual Disks under "Guided Setup"

This document (000019839) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.

Environment

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 SP2

Situation

The SLES 15 SP2 installer does not list the MD VDs created by Dell EMC Software Raid S150 controller under Suggested Partitioning "Guided Setup".

In general, the partitioning "Guided Setup" offered by the installer is meant to be executed on top of disks or equivalent devices like hardware RAIDs and multipath devices.
Those are the devices that any regular firmware can handle in order to boot an operating system from them.
As such, they are listed as the possible options when the user runs the "Guided Setup" wizard.

But there are a few hardware systems that can boot from certain software RAIDs, just like they were regular disks.
That's the case with Dell systems equipped with S130/S140/S150 controllers.
Those systems use an implementation of UEFI for booting the operating system.

To ease the usage on such systems and to fit with the historical behavior of the SLE and openSUSE installer, if the operating system is booted via UEFI then the list of devices available for the "Guided Setup" can include some software RAID devices.

A given software RAID is considered as an eligible device for the "Guided Setup" if one of the following conditions are met:

 - It already contains a partition table
 - It's completely empty (i.e. is not already formatted or encrypted)

Once the "Guided Setup" considers such RAID as an eligible device, it will treat it as a regular disk, considering it can contain any partition that would typically be created in a disk. That includes the EFI System Partition (ESP).

Resolution

There are still several possible ways to work around that case:

 - Use the "Expert Partitioner" instead of the "Guided Setup".
The "Expert Partitioner" always shows the full list of both software and hardware RAIDs including their partitions and, thus, can be used to perform any custom installation, regardless of the content of each device in the system.

 - Wipe that leftover content and then execute the installation again. That should make it appear in the "Guided Setup".

 - Start the installation using LIBSTORAGE_MDPART=1 as boot option.
When that argument is set, all devices detected as software RAID will be considered by the installer to be hardware RAID devices. As an obvious side effect, all of them will be listed as eligible devices for the "Guided Setup".

Cause

This is expected behavior and not a bug.

This issue shows up when the RAID you want to partition still contains some leftover file-system content from a previous usage of the disk. This prevents it from appearing in the list of devices of the Guided Setup.

Disclaimer

This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:000019839
  • Creation Date: 19-Jan-2021
  • Modified Date:19-Jan-2021
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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