dgingeri
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Dell T110 II hanging

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I just got a Dell T110 II server for personal training and experimenting.  I signed up for a free license for ESXi 5 to use for this purpose, then did extensive research over several weeks to find the hardware that would support it in a price rang I could afford.  So, this machine is pretty bare bones.  It's got a Xeon E3-1230 (4 core with HT), 4GB of ECC memory, a PERC H200 controller, a 500GB 7200rpm SAS hard drive, and a DVD drive.  I also bought a 8GB HP USB flash drive (transfer rate of about 25MB/s) to put the hypervisor on so I could reserve the entire hard drive for VMs.  I have a 8GB memory kit and two Intel PCIe 1Gb NICs coming to expand the capabilities, as well, but they haven't shown up yet.

ESXi 5 installs and starts perfectly.  I'm able to configure it and manage it from my main system.  However, after about an hour, the system just hangs.  It doesn't matter if I'm doing something with it or doing nothing.  I could have no VMs, or up to 4, and it still does it.  (4 was as high as I got, and it hung right as I was building the 4th with CentOS 6.2)  To troubleshoot, I tried using the 500GB drive (taking out the USB flash drive) as the install point, and put in a 1TB drive I had around (both drives are Seagate) to hold the VMs.  Same problem.  I tried using the USB flash drive and an external USB drive to store the VMs.  Same thing.  I tried using totally different (a couple 750GB WD Caviar Black drives I have from my main computer) hard drives.  Same thing.  I haven't been able to try swapping anything else, as I don't have that much server grade hardware.  It's certainly not heat, as the temps in my room run pretty chilly at below 70F.  The machine itself never recorded CPU temps above 36C, and the board itself never got above 38C, according to the BMC logs.

So, I tried other things. I installed Windows 2008 R2 and let it idle.  No hangups, ran fine for 48 hours.  I installed CentOS 6.2.  Ran fine for 48 hours.  So, this is definitely a VMWare problem.  The hardware is all on the compatability list, but it won't work right. I don't know what to try next.  Are there drivers I need to upgrade?  Is there a patch I don't know about?

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ashleymilne
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Does it hang with any consistancy or does it hang 5 minutes after boot one time, 30 minutes after boot another and 4 hours another? It sounds to me like its more a hardware compatability issue with Esxi. Have you checked all your BIOS settings, are there any power saving settings enabled?

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dgingeri
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Nobody?

Hello?

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ashleymilne
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Does it hang with any consistancy or does it hang 5 minutes after boot one time, 30 minutes after boot another and 4 hours another? It sounds to me like its more a hardware compatability issue with Esxi. Have you checked all your BIOS settings, are there any power saving settings enabled?

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dgingeri
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It will be fairly random, 45 minutes one time, an hour and a half the next, but mostly withing that range.

I'll be trying a BIOS update as soon as I get home.  I haven't tried the power saver settings yet.

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ashleymilne
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I not suggesting you enable any power saving settings, rather that you go through the BIOS and make sure they are turned off and everything looks normal.

dgingeri
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Well, weird thing here.  I had, in fact, disabled C states in the bios back when I enabled the hardware virtualization.  I had forgotten it until I went back in to disable them.  After playing aorund with things until 10PM last night with no luck, I went to bed.  In a flash of inspiration, or desperation because nothing else had worked, I decided to enable the C states.  It's been running fine since 6AM with no lockups. 

I guess these SB based Xeons need the C states enabled to run properly. 

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ashleymilne
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Glad you figured it out.

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