Dell PERC RAID controller whoops

December 19th, 2007

This basically describes my situation to a T. I upgraded the kernel on a Gentoo system (Dell PE 2650) from 2.6.20.something to 2.6.23-r3 (gentoo-sources) and after a reboot the kernel was showing tons of SCSI errors like this:

aacraid: Host adapter abort request (0,2,13,0)
aacraid: Host adapter abort request (0,2,13,0)
aacraid: Host adapter reset request. SCSI hang ?
aacraid: Host adapter abort request (0,2,13,0)
scsi 0:2:13:0: scsi: Device offlined - not ready after error recovery
aacraid: Host adapter abort request (0,2,14,0)
aacraid: Host adapter abort request (0,2,14,0)
aacraid: Host adapter reset request. SCSI hang ?
aacraid: Host adapter abort request (0,2,14,0)
scsi 0:2:14:0: scsi: Device offlined - not ready after error recovery

It took my system 21+ minutes to boot up normally after the kernel had enumerated all of the SCSI devices that weren’t there. Turns out (thanks to the gentoo forums) that the aacraid driver had been updated, but requires a newer PERC firmware, which in turn requires a newer BIOS (at least A15 according to Dell, A21 is out now).

I cooked up a BIOS update CD and I’ll be trying it out tomorrow. The sucky part is that the PERC3/4/69/whatever update is ONLY available as floppy images. Well, there is an RPM/BIN-thingie for RHEL, a Windows package, and floppy images. I tried the RHEL package on Gentoo and it didn’t work. Surprise.

So now I have to find not one but TWO floppies and treck over to our colo. The last time we had to find 1.44MB disks in our office was a non-trivial task.

Tomorrow night I’ll be updating the kernel on our file server that has potential XFS/NFS problems. Only time will tell…

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