FreeBSD 7.0 booting with gmirror does not work using SiI SATA controllers

cjc2007a at cjc2007a at
Fri Dec 14 19:00:43 PST 2007

I posted this on, but got no response, so here's a repost
(apologies if you have already seen this).  This all started because I was
unable to get gmirror to mirror the boot disks on a SiI3132 PCIe SATA
controller, using FreeBSD 7.0-BETA1.  This controller is supported in 7.0,
and works fine on a single drive.  I have since switched to a JMicron363
PCIe SATA controller.

I have done some more testing with booting a gmirror RAID1 configuration on
some different disk controllers, both SATA and PATA, and using the PCI and
PCIe busses. I was using FreeBSD 7.0-BETA1.  I followed the instructions in
the FreeBSD handbook.  In summary I installed FreeBSD 7.0 on one drive,
loaded gmirror, created the mirror, and "gmirror status" showed the mirror
to be normal .  I then changed fstab and the /boot/loader.conf files so that
I could boot from the gmirror.  Some controllers would boot the mirror, some
would not.  Here's my results (SiI = Silicon Image):

nVidia nForce 6150 PCIe chipset SATA controller (motherboard)
Command SiI0680 PCI - PATA controller
Promise TX2 PCI - PATA controller
Maxtor (Promise) PCI - PATA controller
JMicron363 - SATA controller

(Note: geom_mirror.ko loads, but will not find mirror, boot process stalls
at mountroot> prompt)
SiI3112/3114 PCI - SATA controller
SiI3132 PCIe - SATA controller (tried two cards from different vendors)

gmirror works fine using all the tested controllers, but will not survive a
reboot on the two listed above.

I would include a dmesg from one of the failed attempts, but it didn't have
anything that would help. On success the console reads "GEOM_MIRROR: Device
mirror/gm0 launched (1/1). On failure, there is no entry for failing to find
the mirror. The last entry is "trying to mount root from

So does anyone have any idea why gmirror does not work for a boot disk on
the Silicon Image based SATA controllers? This is baffling.


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