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Re: smp problems on AlphaServer 4100

On Thu, Jan 26, 2006 at 10:47:22PM -0800, Bill MacAllister wrote:
> I probably would not be futzing around with this system at all if it was 
> stable.  Even though I can boot a 2.4.28 smp kernel and a 2.6.8 generic 
> kernel, neither is stable.  The system kernel panicked in the middle of the 
> day again today.  I have been fighting stability problems since I left the 
> last official Red Hat release, 7.2.
> This system sits next to PWS 600 running OpenVMS.  Last summer in 
> frustration I swapped the disks and booted the 4100 as a VMS system and the 
> PWS as a Linux system.  The instability problems followed the software. 
> The only thing that seemed to bring the VMS system down was when the power 
> failed a couple of times.  Not to say I haven't seen VMS systems accvio 
> themselves into oblivion, but at least you can set them to restart 
> themselves when they get lost in the weeds.  It would be helpful if Linux 
> would report the problem and then restart itself.  Maybe this is a option I 
> don't know about?
> Then I thought that I had figured the problem several months ago when I 
> noticed that moving the old 8 gig disks on to a separate controller from 
> the 70 and 140 gig disks seemed to work better.  But, it only got better 
> never really stable.  Still kernel panics now and again.
> I have seen notes about qLogic problems.  This system now has two qLogic 
> controllers in it.  I don't have log files or debugging output it does seem 
> like this is a qLogic problem.  Currently the system seems to have problems 
> when it gets busy.  I thought that with 2.6 the driver was supposed to be 
> supported again.
> So, what are the options for SRM visible PCI controllers?  With a 2.4 
> kernel I had boot problems with a TekRam controller I tried.  Maybe I 
> should try the TekRam again in 2.6?
> What other options are there?  I thought maybe it would make sense to put 
> an Adaptec controller in the system and put the bulk of the data out there 
> with a minimal amount of the system on qLogic served disk.  Or maybe an 
> AlphaBIOS boot?  It has been forever since I have looked at AlphaBIOS on 
> these systems, but I remember that from AlphaBIOS you can see Adaptec 
> controllers.  If I tried that I would have to use MILO to boot, right?  Is 
> that reasonable to try?
> I certainly wish I had any experience at looking at driver level code.  It 
> is really frustrating to have such fine hardware, even if a bit dated, be 
> unusable because of this one software problem when the rest of the system 
> seems to work fine.
> Bill

Put an LSI logic/Symbios card in there - I believe a 53c875 will boot fine in that machine and it willl work a lot better
than those qlogic cards.


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