Archive for May, 2010

IBM QS20 — Firmware Update

Posted in HowTo on 23/05/2010 by Undersys

Normally on the IBM blade stuff, you can update the F/W via the blade management page.
Like I keep saying… the IBM chassis has no control over the QS20.
So F/W needs to be updated via Linux.

The latest F/W is QA-06.14.0-0G. It can be found at IBM :-
IBM e1350 cluster QS20 node firmware v8.03

Download the file “” to the local blade.

Follow the following steps :-
Commands typed are in italics

# unzip
#mkdir /etc/microcode
# cp QA-06.14.0-0G-boot_rom.bin /etc/microcode/
# update_flash -f /etc/microcode/QA-06.14.0-0G-boot_rom.bin

This should return with :-
info: Temporary side will be updated with a newer or
identical image

Projected Flash Update Results:
Current T Image: QA061400D
Current P Image: QA061400D
New T Image:     QA061400G
New P Image:     QA061400D
Flash image ready…rebooting the system…

When the system has rebooted and all is ok, commit the new flash image to the primary flash bank.

# update_flash -c

This should return:-
success: Committed temporary firmware image

Check to see if it’s all good via the POST message.

Should look like this :-
CellBlade1 starting. Check Boot ROM…OK, FW is [May 30 2007 08:45:30]
Press “s” to enter Open Firmware.

Modules    = Elpida 256MB, 3200 MHz
XDRlibrary = v0.32, Bin A/C, RevB, DualDD
Calibrate  = |
Scrubbing enabled.

Processor  = Cell BE(TM) DD3.1
I/O Bridge = SB 3.2
Timebase   = 14318 kHz (external)
SMP Size   = 2 (4 threads)
Boot-Date  = 2010-05-23 01:58
Memory     = 1024MB (BE0: 512MB, BE1: 512MB)

SLOF Setup = Adapters:
5000 : 1095 680     Sil0680
SLOF Setup = Ready

Build Ref  = QA-06.14.0-0G@release

Welcome to Open Firmware

Licensed Internal Code – Property of IBM
(c) Copyright IBM Corp. 2005, 2006 All Rights Reserved.
Cell BE is a trademark of SONY Computer Entertainment Inc.

Type ‘boot’  and press return  to  continue  booting  the system.
Type ‘reset-all’  and  press  enter   to   reboot   the   system.

0 >

All good.


IBM QS20 — Linux Install

Posted in HowTo on 23/05/2010 by Undersys

The QS20 was a Cell blade developed by Mercury systems , Not that you can find much on their web site about the QS20. It was made for IBM’s blade chassis. Unfortunate for us the only control the chassis has is power on and power off. You need to use the serial port and netboot it to install Linux. Hear is the pin out for the serial console if you need it.

So far from what I have read and tested the easiest way forward is Fedora, starting at version 7 as its officially supported on the QS20.

Commands typed are in italics

Lets’ begin..
You will need three services running to complete the install.
1) DHCP Server
2) TFTP Server
3) NFS Server

First thing we need a netboot environment (DHCP+TFTP).
I will be using the environment I’ve set up already.
We need to make an entry into the DHCP .conf file so that the blade knows what disk image to boot.

Mine looks like this :-
host QS20-1 {
hardware ethernet xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx;
filename “ppc64.img”;
You can find the mac address in the IBM blade manager under “Hardware VPD”
You can get a copy of the ppc64.img, just remove the .doc. File is called “ppc64.imp”

Copy this into the /tftpboot directory, this was previously set up.
Next thing you will need is a way to get the install media to the host. I will be using NFS to share out the files.
I already have an NFS server setup so just export a new directory in my case this  is the line in /etc/exports :-

Then copy the ISO image into that directory. You can find the .ISO on the Fedora archive mirror.
Do NOT unpack the ISO! The fedora install expects to see the .iso.

Once that is all set up, power on the blade and enter the Open firmware prompt by hitting “s”
type the following to netboot the machine :-

0 > netboot vnc console=hvc0

If it has worked you will get the following output :-
Bootloader 1.4
Reading MAC address from device: xx:xx:xx:xx:xx:xx
Requesting IP address via BOOTP:
Requesting file “ppc64.img” via TFTP
Receiving data: A+++++#++A++#++++|
Lost ACK packets: 13
TFTP: Received ppc64.img (9311 KBytes)

zImage starting: loaded at 0x00300000 (sp: 0x0111f000)

Follow the steps as per a normal install this will be via the serial console, select NFS as the install source.
Enter the IP address of the NFS server and the directory path to the ISO, that we exported before.

If all goes well you should see the following message :-
Running anaconda, the Fedora system installer – please wait…
Probing for video card:   Unable to probe
No video hardware found, assuming headless
Starting VNC…

Fire up your vnc viewer and connect on port 5901 with the IP with set up in the DHCP server and finish the install. Reboot as Normal. Finish the last part of the setup questions via the serial console.

You should not need the serial console after this. System should be on-line via SSH.

I picked a very small subset of things to install, as I want to do an upgrade to the latest Fedora Core.

Hear is a copy of the official IBM SDK Guide , See page 15.

Systems Archive, Part 5 Sun Enterprise 3000

Posted in Personal on 07/05/2010 by Undersys

But wait there’s more…

This was a personal favorite of mine, and was still in weekly use till I decided to give it away.
Yes, I gave this away.. It was given to me, its only fair and the guy was very excited to get it.

The E3000 was one of sun’s mid range servers based on a backplane style configuration.
Mine had  3x Memory/CPU boards and one I/O board. Originally it only came with one cpu/memory board and one IO board. I brought 6x 336mhx Ultra sparc 2’s and 2gb of ram for each board, so a total of 6gb.
The I/O board and onboard FA-CL dual loop. I had 3x S-bus cards for it, A TGX video card, a HVD SCSI card and another FA-CL card.

The E3000 has a huge disk drive bay at the front fits 14 SCSI Ultra 2 drives. I had 6.
I also had a sun disk array dual FA-CL loop.. more on that later.

I ran this up with Gentoo and Solaris 10. In fact if you have read any of my Solaris articles they were based on this machine.

Heres a link to Oracles document library on the E3000, download it NOW, before oracle kills it…
Hears a link to all the options and part numbers

Here is a link to my flicker , detailed pics of the  E3000
Quick shot :-