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Re: [Xen-users] how to start VMs in a particular order

  • To: xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • From: Joost Roeleveld <joost@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 02 Jul 2014 08:45:16 +0200
  • Delivery-date: Wed, 02 Jul 2014 06:45:40 +0000
  • List-id: Xen user discussion <xen-users.lists.xen.org>

On Tuesday 01 July 2014 23:48:51 lee wrote:
> Joost Roeleveld <joost@xxxxxxxxxxxx> writes:
> > Check the howtos for smartctl, they explain how to interpret the data.
> > I'd recommend:
> > http://www.smartmontools.org/
> Ok, if I get to see the numbers, I can look there.  I never believed in
> this smart thing ...

You just wait for disks to die suddenly?

> >> >> I know, they aren't suited for this purpose.  Yet they have been
> >> >> working
> >> >> fine on the P800, and that three disks should decide to go bad in a
> >> >> way
> >> >> that blocks the controller (or whatever happens) every now and then
> >> >> seems unlikely.
> >> > 
> >> > No, it doesn't.
> >> 
> >> Why not?
> > 
> > Because I've seen it happen.
> You have seen three (or more) disks going bad all at the same time just
> because they were connected to a different controller?

Yes, it was a cheap controller though, but it did actually kill any disk I 
connected to it.
I was working at a computer shop at the time and the owner wanted us to try 
different disks even though the first 2(!) died and those wouldn't work on any 
other system anymore.

> > WD makes good disks, but those 2TB green drives you are using gave me
> > the largest amount of failures I ever experienced. I don't even bother
> > sending them back for warranty replacement anymore.
> They really aren't the greatest disk one can imagine.  I'd say they are
> ok for what they are and better than their reputation, considering the
> price --- you could get them for EUR 65 new a few years ago, maybe even
> less, before all disk prices increased.  I'll replace them with
> something suitable when they fail.

For twice that, I got 3TB WD Red drives a few years ago, after the factories 
came back online.

> > That happens when the buffer is full, from a very quick read on the
> > subject (so please, someone with more knowledge, please correct me if I
> > am mistaken), this can be caused when the underlying I/O system is not
> > able to keep up.
> It's probably more complicated than that.  Systems would go down all the
> time if exceeding their I/O capacity would make them crash.

It depends on how big the capacity is and how the underlying hardware handles 

> >> then with "arcconf seems to hang" and now with
> >> "scsi bus hanging?".
> > 
> > These might be different ways of showing the same error, just being passed
> > on to a different subsystem.
> Possibly --- I'd think it also means that something must have changed
> when a particular error that repeatedly showed up as X suddenly and
> repeatedly shows up as Z instead.
> (The kernel version changed.  I haven't figured out what in particular
> changed in the kernel code around the place where that message is
> generated, and it may very well be changes somewhere else which are
> relevant.  What did change is that the swiotbl message is now printed by
> different means to prevent a flood of messages that makes the system
> unusable.  I don't know what these means exactly do; it's possible that
> the message isn't printed to console anymore so that now the "scsi bus
> hangs" message has become visible after it had been not.)

I saw some changes listing that the kernel should report it rather then panic.
Possibly the next step was to handle the errors at a different point.

> >> It still crashed with PHY on 1, and I'm on 2 now.  It hasn't crashed in
> >> over a day yet [knocks on wood].  If it works now, I'll leave it at 2;
> >> if it crashes again, I'll increase to 3 ...
> > 
> > Interesting, while googling for the PHY setting, I come across the
> > following URL:
> > http://serverfault.com/questions/95190/ibm-serverraid-8k-and-sata1-issue
> > 
> > The following comes from there:
> > ***
> > The reason your Sata drives are running at 1.5Gb/s vs 3.0Gb/s on your
> > server is because their was a bug in the backplane that caused 30 second
> > freezes under heavy workloads.
> > [...]
> > 
> > You might want to look into that, as it's the same server and raid-card as
> > you are using.
> > Do note, the website for that IBM-link does not work at the moment.
> Yes, I had found the same page.  I'm not sure if that statement is true
> because the P800 also links SATA with 1.5 and SAS with 3Gbit/sec,
> without a backplane in the way.  It is probably true that IBM --- and/or
> Adaptec

I believe you are using an IBM raid controller. Not an Adaptec part. At least, 
I can't see Adaptect in any of the documentation I saw online.

> --- ran into problems with SATA drives connected to the
> controller they couldn't really solve, for otherwise there wouldn't be a
> need to implement different PHY settings and even a utility in the
> controllers' BIOS to let users change them.

The backplane used in these systems, from my understanding, have a port 
multiplier built-in. I think it is that part causing the problem.

> The documentation speaks of "different SATA channels" and claims that
> improvements have been made to the PHY settings, apparently hiding
> what's actually going on.

SAS and SATA controllers often talk about sata channels. My raid controller 
even still calls them IDE-channels. It's just a name.

> Anyway, server uptime is 3 days, 9 hours now.  That's a great
> improvement :)
> So for what's it worth:  For WD20EARS on a ServeRaid 8k, try different
> PHY settings.  PHY 2 seems to work much better than 0, 1 and 5.

That is usefull news, especially if that keeps the system running. Maybe post 
that online somewhere, including on that page?

> > True, but, SATA drives don't always work when used with port multipliers,
> > which from the above, I think you are actually using.
> Hm, I doubt it.  The drive slots are numbered 0--5, and I can set a PHY
> setting for each drive individually.  Would I be able to do that if a
> PMP was used?

Yes, the question is, does the PMP used handle that correctly?

>  And can a single port keep up with 6 SAS drives?

How many drives do you know of that can provide a sustained datastream of 
Or, in the case of 6 drives, 500Mb/s?
Assuming you have a drive that can sustain 200Mb/s, that still means a single 
port can theoretically handle 3000 / 200 = 15 disks.
With SSDs the picture is slightly different. With a sustained read speed of 
550Mb/s, you would get nearly 5.5 disks.

So, yes, a single port can easily keep up with 6 SAS drives.

> I'd have to take it all apart to see how this backplane is made.  ---
> Think I'm silly, but I really marvelled at the drive caddies.  They are
> anything but simple and *not* easy to manufacture.

IOW, expensive replacements if they break.

> >> But then, it seems that an SATA link goes down or can go down when a
> >> disk saves power.  So you might be right: disk goes to sleep, controller
> >> cannot re-establish link because of PHY settings, and then things hang.
> > 
> > Yep, it all depends on what is happening, without proper errorlogs and
> > reproducable crashes, it will be difficult to determine exactly what is
> > happening.
> Yes --- I have two PHY settings left I can try if I have to.  If that
> doesn't help, I can look into disabling power saving.

I hope setting 2, as you mentioned above, keeps it stable.


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