Bill Moran wrote:

So, is there advice anywhere about speeding up the boot process? It
appears that most of the 1 minute 45 seconds to boot our system is wait
time for checking the existence of non-existant hardware and would not be
appreciable reduced with a faster CPU or disk. Are there kernel options
that we could use to avoid this checking? Would recompiling the kernel in
some specialized way help? Would pico-bsd be faster?

About the only thing I can find is to reduce the 10 second boot screen
delay - but we need to cut more than 30 seconds.

The server is statically configured but the clients obtain network
configuration from dhcp and pxeboot with nfs mounted root directories.
Clients are FreeBSD and Linux, and we are not eager to give up pxeboot as
it has greatly simplified maintainance.

Any suggestions, pointers much appreciated.
Three things I can think of:
* The 10 sec boot delay, which you already mentioned
* Make sure the wait time for SCSI devices is a low as reliably works.
 If it only has SCSI disks, this could probably very short, 1 sec or so
* Recompile your kernel removing any devices that don't exist in your
 hardware.

I'm not buying this, however.  My laptop boots in ~30 seconds with a
mostly stock kernel.  Please provide specific details as to what's
slowing it down.  Are you sure it's not a slow BIOS?  Many of the Dell
systems we have take several minutes with BIOS self-checks before the
OS even starts to boot.
The BIOS time isn't terrible - BTX shows up on the console within 15 seconds. The major delays happen when the last console message is about atapci: (25 seconds) and ad2: (15 seconds).

Funky.  That's a Looong time to wait for an ATA controller to determine
whether or not their's a disk attached.  Do you have an ad2?  If not,
you might want to check the BIOS to see if there's an option to disable
that particular part of the ATA chain to see if that speeds FreeBSD's
probe up.

Let's be sure of this, though; are we actually talking about an ATA
controller issue?  The phrase "last console message" doesn't necessarily
mean it's the ATA controller, but whatever is *next* in the bootup process, AFAICT, *after* the probe of /dev/ad2, which, on my systems
is the mounting of the root filesystem.

OTOH, turning off BIOS probes for disks that don't exist is
a good idea, IMHO.

Kevin Kinsey
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