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This is weird: I can ssh into a box, but I can't access it directly

One of our Linux boxes is behaving oddly. If I ssh into it, I can connect easily, and I get:
The programs included with the Debian GNU/Linux system are free software;
the exact distribution terms for each program are described in the
individual files in /usr/share/doc/*/copyright.

Debian GNU/Linux comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY, to the extent
permitted by applicable law.
Last login: Wed Jan 29 08:32:12 2020 from

But if I go into the server cage, and punch it up on the KVM switch, and try to sign on as root, I get:
Debian GNU/Linux 8 Titan tty1

Titan login: root
[10371235.533392] end_request: I/O error, dev sda, sector 105228592

and after a few seconds, the screen clears, and goes back to
Debian GNU/Linux 8 Titan tty1

Titan login:

Or, at other times, when I punch it up on the KVM switch, I get a whole screen full of hard disk error messages.

It's pretty clear to me that the box is more-or-less shot anyway (even from the ssh session, if I try to "cd home," I get an error message), but can somebody tell me why I'm getting one behavior through ssh, and completely different behavior through a direct connection?


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