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Why this guide ?

Because I was planning to install Gentoo on a Dell PowerEdge 2800, I was wondering what was the best way to do.

I found some informations, so I decided to merge all the informations into this page. You can found the sources at the bottom of this page.

We will install a 64bit version of Gentoo.

English is not my mother language so, I'm sorry for all the mistakes...

Dell PowerEdge 2800 Specs

This is the configuration of my Dell PE 2800


Loading the Installation CD

I'm using the 2006.1 AMD64 Installation Install CD.

Apparently, it's better to use the docache argument with at least 1 GB of memory. (It didn't work from my side.)

 gentoo docache 

This will prevent any problems with the CD spinning down and hanging the system. You should be able to do the install sucessfully if you omit this argument, but it will save you some headaches.

Step by step

I basicly followed the steps in the Gentoo Linux x86 handbook.

For some steps, I did the following specifics things.

Preparing the Disks

(chapter 4)

If you are using the Perc4i regardless of how many drives are mounted, the hardware RAID will create a single device for each logical drive. These will be (dependent on ammount of logical drives, starting with 0):




Choosing the right stage release

Normaly, you should have a Xeon x86_64 processor (or 2 :D). If you are unsure, first check that.

Recognizing x86_64 Enabled CPU (Useful for Xeon(tm) Processors)

cat /proc/cpuinfo

Check for the 'lm' flag. If you read somewhere that Xeon nocona cpu has to support SSE3, this is true but it's named PNI in cpuinfo.

Xeon w/EM64T (Intel) (also Pentium 4 P6xx)

vendor_id       : GenuineIntel
cpu family      : 15
model           : 4
model name      : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU XXXXMHz

Now you are sure

Choose the amd64 stage relase. (releases/amd64/current/stages/)

Configuring the Compile Options

make.conf settings

File: make.conf
CFLAGS="-march=nocona -O2 -pipe"

If you have hyperthreading turned on, then each processor counts as two logical CPUs, so if you have two hyperthreaded CPUs, then you should use MAKEOPTS="-j5" in your make.conf. This wont affect the generated code but might make your compiles faster.

File: make.conf

-O3 flag degraded OpenSSL benchmark 0-2% depending on the test. GnuPG became ~1% slower.

Choosing right make.profile

I suggest you to use the amd64 server specific tree.

ln -snf /usr/portage/profiles/default-linux/amd64/2006.1/server /etc/make.profile

Configuring the Kernel

Linux Kernel Configuration: Setting the correct Processor Family
( ) AMD-Opteron/Athlon64
(X) Intel EM64T
( ) Generic-x86-64

This will enable CONFIG_MPSC which states:

Optimize for Intel IA32 with 64bit extension CPUs
Linux Kernel Configuration: Setting the Subarchitecture type
( ) PC-compatible
(X) Support for ScaleMP vSMP

Enable the LSI Logic New Generation RAID Device Drivers and all subsections in the SCSI/Low Level Drivers section (Compiled In)

Linux Kernel Configuration: Setting the SCSI Device
Device Drivers  --->
  SCSI device support  --->
    SCSI low-level drivers  --->
      <*> LSI Logic New Generation RAID Device Drivers
        <*> LSI Logic Management Module (New Driver)
<*> LSI Logic MegaRAID Driver (New Driver)

Note that you must compile the SCSI controller as part of the kernel and not as a module (you can not load modules before you bring up the partition). The following are from 2006.1. Using Perc4i RAID controller.

Enable Intel Gigabit network

Linux Kernel Configuration: Enable Intel Gigabit network
Device Drivers  --->
  Network device support  --->
    Ethernet (1000Mbits)  --->
<*> Intel(R) PRO/1000 Gigabit Ethernet support

For the rest of the kernel, just make sure you use the dmesg output and lspci output to get all the drivers you need. Its best to leave out any support for hardware you know you won't use (i.e. usb, framebuffer, etc).

For reference, I used the gentoo-sources kernel instead of the vanilla because there are a few patches that have been added that seem to work better. The default kernel on Gentoo for the AMD64 is the 2.6.x series. If you need to use a 2.4.x kernel, be aware that support has practically been abandoned because these machines work so much better using 2.6.x.

End of installation

So, if you read this, I hope you were able to finish and successfully installed your Gentoo on Dell PowerEdge 2800. I'll try to add furter informations later to tweak your installation to perfectly feet to the hardware.

If you find something's wrong, or things to add...


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Last modified: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 22:19:00 +0000 Hits: 7,807