Quadruple Booting :-)

#1
Hi guys,
I'm looking for a bit of help and guidance which will help me progress in my testing scenarios. I'm not new to dual-booting, from a pure Windows perspective, however throwing Linux into the mix, has thrown me a bit.

What am I trying to achieve?

Well, I have a PowerEdge T605, with 3 x 146GB SAS Hard Drives on a SAS 6IR Adaptor. All works fine, and is up to date with firmware etc. There is no RAID implemented - they are kept as 3 seperate drives.

Dell's BIOS & SAS config tool, whilst useful, don't seem to allw you to choose a particular hard drive on boot - I select 'boot sequence', and the only option I get is the first physical drive, so, a different approach is required.

What I'm looking to do overall, is Quadruple boot Windows Server 2008, 2008 R2 (Server 7), VMware ESX 3.5 U3, and Citrix XenServer 5. Now, I know all 4 OS's work with the hardware, and I have no problems with dual-booting WS2008 & R2 (these are both installed on the first Physical Disk, which is split into 3 Partitions - 1 for 2008, 1 for 2008 R2, and 1 200mb Partition that Win 7 WinPE creates to hold 'system files'). Currently, all is behaving itself, and I've used EasyBCD from the WS2008 partition to edit names, change default OS etc. Windows Server 2008 was the first OS to be installed, then 2008 R2. When inside the WS2008 partition, WS2008 is C:\, R2 is E:\ and 'System' is D:\.

So, I have the following:

Disk 1 146GB - Windows Server 2008 (70GB ish), Windows Server 2008 R2 (70GB ish), 200mb 'System' Partition.
Disk 2 146GB - Blank
Disk 3 146GB - Blank

So, I try XenServer 5 first. I install from the DVD ISO, it asks me to pick a disk to install to, and i choose Disk 3. Installation succeeds with no problems. Well, apart from the fact that when it reboots, I don't actually have a way of getting to 'Disk 3' for it's boot process to start!

If I go into WS2008, and look in Disk Management, I can see all 3 physical disks, and if i bring disk 3 (XenServer) 'online', i can see it's made up of 3 partitions (2 x 4GB, and 1 larger partition that takes up the remaining space (used for Virtual Machines i think)). I don't want to mess anything up so I make it offline again.

I open up EasyBCD, but in all honesty, I'm not sure what I'm doing - I tried multiple different options, using grub, not using grub, selecting Drive 2 Partition 0, Partition 1, using NeoGrub etc, but I'm really stumbling around.

Can someone help?

Is there a way to present a menu, perhaps using NeoGrub, that can just let me select Physical Disk 2 or Physical Disk 3 (1 or 2 in the OS numbering world I guess) and whichever disk is selected, the bootloader that is on there just takes care of it?

Hopefully if I get this one right, the ESX bit should be easy!

Thanks in advance
Matt
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi Matt, welcome to NST.
You're working with OSs of which I have no experience, so I can't be of specific help, but I can point you to the 2.0 Beta of EasyBCD, which you should definitely be using rather than 1.7.2.
It contains support for a lot more esoteric OSs, and the latest builds of Linux which are causing problems in 1.7.2 because of incompatible grub configurations.
Have a try with that, adding entries to the BCD to your other disks' bootloaders.
Only Guru will be able to help if nobody else here has successfully done what you want and you can't work it out. He's adding support for more and more things on an almost daily basis to the successive Beta builds.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
Odd seeing how you can only boot from the first disk. If you're truly limited to it, you'll need to get a bigger disk and partition if off for all your OSes and use the other disks for data, etc.
 
#4
I guess I could create a 3-disk Raid array, and partition it that way, however I can't install XenServer on a 'Partition' - if they see 1 big disk, regardless of partitions etc, it wipes the whole disk, and uses it for it's own exclusivity, hence the use of the 3 disks separately.

I'll give EasyBCD 2 a try on Monday when I'm back at the server.

Cheers,
Matt