Experience Information

I fought the Silicon Image 3114 with Solaris and won!

The battle
My latest battle has been against a 4-port SATA-I PCI RAID card powered by the Silicon Image 3114 chipset (it shows up as a pci1095,3114 device). As luck would have it, the card did not work out of the box with Solaris, but some Google searches did provide some hints.
In my research, I found that the card is not a true hardware RAID card as there is no actual RAID magic happening in the chip. It is all in the provided software driver (hense the Windows only drivers). The chip basically allows the computer to “understand” how the drives get sliced and diced, and does the appropriate translation so the machine can speak to the drives. Nothing else. No wonder Solaris didn’t like it. Myself, I don’t at all care that the RAID is less than functional as I plan to use ZFS+raidz for my filesystems anyway.
For Solaris to recognize the drives, the card must be flashed with the IDE version of the BIOS (see the Silicon Image link above). If one has a DOS floppy around, this process should be a piece of cake. Considering I don’t own a floppy drive anymore, and also don’t have a CDROM in my server, the process turned out to be more challenging. In the end I was successful, but it took me about 6hrs of fiddling to get it done. (The Ultimate Boot CD was a lifesaver.)
The real sticking point for me was a simple command I ran the previous night in an attempt to get the card to work. According to OpenSolaris Bug ID 6595150, all I had to do was run an update_drv command to get things going. It added an entry to the bottom of /etc/driver_aliases to indicate that the RAID card was in fact associated with the ata driver, something that made complete sense to me at the time. Turns out, this bug is from an older version of OpenSolaris, and I never should have run this command. Of course the OS was never nice enough to tell me anything, so I was flying in the dark trying to figure out why nothing was working. After literally hours of debugging – this after the many hours already spent trying to flash the annoying little card – I removed the line and everything started working. Yay!
Moral of the story
When everyone else on Internet says you need to flash the BIOS with the IDE version for this particular card, listen to their wisdom. You don’t need to fiddle with things.
The system I got the card running on
OS: Nexenta 2.0RC3 (based on OpenSolaris b104+)
CPU: VIA Samuel 2 @800MHz
What I got running
For those who care, here is a semi-complete list of items I purchased. My goal was adding ~900G of redundant storage to my little Nexenta based Solaris server. I had practically no space free in the case as there is only a single 3.5″ drive bay, and a single 5.25″ drive bay. And, as the motherboard itself is pretty old, it only has two PATA connectors, USB 1.1, and a single PCI slot. In other words, not much to work with. As such, I felt that filling the single PCI slot with a 4-port SATA card and adding a special drive enclosure that would hold four 2.5″ drives was the way to go. My server sits in a closet and all of my machines connect via wireless, so high disk I/O bandwidth was not one of my design goals.
4-bay 2.5″ SATA HDD in 5.25″ drive enclosure (vendor) [] (reseller) []
4-port SATA-I PCI card (vendor) [] (reseller) []
This seems to be a generic card as I have seen pictures that look exactly the same from other venders, such a LINDY in the US.

4x Western Digital 320G Scorpio 2.5″ SATA HDD
Western Digital (vendor) [] (reseller) []

shFlags 1.0.3

I made a new release of shFlags today, version 1.0.3.

It is mostly minor bug fixes, but it does fix a major issue in the handling the mixing of flag and non-flag arguments on the command-line (the enhanced version of getopt is required).

Interesting read: The Other Half of “Artists Ship”

I find the article very intriguing. So very true, and so very sad that it is so true.

I don’t want to think the fact that a previous company I worked for had seven levels of approval just to purchase a new computer monitor, or the fact that another company required ten signatures just to get any software pushed to production.

I am glad that my current employer fights such political nonsense, and that I as an employee can point out problems and suggest improvements to any check I feel might be a waste of time and money.

Experience Networking Solution

I’m up and running with IPv6

I don’t know why, but I got a bee in my bonnet today and decided to setup IPv6. As it turned out, I already had the necessary hardware (an Apple Time Machine which is also a full featured AirPort Extreme Base Station) and only needed a tunnel broker. After some googling, I came up with a list of several and decided to try one out.

The first one I tried was SixXS. After going through the sign-up and email verification, I was left waiting for validation of my data. Humpf. Not so fun. After waiting all of maybe two minutes, I decided to try another.

I rang up a friend from work to find out who he uses. He recommended Hurricane Electric so I gave them a try. All I can say is I was amazed how quickly and easily I got an account setup, and got my tunnel information. They even allow up to four tunnels on the account, which means I could set one up at my brother’s house as well.

The difficulties came in three areas.

  1. Getting the Time Capsule configured
  2. Getting my ADSL router to route packets to the Time Capsule
  3. Updating my WPAD files so that IPv6 traffic would not use my proxy

Configuring the Time Capsule

Hurricane provided me with the following information to setup my IPv6 tunnel with.

Server IPv4 address:
Server IPv6 address: 2001:470:1f08:71d::1/64
Client IPv4 address:
Client IPv6 address: 2001:470:1f08:71d::2/64
[Client] Routed /64: 2001:470:1f09:71d::/64

In AirPort Utility, I went into manual mode for the Time Capsule, selected Tunnel mode on the IPv6 page (Advanced > IPv6), and pasted the info in, including manually setting the LAN Prefix Length. (In case you were wondering, my firmware version 7.3.2, the /64 prefix is automatically stripped once Update is clicked).

Once the Time Capsule restarted, I looked at my network settings on my MacBook Pro, and found that I now had an IPv6 address that was in the LAN IPv6 range. I tried ping6, but it didn’t work. After lots of troubleshooting, I realized that I could ping only the Local IPv6 address of the Time Capsule, but not the Removte IPv6 address. That made me think router.

Configuring the router

Honestly, this was a piece of cake once I figured out where all the settings were. Basically, I had to disable the firewall on the router and then set it to forward all packets to the Time Capsule (I set it as the default server). Once I had those two things, I was able to ping6, but was unable to pull up in my browser.

Configuring WPAD

To make my life easier, I have WPAD (Web Proxy Autodiscovery Protocol) setup on my local network so that the Auto-detect proxy settings for this network works in Firefox. I use Squid for my proxy on separate Linux server, but unfortunately the version I use (3.0STABLE1 on Ubuntu 8.04) doesn’t support IPv6. (The newer 3.1 release apparently does, but I’m not in the mood to spend lots of time compiling a new binary today.) I did some googling and found that I could make a single minor change to my wpad.dat file to get things working.

The basic change was to add a dnsResolve() check that was then compared against anything with a “:” in it. IPv6 addresses have colons ‘:’ in them, but IPv4 addresses don’t. If an IPv6 address is found, the proxy gets skipped. (I’ll save Squid 3.1 for another rainy day).

Here’s the final version of my wpad.dat.

function FindProxyForURL(url, host) {
if (host == "localhost" || host == "") { return "DIRECT"; }
if (isPlainHostName(host)) { return "DIRECT"; }
if (shExpMatch(host, "*.local")) { return "DIRECT"; }

// route ipv6 directly
if (shExpMatch(dnsResolve(host), "*:*")) { return "DIRECT"; }

return "PROXY; DIRECT";

function LocalFindProxyForURL(url, host)
FindProxyForURL(url, host);

That is pretty much it. Overall the process was much simpler than I expected. Hopefully this helps someone else get their IPv6 running as well!