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Martin K. Petersen (mkp)
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Linux Storage
Linux Storage

251 followers
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I keep telling myself that it is worth hanging on to this machine because I do use it occasionally. Ahem.
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Dear Lazyplus,

The management interface in one of my APC AP7900 switched rack PDUs died a couple of days ago. These units have been flaky since I bought them. Reviving them involves going to the lab and unplugging power for a few minutes. With the added inconvenience of having to shut down my entire setup every time.

In any case one unit is now completely dead and its sibling in the rack is getting increasingly intermittent. They were bought new a few years ago and are both out of warranty. APC says they do not offer repair services for their rack PDUs and that I should just buy new ones. Does anybody have any recommendations?

I realize people are probably relying heavily on IPMI and server LOM these days. But I have a bunch of prototype storage widgets that I need to be able to power cycle...
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One of my main test boxes needed a BIOS update to fix a PCIe issue. Sadly the manufacturer of this particular machine is still stuck in the 80's when it comes to BIOS updates and a DOS boot disk is required. Plus a trip to the lab to play "Let's see if you can guess the right key to interrupt the boot process while a flood of logos and option ROMs ensure that your monitor never gets a stable signal for long enough to actually produce a picture".

The first several attempts were made PXE booting DOS images in various sizes. Every time I booted, FreeDOS crashed complaining about the partition table being inconsistent. Linux' fdisk didn't see any problems. I went from a 256MB image down to a 32MB one and then down to floppy sized. Same thing.

I wasn't sure whether the partition message was just a warning or the root cause of FreeDOS' crash. So I spent some time Googling to find out if there was a known problem with DOS and this super modern board/chipset. Not as far as I could tell...

Maybe something was funky with memdisk? I switched to a physical USB stick. Same thing. I then resorted to burning a CD for the first time in years. Also epic fail. Real floppy was next...

But hey! Waitaminnit! Why would there be a partition table problem when booting from a CD?!?

It was at that point I realized that it might be a good idea to  pull out any drives with 4KB sectors before attempting to boot DOS...
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Hard drive shipping fail!
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Fixing my monitor's broken EDID the hard way...
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