[Opinions Wanted] Dell PowerEdge 2950 Servers ...

Bill Moran wmoran at collaborativefusion.com
Fri Jan 26 20:17:07 UTC 2007

In response to "Marc G. Fournier" <scrappy at freebsd.org>:
> > *) There's an issue where the systems will hang on reboot about 50% of the
> >    time.  I tried to track this down but found that if I added any debugging
> >    code, the problem disappeared :(  It's not a big deal for three reasons --
> >    we don't reboot servers very often, the hang occurs after the disks
> >    are synced so it doesn't trigger an fsck, and we have DRAC cards in
> >    all of them :)
> 'k, so the hang is as it's coming down, not coming up, right?


> > *) The new PERC controllers use the mfi driver, which works well as far as
> >    we can tell ... unfortunately, there's no equivalent to megarc (which we
> >    use with 1850 and 2950 systems) so we have been unable to come up with
> >    a way to monitor the health of the RAID arrays from within the OS.
> With the HP server, 'camcontrol devlist' shows:
> Nothing similar with the mfi driver?

Heh ...:
[root at db04 ~]# camcontrol devlist -v
scbus-1 on xpt0 bus 0:
<  >                               at scbus-1 target -1 lun -1 (xpt0)

Figure that one out.

> Also, are you using SAS or SATA on your 2950?


> > *) Make sure you use a recent version of FreeBSD (6.2).  The NIC cards on
> >    these use the bge driver, which was buggy as hell prior to 6.2.
> So I've heard, but I have bge on 3 of my HP servers, and never had a problem 
> with them under 6.1 ... I'm sooo unlike everywhere else, guess I had to have 
> some luck somewhere :)

The problem occurs with heavy use of UDP, so it's possible not to notice it
if you're not doing NFS or doing NFS over tcp.  When I tripped over it, I
realized that the NFS was configured wrong :), but I wanted to get it fixed
before we deployed anyway, just in case we started using heavy UDP.  When
the problem occurs, the adapter is unusable until a reboot, so it's pretty

> > The biggest benefit we noticed when moving from the x850 to the x950 systems
> > is that the IPMI and DRAC cards perform much better.  It's a shame that Dell
> > decided to use ActiveX for the v5 DRAC :(
> If its a solid machine, how often do  you have to access the DRAC though?  :)

Just often enough to be annoyed by it.  Keep in mind that we're still deploying
them, which means we're installing kernels and testing things and moving
them around -- a lot of rebooting that is occurring less and less as they
near actual deployment, but is pretty annoying at the time.

> Can you post your 2950 configuration?

Kernel config?

Bill Moran
Collaborative Fusion Inc.

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