Tag Archives: itanic

Raise the Itanic! (part 2)

Previously …

I finally got my HP Integrity RX2620 (dual core Itanium II) working, after a lot of messing around in the EFI shell. It is now running Debian-ia64 Wheezy. The thing is so noisy that you can’t stay in the room with it for very long, and I discovered that if you pull out the fans then it overheats and shuts down after a few minutes.

Here is lstopo output:

itanic-lstopo

and /proc/cpuinfo:

processor  : 0
vendor     : GenuineIntel
arch       : IA-64
family     : 31
model      : 2
model name : Madison up to 9M cache
revision   : 2
archrev    : 0
features   : branchlong
cpu number : 0
cpu regs   : 4
cpu MHz    : 1600.035
itc MHz    : 1600.035576
BogoMIPS   : 2390.01
siblings   : 1
physical id: 0

processor  : 1
vendor     : GenuineIntel
arch       : IA-64
family     : 31
model      : 2
model name : Madison up to 9M cache
revision   : 2
archrev    : 0
features   : branchlong
cpu number : 0
cpu regs   : 4
cpu MHz    : 1600.035
itc MHz    : 1600.035576
BogoMIPS   : 2390.01
siblings   : 1
physical id: 1

Also: Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!!11!!1

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Not very serious quest to run Linux on every architecture

Just looking at the Debian Ports page, how many of these architectures do I own?

Arch Notes
Alpha Good, working Alpha hardware is getting hard to obtain these days.
amd64 (x86-64) Obviously …
ARM (32 bit) I don’t really care about anything less than ARM version 7 these days, although I do have a Sheevaplug which I think is v5 or v6. My “go-to” 32 bit ARM board is the Cubietruck.
ARM (64 bit) I don’t own, but have under my desk at work, the Applied Micro X-gene (picture), and a lovely piece of kit it is too.
HP-PA I would love to get my hands on some HP-PA RISC hardware, but it’s even harder to get hold of than Alpha. Edit: If you really want HP PA then the HP C8000 workstation is available on eBay for $300 or so.
i386 I own a Lenovo X60s laptop, which is one of the few 32 bit Intel processors with (very slow) hardware virtualization
ia64 HP Itanium RX2620
M68K As I started out my professional career writing 68k assembler, I’d love to buy an MVME crate, but incredibly they go for upwards of $1000 on ebay, even 20 years after they stopped being made.
MIPS ✓/✗ I just bought the MIPS Creator CI20. I don’t own any Big Endian MIPS hardware, nor any 64 bit MIPS hardware.
OpenRISC I have this burned into an FPGA, but in storage.
PPC (32 bit) I recently sent a couple of old 32 bit Mac G4s to recycling.
PPC/POWER (64 bit) ✓/✗ I own a Mac G5 running Linux (picture). However I don’t own, and as far as I know cannot get my hands on any of the more interesting POWER7 or POWER8 hardware, although I have remote access to it through Red Hat.
s390/s390x Similar to ppc64, no possible way to own it, but I am able to remote access it through Red Hat.
SPARC (32 bit) Currently sitting in storage, but it’s there and it used to run Linux, albeit with only 128 MB of RAM
SPARC (64 bit) Is it possible to buy 64 bit SPARC hardware for a reasonable price?

Looks like I’m about half way there!

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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).

money-shot
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:

interior

On the back:

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.

Update Mainly for my own reference what I eventually ended up doing was copying the Debian netboot installer files to a USB key. The EFI shell can load files from this, allowing a relatively simple boot.

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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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