Archive for July, 2006

Dell OptiFlex GX620 – Don’t leave it open

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

I’ve “fixed” such a computer a with tendency to freeze today. It happened that about every two hours, the computer froze. I let it roam for a while, and noted that the Chipset’s North-Bridge was getting terribly hot. The computer chassis was left open because of driver incompatibility regarding the on-board network interface, so a PCI based NIC was added. However, the PCI NIC was not Small Form Factor (SF), which forced them to leave the computer chassis open.

The model is this one, and if you don’t want to burn it, leave its chassis closed at all times.

Moving to another place

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

And my “lab zone” needs to be packed up. I’ve closed the lid of some of the computers in the lab, and piled them up. Got about 27 computers, some of them in working order, without counting my “Production” (yeah) computers, 6 computers acting as servers, two desktops and one laptop. Two additional laptops I did not count, don’t know why…

Of my non-“production” computers, One is P4, few are P3, many are P2 and P1 (or equivalent, of course). Two Apples, one Sun. Used to have SGI, but it didn’t work, so I gave it to a friend to try and make it work. He failed, as far as I know.

I’ve taken few pictures of my pile in becoming. It is not all of the computers, but it’s a pile of 20 already. Check it out

Front-side view. Only some of the rear raw are visible
Side view. Nothing much to see. It’s one level above floor, anyhow
Rear view. Still, only the upper two and a half floors of the pile are visible
Front view. Again, only the upper two and a half floors are visible

Still got 12 or 13 more computers to add to the pile. Most of them being my “production”, I believe they will be treated better.

Create Huge disk partitions – Above 2TB

Monday, July 24th, 2006

Defining an array of 10x300GB SATA disks, we need to utilize it for our needs. It will be joined in the near future by another such array, but since it will be an additional array and not added disks to this existing array, we need to think onwards, and utilize LVM, so we can "join" these two arrays.

Using SLES9 64bit we try using both fdisk and parted and we cannot greate a single partition larger than slightly less than 1TB. We change the disk type from MSDOS to GPT and we are able to create a single partition of up to 2TB.

Finally we decide to create PVs directly on the disk device, by using "pvcreate /dev/sdc "(in this case). Later on, creating LVM by using this PV device exposes the whole size of the disk for our uses.

Why I don’t like GRUB – RHEL4 on system with local and external storage

Sunday, July 16th, 2006

Installed RHEL4 on a system with both internal storage (HP SmartAray 5i – cciss) and external disks through Qlogic FCS HBA.

During install, the local disks were detected as /dev/cciss/c0d0 while the external disks were detected as /dev/sda and /dev/sdb

After installation was done, Grub started with incorrect mapping. For no apparent reason, Grub searched for its stage2 and date in /dev/sda1 and not in /dev/cciss/c0d0p1.

The quickest way for me to solve it was to replace grub with Lilo (available on the fourth RHEL CD), correct /etc/lilo.conf.anaconda, copy this file to /etc/lilo.conf and run Lilo (with "-v" flag, for safety). It worked like a charm.

HP-UX, Oracle 8i, DataProtector,

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

Imagine Omniback 4.x to Omniback 5.5 upgrade on HP-UX. Imagine you assume all existing backup procedure (and you were told there is license only for disk agent) is based on filesystem backup. Assume you know there’s Oracle installed on this server, but no relevant agent (again, filesystem only, no DB agents…)

You are cautious. You move the current /opt/omni to /opt/omni.old directory. You hash the line containing the relevant entry in /etc/inetd.conf. You are prepared.

You install the newer version by running the installer script with the flag -install da, so you would install only Disk Agent (after all, this is nothing but a client to this whole backup procedure).

You check everything, and it all seems to work correctly as far as you care or know. Suddenly, someone notices that Oracle Listener (TNS) does not listen anymore. Trying to bring it back up results in a message which seems like this:

/usr/lib/pa20_64/ Unable to find library ‘’.

It doesn’t look good. You are in a little crisis. Restart to the Oracle Engine itself results in a shutdown, but it never starts back again. It doesn’t look good.

It appears that there was an Oracle Agent for Omniback installed there previously, and that you removed it uncleanly by your Disk-Agent-Only upgrade.

The solution could have been to install the Oracle Agent. It can be also related to recreating the required links, say from /opt/omni.old/lib/ or from $ORACLE_HOME/lib64/ (if there were any…) to $ORACLE_HOME/lib64/, the first is based on the older Omniback, the later is based on the assumption a backup was made.

The quickest solution was to install the newer agent, with the Oracle8i agent (called “oracle8”) and link: “ln -s /opt/omni/lib/ ~oracle/lib64/” (assuming we’re running Oracle 8i on 64bit HP-UX PA-RISC).