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Posts from the ‘Hardware’ Category

8
Jun

Doing battle with a Dell R620 and Ubuntu

We recently got sent a Dell R620 to evaluate and while its technical specification is amazing there are a few things that need to be handled first.

As far as Ubuntu and the Dell R620 go, Precise (12.04) is the only way to go here. Every release before Precise has issues with this hardware in one way or another. This is new hardware of after all.

For our “use case” we downgraded the PERC H710P controller to a H310 controller so we can have direct access to the drives via pass-through. The H310 allows TRIM support for SSDs and SMART data via smartctl to be used without any problems. If you are interested in SMART information and PERC H700 series RAID controller, I posted about possible workarounds at Dell’s customer support site.

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7
May

Switch your switch with switches


It is not unusual for me to find 10,000 Euro worth of networking equipment on my desk one day. It usually means that I have a long week of reading and testing ahead of me as I am the only person in the company, let alone building, that has ever seen or worked with these devices before. That means I am on my own aside from an Internet connection.

While your mileage may very, I’ve had the joy (and horror) of testing these devices as ‘drop in replacements’ to the test environment that we are using. In some instances, things just worked out of the box, however there are a few devices that needed to be poked a few times to get things moving.

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27
Apr

Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise) and AMD Catalyst 12.4

Precise Pangola has been released and a day later comes a new fglrx driver. While there isn’t a changelog, this build apparently gives us:

early-look support for Ubuntu 12.04, Linux PowerXpress support for the Intel Ivy Bridge platform, packaging script updates, and various bug-fixes.

Among the bug-fixes for Catalyst 12.4 on Linux are: fixing some multi-head issues, a system hang in certain PowerXpress configurations, fixing a system hang when using OpenGL overlays, correcting an OpenGL performance drop, a soft-hang when killing the X Server, and severe corruption for OpenGL games using the AMD “Redwood” graphics processors.

If you want to build these for yourself then you can follow these instructions:
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17
Nov

Asymmetric networking using Linux

The idea is simple, two subnets (separate networks) and then route packets from one to the other. The environment, however, is not symmetric. We wanted to contact a node on the other subnet and we could see the packets travelling over the switch to the router back through another switch to the node, but the node itself refused to reply.

Each node has two NICs and each NIC is connected to a separate network. If you try to connect or ping one node from another, Linux is smart enough to go directly over the NIC with the right network. If a NIC should ever fail, the failover is that the packets are then routed up one network to the router then over to the other network.
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14
Nov

Wireless BCM4312 3.2 kernel

Broadcom Chipset BCM4312

Since there is an Ubuntu package ‘firmware-b43-lpphy-installer’ which is up to date and will work against the 3.0 kernel, my earlier posts are obsolete. If you are not running Ubuntu, then you will still need to reference my post.

The latest 3.2 Linux kernel however has a few ABI changes, most notably in the network stack which effects the Broadcom’s wl module. Most notably is: .ndo_set_multicast_list which was replaced with .ndo_set_rx_mode.

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