6 Replies Latest reply on Feb 11, 2013 9:06 AM by David Riley

    UEFI 2.0 or legacy BIOS support on Intel S5400SF Server Boards

    Neil Chess

      Hi,

       

      I'm currently toying with an old Intel SR1560SFHS server I acquired, and while installing Linux I learned that the board sported the older and deprecated Intel EFI 1.10 (32-bit). Seeing as I was unable to boot the OS via conventional methods (e.g. BIOS executing the MBR), I reverted to using EFI. Sadly, EFI 1.10 does not have the 'bcfg' utility newer UEFI versions do, so my OS is started by the EFI shell using a 'startup.nsh' file. Now, the problem is that the EFI architecture is 32-bit, and my kernel must be 64-bit. The EFI shell executes a 32-bit version of GRUB, which loads the kernel in 32-bit mode, which then, in turn, detects it is running in 32-bit mode, disables the EFI runtime services and switches to 64-bit mode. Hence EFI support is not available in the OS.

      Is there any chance UEFI 2.0 or plain and simple legacy BIOS is supported on this board?

        • 1. Re: UEFI 2.0 or legacy BIOS support on Intel S5400SF Server Boards
          Dan_O

          There is no way to get UEFI 2.0 on that board.  I know it did support RHEL 5.1 64-bit and SuSE 10 64-bit, so I'm thinking there has to be some way to boot a 64-bit OS off the old EFI 1.1.

          • 2. Re: UEFI 2.0 or legacy BIOS support on Intel S5400SF Server Boards
            Neil Chess

            There is, I'm currently running Arch Linux x64 on it, but without access to EFI runtime services, and via a detour (EFI Shell). Booting via legacy BIOS seems impossible, which I find rather weird.

            • 3. Re: UEFI 2.0 or legacy BIOS support on Intel S5400SF Server Boards
              David Riley

              I'm trying to do the exact same thing (same machine and distro).  I only got the machine yesterday, so I haven't had much time to work with it, but if I find a good solution, I'll post here.  Meanwhile, I'm all ears if anyone else has a good solution; I'm not at all used to EFI (I very much preferred Open Firmware and don't understand why we're subjected to this EFI crap when there was a perfectly good solution already present).

              • 4. Re: UEFI 2.0 or legacy BIOS support on Intel S5400SF Server Boards
                David Riley

                I managed to get it to boot as a normal BIOS GRUB install (on an MBR partition, not a GUID partition).  Some caveats:

                 

                - I am using the SAS active hotswap backplane (ASR1500SASBP), not the passive backplane.  Since that means I'm booting using an option ROM, that may affect how willing the machine is to boot off it; however, since the board claims to be able to run DOS 6.22, I'm willing to bet that you'd be able to run from the built-in SATA controllers using either the fixed drive option or the passive backplane.  If you're looking to get a nice upgrade, the active backplane is available cheaply on eBay; I got it and the AXXSASIOMOD (the 4x external SAS I/O module that fits the header underneath the PCIe riser) from the same seller (kalleyomalley) for $25 each and combined shipping.  They both install quite easily and quickly.

                 

                - The older firmware on the SAS controllers (both the backplane and the I/O module) was quite buggy and was interfering with the boot process.  Fortunately, for all of EFI's faults, it makes it quite easy to do things like firmware upgrades from a USB stick with no OS.  I downloaded this package, unzipped it and stuck it on a USB flash drive and ran the appropriate scripts from the EFI shell.  Note the instruction that says you need to disable the SAS backplane when updating the I/O module and vice versa.

                 

                Once everything was set, I was able to set the appropriate drive on the backplane as the primary boot device.  GRUB (installed as the regular GRUB version, not the EFI version) runs fine at boot now, though it seems some of the UUIDs for the drives changed (I'm not sure why, since I don't know where the UUIDs are stored or from what they're calculated).

                 

                Feel free to post back if none of this helps; I may be forgetting something else I did.

                • 5. Re: UEFI 2.0 or legacy BIOS support on Intel S5400SF Server Boards
                  Neil Chess

                  Well, I now realize I haven't tried installing or booting an OS using an MBR-partitioned hard drive (slaps himself in the face). My personal default is always GPT. I'm using the active backplane too, but thanks for the suggestion. I'm actually looking for the Intel RMM module, but I assume I'll get it from eBay some time in the future.

                   

                  Thanks for your feedback.

                  • 6. Re: UEFI 2.0 or legacy BIOS support on Intel S5400SF Server Boards
                    David Riley

                    Also, it occurs to me that there may be a way to do it with a GPT disk, since there are MBR compatibility modes which allow for sector 0 to be used as a boot block.  I didn't play much with it, though, since it seems the compatibility with 32-bit EFI 1.1 doesn't give me much benefit, and my boot drive is only 80GB (the data drives can have whatever partition table format I want, obviously).