Tag Archives: itanic

Raise the Itanic!

Itanium was Intel’s attempt to cause all other workstation processor manufacturers to run around like Chicken Little until they ran themselves out of business. It worked surprisingly well. In the end, HP put down Alpha and PA-RISC, and MIPS sold itself for $100m.

But enough history, Itanic might have failed in the marketplace, but that means you can pick up servers on eBay for £58 (and that includes tax and delivery — all 22 kg of it).

Above: Three 64 bit servers you probably don’t own: X-Gene (ARM 64 bit), HP Itanium RX2620, Mac G5 (PPC64)

This server has no hard drive, and requires UltraSCSI 320 disks, so I’m going to try PXE booting it [see below] into RHEL 5 and see if I can use a ram disk (it has a very generous 16 GB of RAM), or failing that, use a USB disk.

The interior is not that interesting as most of the important bits are covered up with ducting to push the incredibly noisy airflow to the right places:


On the back:


  • Dual power supplies!
  • Dual 1 GbE, plus one 100 Mbps ethernet!
  • 3 serial ports! I’ve never seen that excessiveness on a server before.

The machine has dual CPUs running at 1.6 GHz and 16 GB of RAM. It was almost worth the cost just for the RAM.

I tried fairly hard to get it to PXE boot into ELILO, but it wasn’t having any of that, so now I’m downloading the RHEL 5.10 DVD.


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virt-what – an open ended problem

Yesterday’s virt-what problem

If the qemu -cpu flag is used then “QEMU” no longer appears in /proc/cpuinfo, so virt-what fails to detect virtualization. Simple workaround of detecting KVMKVMKVM leaf in CPUID doesn’t work because Parallels Desktop also exports the same leaf (why?!?). A more complex fix is required.

Today’s virt-what problem

Xen full virt guests on IA64 are reportedly not detected by virt-what. I say “reportedly” because obviously no one uses IA64. So the first task is to locate an IA64 system, which I eventually manage (thanks Alexander Todorov). Secondly how to run the CPUID instruction on IA64 (thanks Paolo Bonzini). Thirdly to work out that there is nothing in CPUID which indicates virtualization on this peculiar platform. Number four to come up with a test (thanks again Paolo). Number five to write a patch and test everything several times over to make sure nothing has been broken or regressed …


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