I wish to connect an external enclosure of discs in a JBOD configuration to a computer running Ubuntu 8.10 server edition. I have the Ubuntu installation running smoothly on an internal IDE drive that's been functioning well for months. The external enclosure will be for used for storage as a file server only.

The enclosure I have is the "SANS DIGITAL TR5M-B 5 Bay SATA" (search on newegg, would add a link but I can't since I'm a new user) and since my motherboard doesn't have a PCI-E slot, I bought this PCI card to add eSata support to the machine: "Rosewill RC-210 Silicon Image e-SATA PCI" (again, on newegg.com)

After connecting the PCI card, I added the 2 hard drives to the enclosure, plugged in the external enclosure and turned it on, then I turned on the Ubuntu machine. After seeing the customary boot procedures (Post -> LILO, etc.) Ubuntu appears to begin to start, then i see the following messages:

ata1: link is slow to respond, please be patient (ready=-19)
ata1: COMRESET failed (errno=-16)

After 3 of these cycles of messages, I see:

Cannot find /dev/sda1 dropping to shell

Since /dev/sda1 is where the root install is located, I can understand why this is a problem. My thought at this point was that it had something to do with the external enclosure, so I turn it off, and unplug it from the computer, then restart. Ubuntu starts normally.

I beleive the PCI eSata card was recognized correctly, because I see the following output from "lspci -v"

00:0b.0 Mass storage controller: Silicon Image, Inc. SiI 3512 [SATALink/SATARaid] Serial ATA Controller (rev 01)
    Subsystem: Silicon Image, Inc. SiI 3512 [SATALink/SATARaid] Serial ATA Controller
    Flags: bus master, 66MHz, medium devsel, latency 32, IRQ 5
    I/O ports at a000 [size=8]
    I/O ports at 9800 [size=4]
    I/O ports at 9400 [size=8]
    I/O ports at 9000 [size=4]
    I/O ports at 8800 [size=16]
    Memory at ed000000 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=512]
    [virtual] Expansion ROM at 30000000 [disabled] [size=512K]
    Capabilities: [60] Power Management version 2
    Kernel driver in use: sata_sil
    Kernel modules: sata_sil

At this point, just to see if it would work, I connected the enclosure, and turned it on, hoping that I'd see new devices attached in /dev. Unfortunately, I only saw my internal IDE drive at /dev/sdaX

So my question is this, what do I need to do to configure the 2 SATA drives I have in the enclosure so that the OS sees these drives and can mount them? Do I have something configured incorrectly that would have caused the boot time error? Any help would be apprerciated.

For reference, here is my /etc/fstab file:

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0
# /dev/sda1
UUID=6cbaa9de-3ba1-43c0-ac8c-63c19e1ad1b4 /               ext3    relatime,errors=remount-ro 0       1
# /dev/sda6
UUID=0106ad4f-2fcc-44db-9475-154425032126 /home           ext3    relatime        0       2
# /dev/sda5
UUID=8be1601c-0380-4aaa-8cb4-b64ed262dae3 none            swap    sw              0       0
/dev/scd0       /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec,utf8 0       0

EDIT: Here are some more details I was able to pull. I followed Paul Rudnitskiy's suggestion, and attached the external enclosure after starting the maching normally, and I found this on the tail of dmesg:

[  135.367537] ata3: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x50000 action 0xe frozen
[  135.367639] ata3: SError: { PHYRdyChg CommWake }
[  135.367713] ata3: hard resetting link
[  141.150055] ata3: link is slow to respond, please be patient (ready=-19)
[  145.410073] ata3: COMRESET failed (errno=-16)
[  145.410165] ata3: hard resetting link
[  151.200062] ata3: link is slow to respond, please be patient (ready=-19)
[  155.460053] ata3: COMRESET failed (errno=-16)
[  155.460145] ata3: hard resetting link
[  161.250058] ata3: link is slow to respond, please be patient (ready=-19)
[  190.470198] ata3: COMRESET failed (errno=-16)
[  190.470291] ata3: hard resetting link
[  195.480055] ata3: COMRESET failed (errno=-16)
[  195.480144] ata3: reset failed, giving up
[  195.480213] ata3: EH complete

3 Answers 3


Sorry guys, turns out this was an ID ten T error. (ID 10 T) When I placed the SATA drives into the enclosure, I put the drives in starting at the top slot. Apparently the enclosure requires that the drives start at the bottom. Putting my drives down there, allows Ubuntu to automatically detect them.

Consequently, Paul and Supermathie are right, the devices did get renamed on subsequent reboots, (sda became sdb because it was replaced by the drive in the enclosure) but it didn't actually affect the booting of the OS since /etc/fstab references the UUID of the boot drive.

Also, if anyone is planning on using the same SATA PCI controller card with this enclosure, DON'T. As I found out last night, the chip set on this card, SiI 3512, does not support eSATA port multipliers, which are required for accessing drives besides the first drive on my Sans Digital enclosure. The effect is that Ubuntu only sees the first drive in the enclosure, rather than seeing all drives. (which is less than useful)

Hope this helps someone in the future.


Connecting your external drive has caused the drive names to change. To avoid this, you can reference & mount filesystems via UUID or label. This will prevent any renaming from messing up your system.

Other ways you can do this:

  • Change the module load order to load the IDE driver before the SAS drive
  • Use LVM instead. LVM will find its physical volumes even if they move around a bit. (Not really applicable for you, but may be for others).
  • I'm not sure that this is the problem. Here is the first entry from my /etc/fstab file: # /etc/fstab: static file system information. # # <file system> <mount point> <type> <options> <dump> <pass> proc /proc proc defaults 0 0 # /dev/sda1 UUID=6cbaa9de-3ba1-43c0-ac8c-63c19e1ad1b4 / ext3 relatime,errors=remount-ro 0 1
    – yanigisawa
    May 27, 2009 at 22:57
  • Perhaps you are referencing /dev/sda1 in your kernel parameters? Try checking there.
    – MikeyB
    May 28, 2009 at 14:17

Maybe external device changing adressing, like: past:

Port1 - sda
Port2 - sdb


Eport - sda
Port1 - sdb

Or enclosure not have enough power to spin up new disks. Can you connect enclosure after system boot and check, how it works?

  • I've booted into Ubuntu normally, then started the enclosure. Nothing has changed. I don't see any new devices in the /dev directory. Will Ubuntu server edition automatically create devices (/dev) when they are connected?
    – yanigisawa
    May 27, 2009 at 22:55

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