The BladeCenter Saga.

Andrea Brancatelli andrea at
Thu Jan 5 01:17:41 PST 2006

Hello everybody.

A quick update on the good old IBM BladeCenter saga.

We have several BladeCenter in our server farm.

The first two (the oldest one) have a USB CD Rom and refuse to boot from
the CD. I succesfully booted them with the i386 floppies: they booted ok
but when SysInstall started the default keyboard was NOT the local console
one (that is connected on USB port 2) but the Web-Based Java Management
one, so taking remote control of the blade allowed us to use the keyboard
without any problem. Then we stepped on next problem... but first...

On the third bladecenter (the newest one) I could succesfully boot from
either the i386 and the amd64 CDRoms, but when the kernel booted it would
hang at atkbd's detection (as someone else reported in different threads).
To workaround this we used the set hint.atkbd.0.disabled=1 and everything
went ok. As usual the local keyboard wasn't working but the remote one
was. And then we stepped on the same problem as the first 2 bladecenters:

The blades have two Broadcom NICs... the bge drivers fires up with no
problem, but none of the bge0/bge1 card seems to actually work. Whathever
setting I apply to them I cannot reach anything on the outside, and
furthermore the emergency shell on VTY4 allows me a very short set of
commands. I have no doubts on the functionality of the hardware for
various reason (we tried to install on 3 different server always with the
same results; one of the blades was working ok with windows 2003 before).

A very suspicious thing is that ifconfig reports for both the cards:
"status: no carrier", while the cable is surely pulled in (it's hard
wired, it cannot be pulled off at all).

So we are stuck again. I downloaded the complete ISO for amd64. I plan on
doing the installation from CDRom on Blade 3 (the one that actually
succeeds in seeing the CD) and then investigate further on the Broadcom

Do anyone has ever stepped on problem with the bge driver?


Thank you very much. I will report more detailedly later.

Andrea Brancatelli

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