I really like those products as they are quite powerful and use only two units in your rack anyway. And they are rack-mountable without screws which makes the whole process quite a pleasure.
The problem when installing those machines is that Debian 3.0 does not support the built in ServeRAID controller. There is an extended boot-floppy on http://people.debian.org/~blade/install/preload/, but unfortuantly, today people.debian.org is down.
My solution was to apt-get install kernel-headers-2.4.18-bf2.4 (on another debian machine), to download vanilla 2.4.18 kernel sources, to copy over /usr/src/kernel-headers-2.4.18-bf2.4/.config to the directory where I unpacked the vanilla sources, to make oldconfig, to make menuconfig, to select Support for IBM ServeRAID in the configuration tool and finally to make modules.
I then copied the compiled ips.o to a blank disk in a directory called /boot. I could later on use this disk in the debian installation process (booted from CDROM with bf42 on the bootprompt) when I can “Load essential modules from disk”.
I did the about same thing for the e1000 driver, the built in ethernet chipset requires:
- Download it here and uncompress it.
- Hack src/Makefile to use the kernel-sources above.
- ignore the warning that a module not matching the current kernel will be built (because that’s what I want)
- Copy e1000.o to the disk
Now it installs flawlessly and I’m quite happy…