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jessie won't install/boot on a Dell Poweredge R815

I am attempting to install jessie on a Dell Poweredge R815 (I have four). It
has been running wheezy reliably for years. And running squeeze reliably for
years before that. But no matter what I try it won't install or boot.

I have tried two ways.

 1. I attempt a fresh install from a USB dongle. It gets all the way to
    installing grub and then fails.

 2. I do a fresh install of wheezy from a USB dongle. It boots wheezy just fine.
    I do nothing but

      nano /etc/apt/sources.list
      (change all instances of wheezy to jessie, save, and exit)
      apt-get update
      apt-get dist-upgrade
      (It upgrades without error. I answer the default to all questions.)

    Then it fails to reboot and goes into the initramfs. I have a picture of
    the screen if anybody wishes.

I can reliably install and run wheezy over and over. I have not been able to
install or boot jessie despite numerous attempts.

Any suggestions?

If anybody wishes, I can provide precise details of how I built the USB image
of the installer and what answers I gave to all the installer questions. But
the short is, I did exactly the same thing on numerous other machines,
including Dell T5500s, Dell Poweredge C6145s, and HP DL165s and was able to
successfully install and boot jessie. I'm almost certain that the kernel
upgrade from wheezy to jessie tickles something that is incompatible with the

Also note that while the fresh install was successfull on the C6145 (all four
that I own), the hardware detection phase of the fresh install from USB took
hours (all four) and booting jessie also takes hours to do systemd
configuration of the network and MD arrays (all four). dmesg (all four)
reports continual

  usb 1-5.2: reset high-speed USB device number 4 using ehci-pci

even though nothing is connected to USB. The C6145s (all four) ran wheezy
reliably for years (and squeeze for year before that) without such issues. I
did the exact same install on my T5500s (eleven). These have exactly the same
disks partitioned exactly the same way and none of the T5500s exhibit any
issues. I believe that there are also issues with the change of kernel from
wheezy to jessi that tickles something that is incompatible with the C6145,
but is less severe than that that tickles the R815.

    Jeff (http://engineering.purdue.edu/~qobi)

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