RTC problems on Dell Poweredge Servers

Francis Lessard novacom at videotron.ca
Sun Jan 7 17:57:28 CST 2007

Hi ! 
(this is mostly my original post on Howtoforge) 
I really hope we come to a solution.

I have installed a VMWare server on Debien Etch kernel 2.6.18-3-686 on my
brand new Poweredge 860. I still have an issue related to RTC.

On a standard server (non-dell from what I tested), issuing the command :>
hwclock  and then cat /proc/interrupts. The number would increase beside
IO-APIC-edge rtc showing that hwclock receives correct interrupts form

That's not the case on the Dell PowerEdge 860. And after looking through all
my Dell Linux installations, they all exibit the same problem, all with
different kernels ! (tested on 2 poweredge sc430)

The symptom is corrected on Dell servers by adding --directisa option to a
hwclock command or in /etc/init.d/hwclock.sh for booting slowdowns and
shutdowns... But the this perticular issue is affecting directly VMware
server. The vmware server need /dev/rtc for keeping up time correctly. So
even though this solves the problem in hwclock, it does not fix my issue.

This message is logged in syslog :

Jan  3 16:08:41 pe860 kernel: rtc: lost some interrupts at 2048Hz.
Jan  3 16:09:12 pe860 last message repeated 1512 times
Jan  3 16:10:13 pe860 last message repeated 3051 times

The final issue is that the time on the virtual machine is sooooo slow. 1
sec = 5 sec realtime.

I tried modprobe -r rtc, modprobe genrtc... It makes hwclock work but remove
the interrupt function (in /proc/interrupt, no more rtc)
Have anybody fixed this problem, or know why it happens ? Maybe if someone
could try the >hwclock, cat /proc/interrupt and confirm if it's a debian
specific bug.
At this point, any ideas are welcome.


Thanks !

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