7 min read

Installing Ubuntu 22.04 LTS with RAID 1 and LVM

Installing Ubuntu 22.04 LTS with RAID 1 and LVM
Photo by Kevin Horvat / Unsplash

If you have been reading my article on the Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 16 - Gen 8 then you know that I received a laptop with no SSD and therefore, no OS pre-installed. With 2x TB Crucial P3 Plus PCIe 4.0 my goal is to install Ubuntu 22.04 LTS on LVM on a RAID 1 array. However, as you can imagine, this is not as easy as simply using the graphical installer and that is the reason why I write this guide.

A first look at the Tuxedo InfinityBook Pro 16 - Gen8
I was looking at a replacement for my MSI Stealth GS65 that served me well the last 5 years, when I heard, via The Linux Experiment, of Tuxedo, a German company based in Augsburg. They focuse on Linux laptops and in particular, they offer laptops with the Intel Management Engine

I will assume that you already have a bootable Ubuntu Live with the latest LTS version. Once booted, you should be left with a choice Install Ubuntu or Try Ubuntu

  • Select Try Ubuntu.
  • Start a terminal by pressing Ctrl-Alt-T.

First, you should identify the name of your disk using lsblk:

nvme1n1                 259:0    0   3.6T  0 disk                       
nvme0n1                 259:3    0   3.6T  0 disk  

In my case, the disks are nvme0n1 and nvme1n1 . You should adjust the commands according to the name of your disks.

Create partitions on the physical disks

Remove any previous partition schema using the following destructive operation:

sudo sgdisk --zap-all /dev/nvme0n1
sudo sgdisk --zap-all /dev/nvme1n1

Create two partitions on each drive; one for EFI (type ef00) and one for the RAID device (type fd00).

sudo sgdisk -n 1:0:+512M -t 1:ef00 -c 1:"EFI System" /dev/nvme0n1
sudo sgdisk -n 2:0:0 -t 2:fd00 -c 2:"Linux RAID" /dev/nvme0n1
sudo sgdisk -n 1:0:+512M -t 1:ef00 -c 1:"EFI System" /dev/nvme1n1
sudo sgdisk -n 2:0:0 -t 2:fd00 -c 2:"Linux RAID" /dev/nvme1n1

Create a FAT32 system for the EFI partition on the first drive.

Create the RAID device

Ensure that you have internet connection, either wired, or by configuring a wireless connection which can be done using the graphical interface.

Then install mdadm :

  sudo apt update -y
  sudo apt install mdadm -y

Create the RAID array using the second partition of each disk:

 sudo mdadm --create /dev/md0 --bitmap=internal --level=1 --raid-disks=2 /dev/nvme0n1p2 /dev/nvme1n1p2

You can safely ignore the warning about the metadata.

Partition the RAID device

We now have a RAID device created ( /dev/md0 ) that we can partition using sgdisk . Create a single partition with type LVM (code E6D6D379-F507-44C2-A23C-238F2A3DF928):

  sudo sgdisk --zap-all /dev/md0
  sudo sgdisk -n 1:0:0 -t 1:E6D6D379-F507-44C2-A23C-238F2A3DF928 -c 1:"Linux LVM" /dev/md0

Create the LVM devices

Create a physical volume on the first and unique partition of the RAID device:

sudo pvcreate /dev/md0p1

Create a volume group on the physical volume:

sudo vgcreate vg0 /dev/md0p1

Create logical volumes (partitions) on the new volume group. For my purpose, I will create an extremely simple layout with a single volume that takes the whole RAID device partition that itself takes the whole disk using 100%FREE.

sudo lvcreate -Z y -L 100%FREE --name root vg0

If you want multiple logical volumes, for instance, to separate the root from the home, you will have to use something like this:

sudo lvcreate -Z y -L 100GB --name root vg0
sudo lvcreate -Z y -L 100%FREE --name home vg0
We are now ready to install Ubuntu!

Install Ubuntu 22.04

Double-click on the Install Ubuntu 22.04 LTS icon on the desktop.

Follow the instruction according to your needs until the storage configuration step.

On the Installation type page, select Something else. This will present you with a list of partitions called /dev/mapper/vg0-root, etc.

Double-click on each partition starting with /dev/mapper/vg0-. Select Use as: Ext4, check the Format the partition box, and choose the appropriate mount point (/ for vg0-root, /home for vg0-home, etc.).

Select the first disk /dev/nvme0n1 for the boot loader.

Press Install Now and continue the installation.

When the installation is finished, select Continue Testing.

At this stage, do not reboot! The mdadm software to manage the RAID array is present only on the live session. Therefore, if you reboot, the OS will not be able to detect and assemble the array!

If every is correct, by typing lsblk in a terminal, you should see something like:

nvme1n1                 259:0    0   3.6T  0 disk  
├─nvme1n1p1             259:1    0   512M  0 part  
└─nvme1n1p2             259:2    0   3.6T  0 part  
  └─md0                   9:0    0   3.6T  0 raid1 
    └─md0p1             259:6    0   3.6T  0 part  
      └─vg0-workstation 253:0    0   3.6T  0 lvm   /target
nvme0n1                 259:3    0   3.6T  0 disk  
├─nvme0n1p1             259:4    0   512M  0 part
└─nvme0n1p2             259:5    0   3.6T  0 part  
  └─md0                   9:0    0   3.6T  0 raid1 
    └─md0p1             259:6    0   3.6T  0 part  
      └─vg0-workstation 253:0    0   3.6T  0 lvm   /target

Installing mdadm on the system

To install mdadm , we need to chroot into the system. To do so, we need to mount the partitions and bind the devices.

The root partition is mount on /target. If you have more than  one logical volume, you should mount them. For instance, assuming a separate partition for home:

sudo mount /dev/mapper/vg0-home /target/home

Then you can bind some devices

cd /target
sudo mount --bind /dev dev 
sudo mount --bind /proc proc
sudo mount --bind /sys sys

Finally, chroot into the system:

sudo chroot .

Help the system to resolve the repositories' DNS:

echo "nameserver" >> /etc/resolv.conf 

We can now install mdadm:

apt install mdadm -y

Configuring the RAID on the target system

We need to check if the array has properly been discovered. Check the file /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf. It should contain a line near the end similar to

ARRAY /dev/md0 metadata=1.2 name=ubuntu:0 UUID=e1a1650d:138d43bd:d53e1e18:29aa74ea

If the line is present, then simply delete name=ubuntu:0.
If the line is not present, then you can generate it using the following:

sudo mdadm -Db /dev/md0

Check that the output looks like the line above and if so, output it to the end of /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf:

sudo mdadm -Db /dev/md0 >> /etc/mdadm/mdadm.conf

Then, we need to edit the file and remove the name=ubuntu:0.
Update the module list the kernel should load at boot.

echo raid1 >> /etc/modules

Update the boot ramdisk:

update-initramfs -u

Finally, exit from chroot:


And that's it! We now have a fresh new installation of Ubuntu with RAID 1 and LVM.
While the RAID array is protecting the main partition from a disk failure, the EFI boot partition is not protected via RAID as it resides only on the first partition of the first disk.

Instead of relying on RAID, we will clone the partition and insert clone into the boot chain. Be certain to copy the first partition of the first disk to the first partition of the secon disk:

sudo dd if=/dev/nvme0n1p1 of=/dev/nvme1n1p1 bs=4096

You can check the result with

sudo blkid /dev/nvme[01]n1p1

which should return something like

/dev/nvme0n1p1: UUID="F41E-A163" BLOCK_SIZE="512" TYPE="vfat" PARTLABEL="EFI System" PARTUUID="a10fa1d6-0079-4370-9152-1761b2282c07"
/dev/nvme1n1p1: UUID="F41E-A163" BLOCK_SIZE="512" TYPE="vfat" PARTLABEL="EFI System" PARTUUID="ac3839c7-cf53-47c4-a376-905646e0a193"

Then, to insert the second EFI partition into the boot chain, identify the location of the EFI file with

sudo efibootmgr -v

The path is located after the File in the output:

oot0000* ubuntu        HD(1,GPT,a10fa1d6-0079-4370-9152-1761b2282c07,0x800,0x100000)/File(\EFI\ubuntu\shimx64.efi)

Insert the EFI file into the first partition of the second disk. Note that the -d (for disk) expect a disk and not directly a partition. The partition is specified using the flag -p:

sudo efibootmgr -c -d /dev/nvme0n1 -p 1 -L "ubuntu2" -l '\EFI\ubuntu\shimx64.efi'
The system is now ready to use and can be rebooted! 

In case the first disk fails, the data it protected by the RAID array, and the system will still boot from the EFI partition of the healthy disk. The RAID array would be in degraded mode.

In my case, after a reboot, here is the output of lsblk:

aquemy@ws:~$ lsblk
nvme0n1                 259:0    0   3.6T  0 disk  
├─nvme0n1p1             259:2    0   512M  0 part  
└─nvme0n1p2             259:3    0   3.6T  0 part  
  └─md0                   9:0    0   3.6T  0 raid1 
    └─md0p1             259:6    0   3.6T  0 part  
      └─vg0-workstation 253:0    0   3.6T  0 lvm   /
nvme1n1                 259:1    0   3.6T  0 disk  
├─nvme1n1p1             259:4    0   512M  0 part  /boot/efi
└─nvme1n1p2             259:5    0   3.6T  0 part  
  └─md0                   9:0    0   3.6T  0 raid1 
    └─md0p1             259:6    0   3.6T  0 part  
      └─vg0-workstation 253:0    0   3.6T  0 lvm  /

The status of the RAID device:

aquemy@ws:~$ sudo mdadm --detail /dev/md0
           Version : 1.2
     Creation Time : Wed Sep 13 17:10:02 2023
        Raid Level : raid1
        Array Size : 3906361152 (3.64 TiB 4.00 TB)
     Used Dev Size : 3906361152 (3.64 TiB 4.00 TB)
      Raid Devices : 2
     Total Devices : 2
       Persistence : Superblock is persistent

     Intent Bitmap : Internal

       Update Time : Sat Sep 16 16:45:40 2023
             State : active 
    Active Devices : 2
   Working Devices : 2
    Failed Devices : 0
     Spare Devices : 0

Consistency Policy : bitmap

              Name : ubuntu:0
              UUID : e1a1650d:138d43bd:d53e1e18:29aa74ea
            Events : 31227

    Number   Major   Minor   RaidDevice State
       0     259        3        0      active sync   /dev/nvme0n1p2
       1     259        5        1      active sync   /dev/nvme1n1p2

The status of the LVM physical volume:

aquemy@ws:~$ sudo pvdisplay 
  --- Physical volume ---
  PV Name               /dev/md0p1
  VG Name               vg0
  PV Size               <3.64 TiB / not usable <4.80 MiB
  Allocatable           yes (but full)
  PE Size               4.00 MiB
  Total PE              953700
  Free PE               0
  Allocated PE          953700
  PV UUID               8ocB3w-R3Dp-76Yr-PE2H-mfC2-D4Wf-cmAG8S

And finally, the status of the logical volume:

aquemy@ws:~$ sudo lvdisplay 
  --- Logical volume ---
  LV Path                /dev/vg0/workstation
  LV Name                workstation
  VG Name                vg0
  LV UUID                kq9vhC-OqZA-QaTv-JkBe-OU1i-PJsA-Sukflj
  LV Write Access        read/write
  LV Creation host, time ubuntu, 2023-09-13 17:22:46 +0200
  LV Status              available
  # open                 1
  LV Size                <3.64 TiB
  Current LE             953700
  Segments               1
  Allocation             inherit
  Read ahead sectors     auto
  - currently set to     256
  Block device           253:0