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Re: Q: About the AMD32/64 support with Skolelinux/Debian-Edu

On Thu, Jul 29, 2004 at 02:52:54PM +0200, Tollef Fog Heen wrote:
> * Knut Yrvin
> | onsdag 28. juli 2004, 15:31, skrev Gavin McCullagh:
> | > * Xeons are recommended (if I've translated the Norwegian hardware page
> | >    correctly) and Athlon MPs are not so.  What is the opinion on Opterons
> | >    in 32-Bit mode?
> | 
> | Older AMD Athlons MP processors had stability problems. The new Opteorns 
> | don't have this problems. But we don't know about any schools that has 
> | tested Opterons in day-to-day use yet. We really want teachers to tell us 
> | if they has some experience whit this. 
> I have a bit of experience with both the Athlon MPs and the current
> Opterons.  Earlier, if you didn't have a good enough PSU and not enough
> cooling, the MPs were notoriously unstable.  Those problems were fixed
> fairly fast.  The opterons use a lot less power and don't have any heat
> problems I know of at least.

I have some experience with Athlons MP and Opteron. 
On one school were we uses Athlon MP, they work fine for months, But
suddenly (the morning before exam) one of the server shut down kdm.
Nothing in the logfiles, no sign of anything. This has happened twice.
We've moved memorybetween the 2 servers, but it doesnt seem to follow
the memory. 

We used 4xOpteron for the hacking area thin-client server on Guadec.
The kernel was recompiled for Opteron and > 4MB memory. The server did
not experience any problem, Although it didn't have to much to load.
(10 thin clients, 4xOpteron64 and 8 GB of memory) 

We did however do some kernel compilation on it. And LTSP-Jim did a
full build of LTSP4 on this machine without problems. 

> As you know, the Opterons are 64 bit processors with the ability to run
> 32 bit code at fairly good speed.  Skolelinux doesn't support amd64 (as
> the arch is called), yet, so you will be stuck with running the
> processors in 32 bit mode.  While this isn't a problem per se, I've had
> quite a bit of problems with one of my systems in 32 bit mode.  It had
> big stability problems which mean that after 12-24 hours of heavy load,
> the system just died completely and had to be rebooted.

Well I did a recompile of the kernel for Opteron (and more memory)

> Therefore, I would not recommend to go with Opteron systems at the
> moment, unless you are comfortable with recompiling kernels and such
> yourself.  As Knut says -- stability is of chief importance, and my
> experience with Opterons in 32 bit mode doesn't speak too well of their
> stability.  Of course, I could just have been unlucky with the hardware
> I used.

Was this a homebrew server, or a server completely built from a vendor? 

Finn-Arne Johansen 

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