Thursday, October 6, 2016

Setting Up RAID Volumes on Cisco UCS C series with Avago/LSI/MegaRAID Controllers

On a C220M4, I discovered that the controller configures the drives as JBOD. Fixing this is easy, but not quite as straightforward as one would expect... especially considering that the controller has been a mainstay of servers for a very long time.

1. Go into the controller firmware (I had to do a control-M before I saw the control-R option):

As you can see, create virtual drives is not an option. Select "Make Unconfigured Good"

Select all the drives and click OK. 

Now you have the option to create a volume.

Cisco UCS C220M4s and the Purple Screen of Death - Could not start pcpu 1: TSC sync timed out

Recently, I had to install ESXi 5.5 on a Cisco rackmount server. VMware crashed with the purple screen of death.

Here's the display:

These are relatively new servers, so there was nothing especially helpful on the web. Other people had this problem, but I couldn't find any real solutions, other than a reference to C states on the CPU.

I experimented a bit and figured that CPU power savings might be the problem (I'd seen this before on Opteron servers.)

The fix is to set CPU performance to HPC (it defaults to Enterprise) in BIOS:

That's advanced -> CPU Performance -> HPC (from Enterprise)

This solved the problem. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Avocent ACS 6016/6008 Renaming Ports From CLI

These console servers are fairly easy to setup, but the CLI is segmented to facilitate differing levels of access.

If you wish to rename a serial port (i.e., with hostname) from the CLI, you need to do the following

1. Figure out which port is being renamed (i.e., port 11)
2. log in with appropriate credentials via SSH (or direct serial)

cd ports


cd serial_ports

4b. You can check out the parameters here:

--:#- [serial_ports/physical] cli-> show
port: 11
enable_cisco_rj45_pin-out = yes
status = enabled
speed = 9600
parity = none
data_bits = 8
stop_bits = 1

flow_control = none 

5. set port name

set port_name=my_new_name


--:#- [serial_ports/cas] cli-> set port_name=unused 

8. save the config


That's it, basically.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AnyConnect 4.x on ASA 8.4.x: AnyConnect is not enabled on the VPN server

I recently had to do a failover on a pair of ASA5520s. On failing over to the secondary, AnyConnect stopped working. I did not see a license error, but users who connected received this error:

AnyConnect is not enabled on the VPN server

There weren't any smoking guns in the logs. I did notice that the newest version of the config was missing the client image definitions in webvpn. They were in the flash drive, but not copied to the secondary. So, when the secondary took over, this portion of the config was dropped.

The solution was to re-add the images:

config t
anyconnect image disk0:/anyconnect-macosx-i386-4.3.00748-k9.pkg 1
anyconnect image disk0:/anyconnect-win-4.3.00748-k9.pkg 2

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Cisco ASA tftp Copies and Issues with atftpd

while attempting to copy a new anyconnect pkg file from a CentOS based server running atftpd, I received the following error on a Cisco ASA 5505:

%Error reading tftp://mytftpserver/anyconnect-win-3.1.14018-k9.pkg (Undefined error code)

On the tftp server in /var/log/messages, I saw:

Mar  6 14:49:19 mytftpserver  atftpd[15147]: Serving anyconnect-win-3.1.14018-k9.pkg to
Mar  6 14:49:19 mytftpserver atftpd[15147]: Requested file to big, increase BLKSIZE

I had installed tftp a while ago... specifically atftp-server. After looking at the man page for in.tftpd, I concluded there was no good way to set BLKSIZE on this package. The fix was:

sudo yum erase atftp-server
sudo yum install tftp-server

I then edited the xinet.d/tftp file to enable it and change the target directory and restarted xinetd. After this, I was able to copy the pkg file over successfully.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Mellanox ConnectX-2 10GB Interface on FreeBSD 10.2

Although Mellanox's FreeBSD driver for the ConnectX-2 is included in the kernel source, the kernel modules are not included with the generic kernel. To use this card, build a custom kernel.

1. update the FreeBSD source using freebsd-update

sudo freebsd-update fetch
sudo freebsd-update install

2. copy the generic kernel config to a custom kernel
cd /usr/src/sys/amd64/conf


4. edit the config file (sudo vi MYKERNEL01.) Add these lines to the bottom:

#### Mellanox ConnectX-2 support
options  OFED
options  IPOIB_CM
device  ipoib
device  mlx4ib
device  mlxen 

5. Compile the kernel and install it

cd /usr/src
sudo make buildkernel KERNCONF=MYKERNEL01
sudo make installkernel KERNCONF=MYKERNEL01

6. reboot

sudo shutdown -r now

Your new interface should show up when the machine comes back:

mlxen0: flags=8802 metric 0 mtu 1500
ether 00:02:c9:52:ad:23
nd6 options=29
media: Ethernet autoselect (autoselect )
status: active

You can configure however you'd like (IP, MTU, etc.)

If you run freebsd-update on a regular basis, you may want to append a  kernel rebuild (step #5) to a script so you can rebuild the kernel automatically if there is a kernel source update.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

2010 Macbook Pro and problems with Yosemite and/or El Capitan

I have had terrible issues with a mid-2010 MBP 15" core i7 laptop. Doing a clean installation of either Yosemite or El Capitan, the installer fails toward the end or crashes on first boot. I have not tried a fresh Mavericks install. However, a restore from a Mavericks time machine backup works perfectly fine. Alternatively, a linux installation also worked well with no crashes.

Quite a few posts suggest it is a log board problem and that Apple would fix it. However, being impatient, I tried my own work around. I noticed that the problem didn't happen if I reduced the RAM from 8GB to 4GB (1 stick of DDR 3 instead of 2.)

A prevailing theory for this failure is that the Nvidia 330M card was crashing the system when it switched from the onboard to the 330M.

A couple of suggested work arounds:

1. disable automatic video switching in power preferences. This will likely consume battery at a faster rate

2. use gfxCardStatus and force it to either onboard or discrete

 What I did was:

1. do a fresh install of El Capitan with only 1 stick of DDR 3 (4GB)

2. fully patched the OS

3. installed gfxcardstatus and forced it to onboard only.

 I haven't had a crash since.