HP Embedded SATA RAID controller (FreeBSD 6.2)

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at toybox.placo.com
Thu Jan 25 08:58:32 UTC 2007

Hi George!

Common problem.  The issue isn't that the FreeBSD driver cannot talk
to the SATA controller.  It can do that just fine.

The problem is that HP is using a modified metadata format on the
disk drives.

What you need to do is go into the Proliant BIOS and DISABLE
the SATA raid.  This of course means any raid arrays, mirrored or
otherwise, that you have created, cannot be used from BIOS.  Just
leave the BIOS settings so that the SATA controller is enabled, but
the RAID on the SATA controller isn't.

Then boot FreeBSD 6.2.  It will see 2 disk drives.  (or more or however
many you got)

Now, if you want a raid mirror here is what you do.  Load a scratch
install of FreeBSD 6.2 on the first disk.  Run atacontrol to create a
mirror on both disks.  This writes out a metadata format that FreeBSD's
disk driver understands.  This will trash your freebsd install of course.
No problem.  Reboot from the installation CD and now you will see
the 2 disks, plus ar0 (the mirror)   Install to that and your all set.

Basically the only difference between doing it HP's way by creating
the RAID from HP BIOS and doing it the FreeBSD way is that
the HP BIOS is unaware of the FreeBSD metadata format so you
cannot see or rebuild an array from BIOS that was created in
FreeBSD, and FreeBSD is unaware
of HP's metadata format so you cannot see or rebuild an array
from FreeBSD that was created in BIOS

As far as how the actual raid mirror works, it's exactly the same.
In fact, better, since you can rebuild a FreeBSD array from
FreeBSD and it's about 10 times faster than rebuilding it from


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "George Vanev" <vanev at unisoft-ltd.com>
To: "FreeBSD Questions" <freebsd-questions at freebsd.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 4:35 AM
Subject: HP Embedded SATA RAID controller (FreeBSD 6.2)

> I have HP ProLiantML 110 G3 server.
> I am trying to install FreeBSD 6.2.
> But it doesn't seem to recognise the RAID controller.
> I don't know what exactly is the controller.
> In the hp site I didn't find anything usefull,
> except that this is "HP embedded SATA RAID controller"
> Not much, uh?!
> Any one could help?!
> Regards
> --
> George Vanev
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