DELL PowerEdge 860 misfortunes ... RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I'm a geek by trade and seeing everything out there in regards to the marketed versions of the WHS through HP and others .. I figured, why not .. build my own .. not meaning from scratch, but the actually purchase equipment that is more a server than a desktop.

    I went up on eBay and fished through the server listings .. found a sweep little 1U server called the DELL PowerEdge 860 .. specs are:

    • CPU : Single (1) DUAL CORE XEON 1.86Ghz / 2 MB Cache / 3040
    • Memory : 2GB REG ECC DDR2 SDRAM
    • HD : Two (2) Seagate 250GB 7200RPM SATA 3.5" Hard drive
    • Optical Drive : 24X CD-ROM DRIVE IDE
    • Network : Onboard integrated Two (2) Broadcom 10/100/1000BASE-TX NICs
    • Power Supply : AC, 345 W, 110V-240V
    • Video : Integrated XGI XG20 VGA controller - 16 MB
    • Ports : (BACK) Two (2) USB, One (1) Serial , Two (2) PS/2, and One (1) 15-pin VGA / (FRONT) Two (2) USB, One (1) 15-pin VGA
    • Form Factor : 1U Rackmount
    • Riser Card : PCI-E RISER CARD (1XPCI-E X8 SLOT, 1X PCI-E)

    All that for $ 239.99 with free shipping .. couldn't beat that.

    Well once I received it, I did a couple of modifications to the specs by fishing around eBay a little more .. bumped the processor to a QUAD CORE XEON 2.66GHz / 8 MB Cache / X3230 .. removed the memory and installed 4 x 2GB ECC DDR2 667 SDRAM for a total of 8GB .. removed the 2 Seagate 250GB drives and installed 2 Seagate 1TB drives. With the DELL SAS Raid controller installed .. configured the drives as RAID 0 for a total of 2TB .. also replaced the 24X CD-ROM Drive with a DVD reader .. Ran the latest DELL XpressUpdate on the server updating ALL firmwares .. this system was now ready for the software.

    Started the installation of WHS, everything appearing fine at first .. WHS was unable to located my drives using the DELL SAS 5/iR RAID Controller .. went up on DELL Support site, downloaded the "F6" drivers for Windows Server 2003 .. WHS loaded no problems, selected the drive for installation and poof .. installation continued .. transferred all files without errors. First boot came around for the start of the main installation .. the nice blue screen with Windows Setup in the corner .. it flashed through the driver loadings so fast, it was missed if you blinked .. "Starting Windows" appeared on the bottom and then BOOM .. there is was the infamous BSOD .. wonderful .. message "PROCESS1_INITIALIZATION_FAILED" 0x0000006B.

    Researched Technet and other sites .. this error is normally associated to either bad memory and bad hard drive .. ran Memtest against memory .. no problems .. ran tests on drives (took 4 hours) no problems .. wiped the drives and tried again .. and at the same point of installation as before .. BSOD for the same error.

    Contacted DELL Support .. they're telling me its the DELL SAS 5/iR RAID Controller !!! this is an item that is recommended for this server and is fully hardware/software compatible with Windows Server 2003 .. in which WHS is built off of Windows Small Business Server 2003 !!!! go figure.

    Well .. for sh*ts and giggles, I removed the controller, enabled the 2 SATA controllers built into the server and attached the drives to them instead .. ran through the installation again .. successful, WHS is now fully installed and functioning on a DELL PowerEdge 860.

    Now .. for the other HEADACHES .. and the complete no understanding of why this is. As you saw from the spec of this server, it has 2 integrated Broadcom 10/100/1000BASE-TX NICs .. now, I have another server that is running with Windows Server 2003 and 2 10/100/1000BASE NICs in which I Bridged the 2 together and has been running flawless .. Now, WHS .. version of Windows Small Business Server 2003 .. why has the option to Bridge network connections been removed !!!!! so I ended up having to disable 1 of the NICs !!! .. now my house is completely wired running full giga throughout .. the current Windows Server 2003 houses all the files that need to be transfered to the WHServer .. so, using Microsofts RoboCopy GUI .. I proceeded in transferring my Photos, Music and Video over .. looking at 1.2TB of data complete .. 5% done .. WHS crash .. restarted .. 15% done .. WHS crash .. restarted .. this went on for 6 hours .. crashing, restarting, crashing, restarting .. bugga it, I give up.

    Wiped WHS off the Server comletely, reinstalled the DELL SAS 5/iR RAID Controller and installed Windows Server 2008 Standard .. bridged my network connections .. server is running great .. no crashes, no BSOD's, no freezes .. nothing.

    WHS needs alot of work .. like updating the software to Windows Small Business Server 2008 .. the ability to configure the NIC's how you would like them (especially if you have more than 1) .. hardware compatability updates (this should come with updating the OS to 2008 from 2003).

    For what I did see of WHS, it does look nice, has some wonderful features .. Microsoft just needs to put a little more time into the package and re-release and UPDATED and more STABLE version.

    Friday, February 27, 2009 6:18 AM

All replies

  • Teaming NICs is a functionality of the network driver and has nothing to do with the OS.
    Also your description of the crashes happening points more to a driver problem.

    Best greetings from Germany

    Friday, February 27, 2009 7:46 AM
  • Olaf ...

    The teaming of NIC's using the Broadcoms BACS software utility stinks .. I did install it, attempted to team the 2 together and was unsuccessful each time .. it would accept the teaming during the first configuration, but once rebooted, the teaming would disappear and would have to be reconfigured each time I rebooted the server.

    As for the issue with the DELL SAS 5/iR RAID Controller .. yes, I would believe it could be a driver issue .. what I failed to mention above was that I had tried originally the Windows Server 2003 version of the driver (since WHS is built off Windows Small Business Server 2003) when I received the first BSOD .. ran the tests on memory and the hard drives .. but also experimented with the SAS drivers for Windows XP, Windows Vista and even the Windows Server 2008.

    Now, I have Windows Server 2008 Standard currently running on the server .. using the RAID controller and with DELL's Windows Server 2008 drivers .. everything installed perfectly, the server is up and running without any issues .. so honestly, yes it could be the drivers for Windows Server 2003 .. or it might not !!!

    LOL .. who knows ...

    Friday, February 27, 2009 5:38 PM
  • LordGeek said:

    Microsoft just needs to put a little more time into the package and re-release and UPDATED and more STABLE version.

    That's going to be WHS v2 .. ala Vail :)
    Sunday, March 1, 2009 2:52 AM