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Ok here's the deal. In trying to install SLES 11, partd says it cannot read the partitioning on my SAS disk. Specifically I can reuse the existing AIX partition table but not edit it. The drive is SAS and the arch is PPC, specifically a Power770. The drive used to be part of a rootvg and thus has AIX partition tables. I think I need to wipe the parition table off the SAS drive in order to make SLES happy. I've tried using Ubuntu PPC, YellowDog, and SLES but every shell I attempt to drop to is only ash and therefore does not have the correct drivers/commands.

I've also attempted to use the AIX 6.1 cd to erase the drive, but it takes forever and I end up just rebooting the LPAR. I'm also suspicious it leaves the partition table intact or leaves it for last...

I'm a bit of a AIX newb so please be nice :)

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parted's mklabel command creates a new partition table, you'll need to decide what partition table format you want to use (msdos, probably. Possibly gpt if you have a sufficiently modern BIOS or your system uses EFI).

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That helps, but my original question is how do I get to a point where I can boot the 770 and run dd or partd? ie, what variant/bootcd? – JeremiahJohnson May 11 '11 at 20:47
Now I'm confused, weren't you able to run parted with the SLES 11 install? It should let you mklabel a drive it can't read the partition table on. Or is the problem that the SLES install can't access the drive at all (missing the driver?) – DerfK May 11 '11 at 21:06
I'm not sure how to drop to a shell in the SLES install? I've never installed SLES but during the install it runs partd [automagically] and then says I can't edit the existing tables. It can see the drive just fine. Is there another way to issue commands inside the install? – JeremiahJohnson May 11 '11 at 21:28
Most distributions set up a shell on an alternate console that you can activate. If you're using a graphical installer, you'll probably need to push something like Ctrl+Alt+F2 to get to that alternate console (and then push other combinations to figure out what console # the installer was running on to switch back, probably F5 F6 or F7). If it's a text console then just Alt+F2 should be enough (and the installer is almost certainly on console F1) – DerfK May 11 '11 at 23:13
I didn't realize that. I still can't switch shells during the SLES install, not sure if it's a limitation of yast2 or what the deal is. I've tried launching a vterm from the HMC web interface and also directly via vtmenu. I've tried right-CTRL-ALT-Fn and left, no effect. Switching to a RHEL install to see if I can get another vterm. – JeremiahJohnson May 12 '11 at 18:19

Have you tried wiping the entire drive with something like dban?

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Ah did not realize that there was a ppc version. I'll try that. – JeremiahJohnson May 11 '11 at 20:34
DBAN won't boot unfortunately – JeremiahJohnson May 11 '11 at 20:49
Do you have i386 architecture that you can just plug the SAS drive into to wipe it? – Ben Piper May 11 '11 at 20:51
I don't unfortunately, this was my first inclination due to the specialized hardware I'm running. – JeremiahJohnson May 11 '11 at 21:01

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