Formatting disks and clearing RAID config on Power systems with iprutils

I recently put some spare disks into a Power S814 server, and when I tried installing an OS, be it VIOS or Debian, it would say that there were no disks available to install onto.

It turns out that the RAID configuration on the controller and the disks didn’t match. This is par for the course with any RAID controller, even in the x86 world. It also didn’t help that some of the disks were formatted for IBM i, which uses non-512-byte block disks. We need to use the vendor utility to clear out the RAID config, and format the disks to be usable by commodity operating systems.

The two utilities IBM provides for this are either the diagnostics on the AIX Standalone Diagnostics disc, or using the iprutils set of software. Since netbooting Linux was easier as I don’t have a NIM server, I’m choosing to do the latter here.

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Netbooting Alpine Linux on a PowerVM system

I had a need to run a utility that requires Linux (specifically, iprutils to configure a RAID card) onto a Power S814 that I had installed at a datacentre, and no remote hands to boot a CD with. However, there’s not much information documented on how to boot Linux on these systems from a network. This article aims to synthesize what I’ve found online, since information about IBM Power systems tends to be scant outside of IBM documentation..

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