AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions - DEC

This is a discussion on AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions - DEC ; As the subject suggests, for Christmas this year, I got a pair of government surplus Alphaserver 4100s. Both are pedestal versions, with 3 Storageworks shelves, connected via a Mylex DAC960, labeled as Digital Part # KZPSC-XB. One came with 2 ...

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Thread: AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions

  1. AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions

    As the subject suggests, for Christmas this year, I got a pair of
    government surplus Alphaserver 4100s. Both are pedestal versions, with
    3 Storageworks shelves, connected via a Mylex DAC960, labeled as Digital
    Part # KZPSC-XB. One came with 2 x 5/400, 1 gig of ram and 2 PSUs. The
    other has 4 x 5/300, 512 MB of ram and 3 PSUs.

    Despite the fact that I've only had the time to get one of them set up
    and running, I'm already contemplating upgrade options. What kind of
    computer geek would I be if I wasn't? With that in mind, on with the
    questions!

    1] What are the rules regarding RAM? I had 256 in slots 0H, 0L, 1H, and
    1L when I got the server. I installed 2 x 1 GB modules in slots 2H and
    2L, and got a memory error for them when booting. I swapped them into
    slots 0H and 0L, removing the 2 256s that were there, and it booted
    fine, showing 2.5 GBs of memory with no errors. Does the order in which
    the memory modules are installed matter? Can memory only be installed
    in slots with a corresponding populated processor slots?

    2] What are my options for the Storageworks shelves? All 6 shelves are
    BA356, and connect to the KZPSC-XB. Each shelf came with a single power
    supply unit, and some hard disks. All hard disks are either 4.3 GB or
    4.0 GB, 7200 rpm models, but I don't have the model numbers in front of
    me. I've been browsing the AS4x00 SoC archives, and see that as time
    went on, there were options for 9 and 18 GB, 7200 rpm disks, as well as
    4.3, 9, and 18 GB, 10000 rpm disks. So I'm unsure if this was because
    of specific compatibility concerns, or simply new options as the disk
    technology advanced, allowing for larger and faster drives. Besides
    being 80 pin SCA drives, what other limitations are there? Can it
    support 36 or 72 GB drives, or 15000 rpm speeds? Do I need specific
    DEC/Compaq drives sold for these shelves, or will any 80 pin SCA drive
    work, so long as I install it into the DEC/Compaq caddy?

    3] In regards to question 2, would installing a newer SCSI/DAC adapter
    increase my upgrade options?

    4] As far as operating systems, I know that DEC sold these servers with
    OpenVMS, Digital Unix, and Windows NT. I'm also aware that there are
    Linux and BSD distributions that will run on this hardware as well. Are
    there any others I've missed? I've also read that the BSD OSes will
    run, but are only capable of using a single processor. As I've already
    got 2 processors, and intend to have 4 at some point, do any of the
    other OSes have this limit?

  2. Re: AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions


    DrSlinky wrote:
    > As the subject suggests, for Christmas this year, I got a pair of
    > government surplus Alphaserver 4100s. Both are pedestal versions, with
    > 3 Storageworks shelves, connected via a Mylex DAC960, labeled as Digital
    > Part # KZPSC-XB. One came with 2 x 5/400, 1 gig of ram and 2 PSUs. The
    > other has 4 x 5/300, 512 MB of ram and 3 PSUs.
    >
    > Despite the fact that I've only had the time to get one of them set up
    > and running, I'm already contemplating upgrade options. What kind of
    > computer geek would I be if I wasn't? With that in mind, on with the
    > questions!


    > 2] What are my options for the Storageworks shelves? All 6 shelves are
    > BA356, and connect to the KZPSC-XB. Each shelf came with a single power
    > supply unit, and some hard disks. All hard disks are either 4.3 GB or
    > 4.0 GB, 7200 rpm models, but I don't have the model numbers in front of
    > me. I've been browsing the AS4x00 SoC archives, and see that as time
    > went on, there were options for 9 and 18 GB, 7200 rpm disks, as well as
    > 4.3, 9, and 18 GB, 10000 rpm disks. So I'm unsure if this was because
    > of specific compatibility concerns, or simply new options as the disk
    > technology advanced, allowing for larger and faster drives. Besides
    > being 80 pin SCA drives, what other limitations are there? Can it
    > support 36 or 72 GB drives, or 15000 rpm speeds? Do I need specific
    > DEC/Compaq drives sold for these shelves, or will any 80 pin SCA drive
    > work, so long as I install it into the DEC/Compaq caddy?


    The DAC960 will limit you to 9GB drives. It's a firmware limitation
    and you can't change it. You put more disks together then the 32GB
    limit, but then you must slice them into sets no larger than 32GB. For
    example, 5 9GB drives in a RAID-1 gives a 45GB physical volume, but you
    must sub-divide it into smaller parts like a 32GB and 13GB logical
    volume.

    If you're careful you can open the SSB case and replace the drive
    inside with a different unit, but you must be aware of the internal
    connectors used. Depending on the type of the storage brick (SSB) the
    internal cable can be 50-pin (for 8-bit SSB) or 68-pin (for the 8/16 or
    16-bit SSB).

    >
    > 3] In regards to question 2, would installing a newer SCSI/DAC adapter
    > increase my upgrade options?


    Check on the homepage for the AlphaServer 4100 at HP (
    http://h18002.www1.hp.com/alphaserver/archive/4100/ ) for details on
    the supported options. I don't see much other than the KZPAC or KZPSC
    which are both DAC960 variants and have the same 9GB limitation.

    You could get a couple KZPCA (LVD SCSI) and used Volume Shadowing (I
    have a XP1000 that I have two Intraserver 6100-4V going to a split-bus
    Compaq 4254 storagework shelf with the shadowed volumes split over
    each bus).

    If you go with the LVD option then you can use the larger drives.
    Watch the heat output on 15K or drives larger than 18GB in the BA356
    shelves. The fans may not be able to handle a full set.

    John H. Reinhardt


  3. Re: AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions

    In article , DrSlinky writes:
    > As the subject suggests, for Christmas this year, I got a pair of
    > government surplus Alphaserver 4100s. Both are pedestal versions, with
    > 3 Storageworks shelves, connected via a Mylex DAC960, labeled as Digital
    > Part # KZPSC-XB. One came with 2 x 5/400, 1 gig of ram and 2 PSUs. The
    > other has 4 x 5/300, 512 MB of ram and 3 PSUs.
    >
    > Despite the fact that I've only had the time to get one of them set up
    > and running, I'm already contemplating upgrade options. What kind of
    > computer geek would I be if I wasn't? With that in mind, on with the
    > questions!
    >
    > 1] What are the rules regarding RAM? I had 256 in slots 0H, 0L, 1H, and
    > 1L when I got the server. I installed 2 x 1 GB modules in slots 2H and
    > 2L, and got a memory error for them when booting. I swapped them into
    > slots 0H and 0L, removing the 2 256s that were there, and it booted
    > fine, showing 2.5 GBs of memory with no errors. Does the order in which
    > the memory modules are installed matter? Can memory only be installed
    > in slots with a corresponding populated processor slots?


    Memory options must be installed in size order with larger options
    first. The first (largest) option is installed in 0H, 0L. The number
    of processors doesn't matter as far as memory.


    George Cook
    WVNET

  4. Re: AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions

    "Malcolm Dunnett" writes:

    > Most of the newer 16bit SBB's used 80 pin SCA drives, but the only
    > way to know for sure is to open the case up.


    Just look through the vents holes below the EURO conector. SCA80s pin
    layout is pretty distinctive.


  5. Re: AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions

    Malcolm Dunnett wrote:
    > wrote in message
    > news:1168065866.194343.67360@42g2000cwt.googlegrou ps.com...
    >
    >> The DAC960 will limit you to 9GB drives. It's a firmware limitation
    >> and you can't change it.

    >
    > That is not correct. I have successfully used 50GB drives on a
    > DAC960. You may need to update the firmware, depending on how old the
    > version you have is. You can find the new firmware and the update
    > utility on any Alpha firmware update CD.
    >
    > There is still a limit of 32GB for any logical volume, so with the
    > larger disks you need to partition them into multiple logical units.
    >


    It also depends on the hardware revision on the DAC960. IIRC, the cards that
    allowed larger than 32GB volumes were of the Mylex variety and had extra
    memory chips on the card to allow for the newer firmwares.

    I have used a couple of those cards and I was able to create a RAID-5 using
    36GB drives, but the performance wasn't the greatest. I don't know if they
    were officially supported by DEC for use in the AlphaServers, because I
    ended up having to plug the Mylex in a i386 machine and use the config tool
    to create and init the volume and then plug it into the alpha.

    Also FWIW, I have been using FreeBSD on a AS4000 with 4 CPUs and ever since
    5.2 or 5.3 they have supported SMP kernels quite well. FreeBSD on my alpha
    is quite stable for a server platform.



  6. Re: AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions

    "Malcolm Dunnett" wrote in
    news:uMFph.140116$YV4.124337@edtnps89:

    > "Schroeder, AJ" wrote in message
    > news:eo5o87$tdl$1@sxnews1.qg.com...
    >| > That is not correct. I have successfully used 50GB drives on a
    >| > DAC960. You may need to update the firmware, depending on how old
    >| > the version you have is. You can find the new firmware and the
    >| > update utility on any Alpha firmware update CD.
    >| >
    >| > There is still a limit of 32GB for any logical volume, so with the
    >| > larger disks you need to partition them into multiple logical
    >| > units.
    >| >
    >|
    >| It also depends on the hardware revision on the DAC960. IIRC, the
    >| cards
    > that
    >| allowed larger than 32GB volumes were of the Mylex variety and had
    >| extra memory chips on the card to allow for the newer firmwares.
    >
    > I think you're referring to v3.x firmware vs v2.x. You need the
    > expanded
    > memory to install 3.x firmware on the card, but the version that ships
    > on the Alpha firmware CD ( and is supported by Alphas ) is v2.x (2.73
    > IIRC)
    >
    > There is a 32GB logical volume size limit in the v2.x firmware. You
    > can't
    > use
    > 3.x firmware on Alphas ( generic DAC960s are not seen by the console
    > firmware). However
    > there is not a limit of 9GB physical drives. It is the "official"
    > firmware that
    > I've used with 50GB drives.
    >
    > As you noted, performance on these cards is not very exciting ( at
    > least
    > not by current standards - I think they were decent performers in
    > their day ).
    >


    In my experience, with KZPAC and up to version 2.73, I wasn't able to
    make more than 1 logical drive from a set of physical drives. Of
    course, the boxes I used were 1000, 1000A, 1200, and DS20.

  7. Re: AS4100s for X-mas = New Questions

    johnhreinhardt@yahoo.com wrote:

    >
    > Check on the homepage for the AlphaServer 4100 at HP (
    > http://h18002.www1.hp.com/alphaserver/archive/4100/ ) for details on
    > the supported options. I don't see much other than the KZPAC or KZPSC
    > which are both DAC960 variants and have the same 9GB limitation.
    >
    > You could get a couple KZPCA (LVD SCSI) and used Volume Shadowing (I
    > have a XP1000 that I have two Intraserver 6100-4V going to a split-bus
    > Compaq 4254 storagework shelf with the shadowed volumes split over
    > each bus).
    >
    > If you go with the LVD option then you can use the larger drives.
    > Watch the heat output on 15K or drives larger than 18GB in the BA356
    > shelves. The fans may not be able to handle a full set.
    >
    > John H. Reinhardt
    >


    And the SRM can boot from the KZPCA controller?

    I guess the other big question, at this point, is how much better are my
    options if I'm willing to forget booting from the RAID? I can get
    around in Linux OK, but I'm not fluent enough to know how, or where, to
    look to see if a certain controller/chipset is supported under Linux.

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