On Apr 19, 2007, at 3:54 AM, Dimitris Zilaskos wrote:
Over the last 3 year we have installed freebsd 5.x and 6.x, with currently deployed version being 6.1, to a variety of of Dell rack mounted systems.

The Dell systems used so far are Poweredge 1750, 2950 (both scsi), and sc1425 (sata). All of them are dual CPU Xeon systems.

I've got a large number of Dell PowerEdge 1750, 1850, 2900, 2950 deployed in various production environments, whereas some other clients are using HP ProLiant 360/370 boxen. Both seem to be rock solid under either 5.4/5.5, or 6.1/6.2. I've even got a pair of firewall boxes running nothing but NAT and SSHd, which are at 600+ days of uptime:

FreeBSD 5.4-STABLE (FW) #0: Tue Jul 12 11:10:14 EDT 2005

Welcome to FreeBSD!
12:24PM  up 636 days, 19:26, 3 users, load averages: 0.25, 0.14, 0.04

(Machines running more services get OS or service related updates more frequently-- typically every month to every 3 months-- but I don't like to make changes to a running machine unless I expect the change to make an improvement which justifies the disruption. For a non-SMP firewall which would involve loss of external network connectivity to update, nothing in 6.x is worth the cost to update to as yet, IMHO.)

All these systems serve as mail/web servers, with 2 to 15 jails.

Installation has always proceeded normally without problems. However, after a few months of operation, all of these systems, purchased at different moments during the last 3 years, will begin rebooting randomly or freezing completely.

These reboots/freezes will at first occur once per 6 months, then gradually will move to to once per month, to normally stabilize around once per week, but in the case of the 1750 system once it even happened twice a day.

Load does not seem to matter, since even after shutting down all services in the servers, still random reboots occured.

Sounds to be something hardware-related like a power-supply problem, if the failure rate is gradually getting shorter and is not correlated with load at all.

So far we tried various tricks digged from the archives, like disabling ACPI, HT, but nothing changed.

We have migrated some systems that had these issues to RHEL compatible OS, and they run rock solid under heavy load.

Hmm. Well, you might have to wait for a few weeks or months to be able to get reasonable comparison of longer-term stability, but this at least implies that something like cooling or a failed fan aren't likely causes.

Right now I have enabled kernel crash dumps and I am waiting for the next crash. But I understad a lot of people use FreeBSD with Dell servers, and I would like to listen on how to tackle this situation we are facing.

Try to get a crash dump. Also, you might find reviewing the BIOS options and disabling everything which is not needed, hopefully including USB, will help.


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