PE4600 and Red Hat Questions

Arjan Van de Ven arjanv at
Fri Jun 21 03:41:00 CDT 2002

On Thu, Jun 20, 2002 at 08:36:58AM -0500, Abe Hayhurst wrote:
> Hi everyone,
> I just ordered a dual processor PE4600 w/ 1.5 GB of RAM (1 GB usable, 512 MB
> used as a spare bank), w/ Red Hat 7.2 that should arrive next week. The box
> will be used as a file server for graphics workstations, serving large (50 -
> 500 MB) files. I was browsing through the archives of the Linux-PowerEdge
> List and came across several threads that brough up questions for me.
> 1. To get the best performance from this box, should I be looking at RH 7.2,
> 7.3, or RH Advanced Server?

To be honest, it depends a bit on what you're going to use it for. AS is
fast for Oracle and similar loads, for "cpu bound" uses it won't matter too
much. 7.3 has a newer kernel, with the rmap vm which works amazingly well
for quite a few workloads. To make things complex, you can also use the 7.3
kernel on 7.2 ;)

> 2. If I do the installation from the RH7.2 CD's that come with the box, will
> I need to do any special configuration during the install or afterwards to
> use hyper-threading on the processors?

For RHL7.2 you need to upgrade to a recent erratum kernel and add
"acpismp=force" to the vmlinuz line in /etc/grub/grub.conf. For RHL7.3 this
is automatic.

> 2. Will I need to do anything special to get it to use the 1 GB of RAM?

No that is all automatic

> 3. What is the most reliable and best performing copper gigabit card
> available? Is the driver included on the RH7.2, RH7.3, or RHAS CD's?

Most performing in my experience is the Intel one, however the broadcom
cards are pretty close (and it will depends also on the exact driver version,
I bench'd the one in 7.2). As for reliability I can't say much, I don't use
gigE in production use (hey I don't even HAVE gige here ;)

> 3. If I go with Broadcom card on the motherboard, will the RH installer use
> the Tigon3 driver or the Broadcom driver? Which driver is better?

7.2 will use the bcm570x, 7.3 will use tg3

> 4. I have a RAID system that will be attached to the server that is capable
> of more MB/s than a gigabit card can do, and my workstations all have
> gigabit cards, so I am looking at more than one gigabit adapter, but would
> prefere not to have two separate subnets. Is adapter teaming or load
> balancing currently reliable and does it improve performance?

linux doesn't do teaming currently, unfortionatly. There is a module that
tries some of it but in practice it doesn't work well.

> 5. I have two PERC3/DC cards in the box. I am assuming I configure the RAID
> volumes in the bios or by booting off a Dell CD before I install Red Hat. Is
> that correct?

yes. Note that it pays to "play" a bit with the several settings before
doing your final install, depending on the disks it can make a LOT of
performance difference

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