Tuesday, July 06, 2004

FreeBSD on the Dell PowerEdge 750

Several months ago I asked the readership of the freebsd-hardware mailing list if anyone had experience with the Dell PowerEdge 750 1U server, especially its DELL CERC SATA 1.5/6ch RAID-0 (an Adaptec card) setup. Today we finally received a system on which I could test FreeBSD, so these are my results.

I found I could not load FreeBSD 5.2.1 on the box. Although I was able to get through the boot procedure, FreeBSD did not see the hard drive. I decided to try the same snapshot of FreeBSD-CURRENT from 17 Jun 04 that worked on my Dell PowerEdge 2300. Thankfully the RAID-0 setup was recognized as a single 465 GB hard drive. It was device aacd0, indicating use of the aac driver. Once I saw this I checked the CVS files associated with the aac driver and saw no substantial changes to the code since my 17 Jun snapshot was taken.

The installation proceeded normally until newfs started. At that point the system froze. I cycled through the virtual terminals and saw this message:

Entropy device is blocked. Dance fandango on keyboard to unblock.

This was weird, so I banged away on the keyboard for a few seconds. Sure enough the installation continued and completed without errors. Doing some research I found posts on 20 Jun, 28 May, and earlier about this very issue. The fix should be appear in 5.3 RELEASE. Discussion of this system appeared as recently as two weeks ago.

To test the box's speed, I ran make buildkernel and got these timing results:

>>> Kernel build for fedorov completed on Tue Jul 6 17:16:06 EDT 2004
611.591u 311.459s 15:16.78 100.6% 2580+2531k 3514+2998io 2839pf+0w

The CPU supports HyperThreading Technology, so the 5 CURRENT kernel's out-of-the-box support for SMP results in seeing two logical CPUs:

CPU: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.80GHz (2800.11-MHz 686-class CPU)
Origin = "GenuineIntel" Id = 0xf34 Stepping = 4
Hyperthreading: 2 logical CPUs
real memory = 536608768 (511 MB)
avail memory = 515424256 (491 MB)
FreeBSD/SMP: Multiprocessor System Detected: 2 CPUs
cpu0 (BSP): APIC ID: 0
cpu1 (AP): APIC ID: 1

I posted the dmesg output for this box to the NYCBUG dmesg list.

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