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HP DL180G6 RAID controller issue with WD harddisks

Posted by martijnl on July 31, 2009

We ran into this problem with two new DL180 G6 servers combined with Western Digital (WD) 750GB SATA drives. The description matches everything in this thread on the HP ITRC forums:

http://forums11.itrc.hp.com/service/forums/questionanswer.do?admit=109447626+1249041708681+28353475&threadId=1357085

-tried different mediums (centos,redhat)

-same behavior with different RAIDs (tried 1 and RAID 5)

-yes, I also used the smart array linux driver disk

-tried graphical and linux text mode

It fails always at “formatting filesystem”. The only difference I’ve seen, is that it stops around 11% with 2 disks in RAID1. With RAID 5 it fails around 98%.

We have seen this behaviour with regular W2003 installations as well. Further on in this thread there is someone with the solution:

Hi there,

I have found the problem!

The problem is the Western Digital drive. We have received 2 hdd types. 1 Seagate and 1 WD. I created a RAID 0 volume with only the Seagate drive and the OS install fine. When I create a RAID 0 or RAID 0 + 1 with the WD drive the OS install was freezing when it try to format the drive.

I think it is an issue between the Smart Array 212 and the WD drive. I have installed the latest firmware of the Smart Array and of the WD drive but it doesn’t fix this problem.

I have opened a case at HP support and I hope that the HDD will be replaced with a Seagate or a soon firmware update for the 212 or / and the WD drive

We have put this information in our own support call with HP as it seems that is not yet known throughout the service organization.

Update 10/8: Problem seems to be fixed with new firmware for the controller and backplane. Make sure you get it or ask for it with HP.

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Lesson Learned: memory management in new HP DL360/380

Posted by martijnl on July 31, 2009

Can’t say I should not have known this (because it’s in the quick specs of both servers) but the new DL360G6 and DL380G6 have different memory management than the previous generation.

This means that there are strict limitations on the amount and type of memory that you can use and there are strict guidelines for how much memory can be used in a server given a CPU/Memory combination.

From the Quick Specs document of the DL360 G6:

DDR3 memory population guidelines

Some DIMM installation guidelines are summarized below:

  • For servers with eighteen (18) memory slots:
    • There are three (3) channels per processor; six (6) channels per server
    • There are three (3) DIMM slots for each memory channel; eighteen (18) total slots
    • Memory channel 1 consists of the three (3) DIMMs that are closest to the processor
    • Memory channel 3 consists of the three (3) DIMMs that are furthest from the processor
  • DIMM slots that are white should be populated first
  • Do not mix Unbuffered memory (UDIMMs) with Registered memory (RDIMMs)
  • Do not install DIMMs if the corresponding processor is not installed
  • If only one processor is installed in a 2CPU system, only half of the DIMM slots are available
  • To maximize performance, balance the total memory capacity between all installed processors
  • It is not required, but it is recommended to load the channels similarly if possible
  • You can only have up to eight (8) ranks installed per channel
  • You can only install two quad-rank DIMMs per channel
  • You can only install two UDIMMs per channel; if available, the third slot in the channel must remain empty
  • Populate DIMMs from heaviest load (quad-rank) to lightest load (single-rank) within a channel
  • Heaviest load (DIMM with most ranks) within a channel goes furthest from the chipset
  • For memory mirroring mode, channel 3 must be unpopulated. Channels 1 and 2 are populated identically
  • For lock-step mode, channel 3 must be unpopulated. DIMMs in channels 1 and 2 will be installed in pairs. The paired slots will be 1,4; 2,5; 3;6 on a 3DPC system or 1,4; 2,5; on a 2DPC system
  • No mixing DIMM voltage; all DIMMs must be the same voltage

WW QuickSpecs for the 360 G6 are here: http://h18004.www1.hp.com/products/quickspecs/13235_div/13235_div.HTML#Memory. You can find the Quick Specs documents (US and WorldWide) from the server information pages on HP.com.

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