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Selectable SCSI boot (Read 11036 times)
alphaa10
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Selectable SCSI boot
Apr 14th, 2008 at 1:30am
 
Objective-- I want to boot from any of several small SCSI drives attached to a single controller, but my current (old) controller card appears not to offer that feature in its setup utility.

Is there a popular, reliable SCSI adapter anyone would like to recommend, which allows me to choose my physical SCSI boot drive easily?

Background-- I provide tech support to home-based users, and many of them employ older systems. To stay current with them, I must install the same OS on a bootable partition on my office machine in order to troubleshoot and advise on problem scenarios.

Originallly, my idea was simply to partition a single, large IDE drive into as many sections as I needed. Choosing a boot partition could be managed easily from a software boot manager like System Commander.

However, that approach exposes me to massive loss from a single error in the partition table. Moreover, the more complex my setup, the worse the exposure to other problems becomes.

So, I prefer to install the different OSes on the respective SCSI drives, one OS per drive.  This simplifies imaging for backup, as well.
 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #1 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 5:18am
 
Honestly, I've never seen a plugin BIOS for a SCSI adapter that is nice enough to use to regularly multiboot. For this kind of thing I'd never go past virtualization anyway; I mostly use VMware Workstation for this, but I've been having a play with VirtualBox and that's perfectly adequate too (VirtualPC doesn't really make the grade, IMO).

Given that most everything now supports VMWare's published virtual disk format including free-to-use virtualizers like VirtualBox and VMWare Player and plenty of imaging tools (BESR, ShadowProtect, Ghost Solution Suite among others) which can do P2V/V2P, there's really no downside to using virtualized systems at all and a ton of benefits.
 
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #2 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 12:17pm
 
I second the recommendation:  use VMware Workstation 6.  I can say that it does work well with ShadowProtect Deskop.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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Rad
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #3 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 4:16pm
 
I've been away from SCSI for a few years now, but used to live there.

You need a SCSI adapter with a bios. Most modern adapters will come with a bios.

Adaptec is the de facto SCSI standard.

You can usually get similar results for cheaper with Tekram, which is what I always used.

LSI Logic is another to look at. Tekram used LSI Logic controller chips. Price range I'd expect in the area of $150 to $250.

I multi-booted several different flavors of Windows on several different SCSI hard drives .. with no problem whatsoever.

Had to work a little mojo when I added Linux to the mix, but if you're not doing that, I can't image you having any problems.

I know zip about VMWare, but both Nigel & Pleo are well-informed, so their opinion is worth considering.
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #4 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 7:00pm
 
Rad wrote on Apr 14th, 2008 at 4:16pm:
Adaptec is the de facto SCSI standard.

Yeah, before I wrote my first reply I fired up an IBM xSeries server I have here with a dual Adaptec RAID controller integrated on the motherboard to remind myself what you could do with it and frankly, although Adaptec SCSIselect does let you do useful stuff it's a million miles short of the convenience you get with virtualization.

If you don't want to shell out the $$ for a VMware 6 Workstation license (and it's worth it, no question), VirtualBox is sufficiently close to it in many respects (has snapshots, etc) to give you 90% of the utility so and I recommend grabbing the free-for-personal use edition of it and taking it for a whirl.
 
 
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Rad
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #5 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 7:17pm
 
Quote:
I fired up an IBM xSeries server I have here with a dual Adaptec RAID controller  

Well, if Nigel has used *both* Adaptec SCSI (high-end) and VMWare, then he is obviously in a better position to say what would be a better option.

I have only used SCSI .. up to Tekram DC390-U3W. So, in this situation, I defer to his (superior) experience.

Out of curiosity, I checked to see how much WMWare costs:

http://www.vmware.com/vmwarestore/buy_workstation.html

$189, but I think it can be had for ~$160, if you get it from a reseller.
 
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Brian
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #6 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 7:44pm
 
Rad wrote on Apr 14th, 2008 at 7:17pm:
$189, but I think it can be had for ~$160, if you get it from a reseller.

And then you need a license for the WinXP etc that you run in the VM. Is that correct?
 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #7 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 9:51pm
 
Brian wrote on Apr 14th, 2008 at 7:44pm:
And then you need a license for the WinXP etc that you run in the VM. Is that correct?

Pretty much, which is why there aren't any Windows-based appliances in the VMware marketplace to run using Player other than eval editions supplied by MS themselves. However, particularly when you use a lot of snapshots you can use the one core activated license install in many more interesting ways, and they are all there at your fingertips all the time (just not more than one at once concurrently). No stuffing about with partitioning and multiboot conflicts ever, no struggles with dissimilar hardware, etc.
 
 
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alphaa10
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #8 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 10:29pm
 
Rad wrote on Apr 14th, 2008 at 4:16pm:
I've been away from SCSI for a few years now, but used to live there.


Rad, this is somewhat a surprise to me after I just read (briefly) through your Radified Guide to SCSI, a 14-chapter paean to a mixed SCSI and IDE hardware environment.

Nonetheless, your move to what I presume to be a virtualized desktop confirms what Nigel, Brian and Pleonasm said.

Although you defer to others on this forum, I salute your working experience with SCSI and IDE in hybrid combination. Like you, I found the cost per gb for SCSI was unmanageable, so I moved most of my heavy frieght over to IDE drives, leaving SCSI for OS and other program code.

Thanks to all who replied-- your answers were prompt, expert and very helpful.


 
 
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Brian
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #9 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 10:48pm
 
Quote:
No stuffing about with partitioning and multiboot conflicts ever,

Damn. Now that I'm on top of all that, I've got to start again.
 
 
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Rad
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #10 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 10:56pm
 
alphaa10 wrote on Apr 14th, 2008 at 10:29pm:
Rad, this is somewhat a surprise

My life changed in ways that required mobility. Hence laptop. But don't think I'm not suffering with the painfully slow access times. Seems like I'm forever watching my disk access light, waiting for it to finish one task, so I can give it another.

Some day I'll be back with 15K SCSI, but that day isn't today.

alphaa10 wrote on Apr 14th, 2008 at 10:29pm:
paean  

Had to look up that one:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/paean

1. any song of praise, joy, or triumph.  
2. a hymn of invocation or thanksgiving to Apollo or some other ancient Greek deity.  

I like that word.  Smiley
 
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alphaa10
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #11 - Apr 14th, 2008 at 11:00pm
 
Brian wrote on Apr 14th, 2008 at 7:44pm:
And then you need a license for the WinXP etc that you run in the VM. Is that correct?


Brian and Nigel, if my intent is to run a particular OS to virtualize a client's environment while working on his problem, is the particular MS license used to make the original, physical installation of the OS (shrinkwrapped, OEM version of XP) version enough to satisfy MS?

A more casual reader might interpret your comments are requiring two OS licenses-- one for the base, and one for the VM.

 
 
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Nigel Bree
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #12 - Apr 15th, 2008 at 1:53am
 
That's a tricky one, for several reasons:
- it isn't related to virtualisation as such really, but the whole business that you are carrying out,
-  I don't know what MS really intend (I know what we intend with our licensing, so I can make a pretty well-informed guess, but that's not the same thing as knowing)
- whatever I say here, because I work for a software vendor it's the nature of things that somewhere will try and misrepresent my personal views as my employer's official policy and/or some massive piece of hipocrisy.
- I live in a country where the legal system works on a fundamentally different basis to yours, and in particular where concepts representing values such as "being fair" are actually the letter of the law, and moreover that intent matters (an oft-used principle is that the "substance" of an arrangement matters more than the "form").

With that background, I certainly have some thoughts to offer, which are mostly which just repeating what I think are some more useful principles to approach these things with than being legalistic.

- MS have a reasonable right to insist that when someone uses Windows, that they have paid for it somehow so that there is no question about theft. Their activation and licensing process work in both directions here - they exist both to give the purchaser a ready proof that it was paid for as well as to provide evidence of intent to use in bad faith. But actually, the activation/licensing mechanisms aren't much more than that, and they aren't where the substance of things really lies.
- How much you pay for a copy of Windows - OEM versus retail, upgrade versus standalone -  is a separate question, but I think it's reasonable to point at the general feature of commerce, that such transactions are carried out in good faith, and with the intent that both parties derived benefits from the transaction.
- the purpose of pricing is largely just to form a crude, forward-looking first approximation at trying to divide up the future value inherent in the product being traded, and that
- if it ever came to a dispute, the real end game of the dispute resolution process, carried out in good faith, would be to try and divide up that value in a backward-looking way on the basis of the value actually realised.

To add to this, you should take a good look at the license for Windows PE in the WAIK, and the specific license clauses granted there: to use it in not just installing Windows, but also to recover Windows installs (IOW, using Windows for the purpose of fixing Windows), and factor that into your personal moral judgment when you decide what to do.

You could, for instance, choose to infer from the WAIK licensing, for instance, that Microsoft tacitly recognise maintenance of Windows as a situation where you are not personally deriving value from using Windows as a product; you could choose to give higher standing to the principle that every use of Windows needs to be paid for, but feel once you have assured that you have more than enough genuine licenses to cover your customers, yourself, plus a couple spares to "split the difference"; you could decide that the only right cause is to pay for two licenses.

Honestly, what I think matters most of all is that you've considered all the options, and honestly feel you are doing the right thing, whatever you decide. If you were to bump into one of the Windows kernel developers and get to know them, if you could look that person in the eye and have a clear conscience that you've done the right thing, that's more important than the legalities.

That's my NZD$0.02 - sorry if that answer is a bit too wishy-washy.

All that said, when it comes to the software I actually use for work we pay Microsoft a huge chunk o' change annually for MSDN Universal subscriptions and volume license keys and all the rest for every developer, so my personal moral decisions are taken well and truly out of the equation, but if I was a sole trader or consultant or something those are the principles I'd apply in deciding what to do.
 
 
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Pleonasm
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #13 - Apr 15th, 2008 at 7:27am
 
Quote:
…if my intent is to run a particular OS to virtualize a client's environment while working on his problem, is the particular MS license used to make the original, physical installation of the OS (shrink wrapped, OEM version of XP) version enough to satisfy MS?

I have no legal expertise to offer, so you should call the Licensing Department at Microsoft (800-426-9400) to get the right answer.

As a practical matter, based on my experience, you do need a separate product key to activate Windows on the virtual machine (VM), since the VM is in fact a distinct machine, just like a second PC.  I suspect that if you activate Windows on the VM using the same product key as that used by your customer, one of the two (or both) installations of Windows will be detected as “non-genuine”.
 

ple • o • nasm n. “The use of more words than are required to express an idea”
 
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alphaa10
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Re: Selectable SCSI boot
Reply #14 - Apr 15th, 2008 at 1:42pm
 
As a practical matter, based on my experience, you do need a separate product key to activate Windows on the virtual machine (VM), since the VM is in fact a distinct machine, just like a second PC.  I suspect that if you activate Windows on the VM using the same product key as that used by your customer, one of the two (or both) installations of Windows will be detected as “non-genuine”.
---
Thanks-- that answer is clear enough. (Nigel was at somewhat of a disadvantage from NZ). However, the "dual-licensing requirement" is probably an issue to many who would run Windows virtualized. It confirms, for me at least, the wisdom of running a non-virtual setup whenever possible-- not only with the benefit of speed, but now, half the cost of any OS license.

 
 
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