Technical FAQ

Q: What do your ticket priorities mean?

  • High Priority
    • Hardware failure.
    • Loss of IP connectivity to both OS and DRAC.
    • Loss of power to one or more power supplies.
  • Medium Priority
    • Loss of connectivity to one of the interfaces
    • Packet loss
    • Hardware/OS misconfiguration which directly prevents the server from booting
  • Low Priority
    • Requests for general information
    • General sysadmin questions
Note: Server is not considered to be "down" if the OS has lost connectivity due to misconfiguration but DRAC console is still accessible.

Q: What are the ways to connect to DRAC?

  • HTTP: we recommend Firefox on all platforms
  • IPMI 2.0: we recommend ipmitool on linux
  • SSH: any standard SSH client will work (ssh on *NIX and PuTTY on Windows).

Click here for more info on DRAC.

Q: How should I set up an OS to use SOL?

  • Configure the OS to use second serial port (ttyS1 on linux)
  • Set the port speed to 57600 bps, no parity, 8 bits
  • DO NOT use serial console settings for GRUB
  • DO use serial console settings for kernel and to spawn a login prompt.
  • We have already pre-configured your DRAC for this setup.

Q: Can I install my own OS on the server?

Yes. Use remote virtual media option provided by DRAC.

Q: I've installed feature X and it broke my OS. Can you fix it?

We will try, however since this is a self-managed server we cannot guarantee anything.

Q: How can I see what hardware I have?

Run the following on Linux:
  • dmidecode
  • lspci
  • cat /proc/cpuinfo
  • cat /proc/meminfo
  • cat /proc/partitions
You can also use "omreport" tool from Dell OMSA package to investigate the details.

Q: What does your default system layout look like?

  • CentOS 5.5 x86_64
  • 500MB /boot
  • LVM on the rest of the disk:
    • 2GB /
    • 2GB swap
You definitely need to use LVM tools such as lvresize and/or lvcreate to either increase the size of your root partition or to create separate volumes for /usr, /var, /home etc.

Q: What is OMSA and should I install it?

OMSA is Dell's OpenManage Server Administrator package that provides a set of tools needed to monitor and configure Dell hardware such as DRAC and PERC RAID controllers.
Yes, we highly recommend installing OMSA as it simplifies hardware management, monitoring and diagnostics. Our default OS installation already has OMSA in it.

Q: Do you support IPv6?

Yes. Please open up a support ticket to request your IPv6 range.

Q: Do you maintain any public software repositories?

No.

Q: I've moved my site to your servers and now traffic/ad hit rate is lower than usual. Is that normal?

Yes, that is normal. Please give search engines about two weeks to re-index your site with new IP addresses.

Q: Which virtualization platforms can run on your hardware?

In general, anything based on Xen, KVM or OpenVZ should run without problems. More specifically, we have clients who have successfully deployed the following platforms:
  • XenServer
  • Xen Cloud Platform (XCP)
  • OpenVZ
  • VMware ESXi
  • Linux KVM with libvirt

Q: What are the IP addresses of your DNS servers?

  1. 208.69.231.254
  2. 208.69.228.30
  3. 4.2.2.2

Q: The server does not boot properly. What are the ways to recover?

You have the following options:
  • Use DRAC console redirection to verify/tweak BIOS/hardware settings and to pass any recovery settings to bootloader.
  • Use virtual media to boot into recovery mode off the installation media.
  • Ask us to re-install the server for you.

Q: DRAC says that Console Redirection or Virtual Media plugin is not installed. How can I install one?

No, do not use native ActiveX plugins, configure DRAC to use Java instead:
  • System -> Console -> Configuration -> Plug-In Type = Java
  • System -> Media -> Configuration -> Plug-In Type = Java
Note: we recommend using Firefox for DRAC access on all platforms.

Q: Server POST takes a while during reboot/reset/power-on. Should I disable something to speed it up?

No, it is normal for the server to take 2 - 5 minutes to boot into OS.
Please do not disable any POST checks as it might allow some problems to go undetected until the OS has booted and potentially crashed. It is recommended to detect issues during POST, rather than troubleshoot live system.

Q: How can I check the status of RAID?

You have two options:
  • Install OMSA and use "omreport storage vdisk" and "omreport storage pdisk"
  • Reboot your server and press CTRL+E when prompted to boot into RAID configuration utility

Q: What exactly does your free monitoring cover?

In addition to monitoring our side of the network, we regularly check the following for each server:
  • Connectivity to DRAC (ping)
  • IPMI availability
  • Scan System Event Logs for events with the following keywords: fail, fault, critical, lost, loss, error.

Q: Where can I get the manuals for your servers?

Q: I've enabled OS watchdog and now my server reboots continuously. Is there a way to stop it?

Yes. Use ipmitool on some other system to disable the watchdog on your server:

ipmitool -I lanplus -H -U -P mc watchdog off

If your OS sets the watchdog during the boot process, you may have to manually time the above command to disable watchdog right after the OS enables it. As an alternative, you may use DRAC's virtual media capability to boot from rescue CD to remove the watchdog from the boot process.

Q: I have RAID. Do I still need backups?

Yes, you must backup your own data. In general, RAID only protects from a single disk failure (double disk failure in case of RAID6), and does not protect against hackers, software bugs and user errors.

Q: Can you put all of my disks into RAID0?

Yes, however we strongly discourage this configuration. The probability of data loss increases due to the number of disks in the array: any single disk failure destroys the array. You should have a solid backup and recovery strategy if you are using RAID0.

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