Server: IBM/Lenovo x3850 X5 (model: 7143B2G)
IMM: YUOOH5A-1.55 (01/15/2018)
UEFI: G0E188BUS-1.88 (05/29/2018)
DSA: DSYTC5F-9.53 (02/17/2014)
FPGA: G0UD92B-5.02 (03/26/2014)
USB Flash Drivess: Maxell 32GB
Some noname 8GB
Verbatim U3 Smart 4GB
What I wished for:
I want to boot a USB Flash Drive from internal USB. I want to run Alpine Linux in the same way other people run VMWare ESXi from USB.
What I did:
I inserted the USB Flash Drive and a USB DVD drive (with the Alpine installation disk) in the server. I could boot just fine from the USB DVD and the USB Flash Drive got detected as a valid installation medium while installing Alpine and the installation completed successfully! But after a power cycle (and detaching the USB DVD) the USB Flash Drive did not boot.
How I tried to fix this:
- I tried F12 to force a 'USB Storage' boot
- I have tried to upgrade all firmwares to the newest releases
- I removed all other disks from the system
- I disabled all other boot options than 'USB Storage' from the UEFI.
- I removed the whole M1015 SAS controller from the system.
- I tried booting the USB Flash Drive on a laptop PC (that worked just fine!)
- I disabled all Boot ROMs on the networking cards from the UEFI.
- I slept for 3 hours hoping it was a bad dream.
- I have tried all USB connectors, internal, back and front.
- I made the installation on three other USB Flash Drives.
- I tried to do a normal ESXi-6.7.0u3 installation - that DID work. So the server is able to boot something!
So! I am almost down to a bare bone server with no possibilities for other hardware to take precedence on the boot process or conflicting in any way.
- EUFI not supporting booting from USB Flash Drive: No
It is selectable from F12 and I was able to boot VMware ESXi from a Flash drive too.
- The USB Flash Drive is not compatible with the server: Hmm?
I have tried four different brands of USB Flash Drives. Anybody know of a USB Flash Drive that is known to work booting a x3850 X5? Is there a limit like 2GB or something maybe?
- Conflicting hardware or boot ROMs: No
I have disabled all and even removed those that can.
- The installation did not create a bootable USB Flash Drive or the EUFI do not understand the boot-block: Hmm?
The USBKey is bootable from a laptop PC of the same x86 architecture. But still there is the possibility that the EUFI do not understand the boot-block format on the Flash Drive?
- USB connector problem: No
I have tried to insert the Flash Drive in internal, back and front connectors.
- I made a mixup and installed to an incorrect disk instead of the USB Flash Drive: No
I have removed all other disks from the system while installing and while booting and I recognised the size of the drive the installer detected.
- Alpine do not support UEFI booting - No
According to https://wiki.alpinelinux.org/wiki/Create_UEFI_boot_USB all new versions of Alpine works.
I know this got quite verbose but I just do not want to waste your time with some lame oversight. I really have tried all that I can think of here. :-)
So the big question - any hints? Currently I suspect the solution is a configuration in UEFI on the server, and not the flash drives or installation process?
- Morten Green Hermansen