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Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

Donald Hill
Advisor

Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

We are having problems reading the HP VMS operating environment DVD on our RX2600 server. We are running VMS 8.3-1H1and need to reconfigure the OS and thus need to boot from the OE DVD. When we attempt to read the 8.3-1H1 OE DVD by mounting it on the running VMS 8.3-1H1, we get the message “ %MOUNT-F-IVBUFLEN, invalid buffer length”. The same thing goes when we try to mount the 8.2 OE DVD that came with the system. We can however successfully mount and read the “HP Layered Products Library for HP OpenVMS on HP Integrity Servers” DVD (the only other HP DVD we have) and any HP CD we wish to try. When we try to boot the machine directly from either the 8.2 or 8.3-1H1 copy of the Operating environment DVD the boot process hangs at the following output from the MP window
EFI version 1.10 [14.61]
EFI64 Running on Intel(R) Itanium Processor Family
EFI 1.10 IPF zx6000/rx2600/zx2000 1.22 [Thu Mar 11 14:22:35 2004] - HP

Copyright (c) 2000-2002 Broadcom Corporation
Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet EFI driver v3.0.7

Loading 'FPSWA'...
Loading 'lsi1030'...
Loading 'gigundi'...
2 0 0x00020B 0x0000000000000006 EFI Launching Boot Manager
I do remember having trouble upgrading the system from the preinstalled 8.2 to the 8.3-1h1 a year ago but cannot remember the details on how I was able to do it. One first questions the health of the DVD reader but as we can read the Layered products DVD and any CD, and only have problems with the OE DVDs one wonders if the problem is the format of the Operating Environment DVD. All media are HP originals. The DVDs are burned rather than pressed like the bulk of the HP Alpha and VAX offerings. Also noticed is the activity light on the DVD reader continually flashes whenever the OE DVDs are in the reader where when the Layered product DVD or other CDs are placed in the reader, the light flashes for some seconds as the media is read then goes out until you go to read the media.
The firmware versions are
MP FW :E.02.29
BMC FW :01.52
EFI FW :01.22
System FW :02.31
I am aware that the MP firmware is behind but do not believe the MP would be involved in this problem. (We have been unable to successfully upgrade the firmware using the various CDs we have burned.)
Any ideas on our problem
Thanks Don
8 REPLIES
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

What is the DVD part number, and its firmware revision here?

Do you have other OpenVMS V8.3 systems around? If so, then InfoServer is a workaround for your immediate problem. Set that up on another node, load the distro DVD over there, and network (InfoServer) boot the box.

I'd not rule out the drive or the BMC or EFI firmware or the particular media or the drive or the drive firmware here, as all of these can be involved.

If the distro DVD disk doesn't mount when OpenVMS I64 is booted and running, then the obvious checks are the media, the drive-level firmware, and (if the drive firmware is down-rev) that then usually means swapping the drive for a spare. (Upgrading DVD firmware can be possible, but usually isn't the most straightforward of tasks.)

Stephen Hoffman
HoffmanLabs LLC
Donald Hill
Advisor

Re: Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

Hi Hoff
The DVD p/n is A7231-62012 a TEAC Model DV-28E-CP3 drive. At the moment, I cannot think of how to determine the drive's firmware revision level.

Yes, we have a number of OpenVMS V8.3 machines but they are all Alphas and as such do not have a DVD drive. I would certainly like to be able to network boot the machine if I could.

My current thoughts are firmware problems as the problem seems to be related only to a DVD used for booting and the media can not be read either from a booting system nor a system running the OS. I tend to rule out the media as we have tried both the 8.2 media and the 8.3-1H1 media with the same results.
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

> I am aware that the MP firmware is behind
> but [...]

Other things could be slightly newer, too.
Around here, for example:

MP Host Name: rex-m

Revision E.03.32

Shell> info fw

FIRMWARE INFORMATION

Firmware Revision: 2.31 [4411]
[...]
EFI Build Revision: 1.22
[...]
BMC Revision 1.53
[...]

But I wouldn't expect DVD problems on that
account.

> [...] (We have been unable [...]

Not much of a problem description there. I
had no particular problems getting my box up
to where it is.

> When we attempt to read [...]

As usual, I'd be happier with a transcript
showing the actual commands.

I don't have an internal DVD drive in my
rx2600, so I've been using an external SCSI
DVD drive when I need one. An external
SCSI drive is often a good thing to have
around.

If you can mount the DVD on a different drive
(in an Alpha, say), then I'd certainly
suspect the drive. If everyone hates the
disc, then I'd blame the disc. (My memory
is approximately worthless these days, but
wasn't there a complaint here or on
comp.os.vms sometime in the past few years
about bad HP-supplied DVDs? That could be
false-memory syndrome, too.)

> All media are HP originals. The DVDs are
> burned [...]

Really? I haven't seen any real HP media in
a while. Did they spend money on nice
labels, or do they _look_ cheap, too?
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

FWIW, the low-level format of the DVD boot disk is different than that of the other DVD disks that are typically around.

If the box is under hardware support, call your provider.

>The DVD p/n is A7231-62012 a TEAC Model DV-28E-CP3 drive. At the moment, I cannot think of how to determine the drive's firmware revision level.

HP typically swaps the drive if it's down-revision.

>Yes, we have a number of OpenVMS V8.3 machines but they are all Alphas and as such do not have a DVD drive. I would certainly like to be able to network boot the machine if I could.

Get yourself a DVD drive? DVD drives are commodity devices and are widely available. If you have an IDE-capable AlphaStation or AlphaServer box, you can look to upgrade it. Some of the AlphaServer boxes shipped with DVD drives, too. (I might guess you're not entirely comfortably rummaging around inside the hardware enclosure, so you might want to talk to your provider here for options and drive recommendations.)

The alternative is to clone the disk on your local Mac OS X or Linux box, or on Windows if you're using that with a recording tool such as CDburnerXP Pro. (The commercial Windows recording tools can be quite spotty.)

>My current thoughts are firmware problems as the problem seems to be related only to a DVD used for booting and the media can not be read either from a booting system nor a system running the OS.

Could be drive firmware or media, certainly.

Usual approach here is to swap the drive and swap the media.

The other option is to get somebody to remaster the kit onto different media, or to get you a disk image that you can then load via InfoServer or such.

>I tend to rule out the media as we have tried both the 8.2 media and the 8.3-1H1 media with the same results.

I'd not tend to assume that. I've seen a couple of batches of media knock out one specific model of drive and only that model of drive. Weird stuff happens with optical media.

If you've got support, call'em in. If you don't, then get somebody in to look at the media and to up-rate an Alpha or three to DVD capabilities or try some disk-cloning here. Or have a look at up-rating your own storage, if you're comfortable with that.

And ensure your patches and your EFI firmware and such are current.

Donald Hill
Advisor

Re: Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

Steven
I consider the problem of not being able to upgrade the firmware a subject of another thread and that is why I did not go further with that subject

Re the HP media labels, they look almost identical to the screened labels of the pressed media. The printing is direct to the disk, not a paper label. Looks almost like an ink jet printing.

Don
Donald Hill
Advisor

Re: Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

Stephen (Hoff)
No this box is not under hardware support. If it were, I would probably not be asking these questions. We obtained it as part of one of the HP's training courses of a number of years ago when they were trying to encourage porting to the Itanium. As our product was developed for the VAX and has been ported to the Alpha and currently running on both, we have not really been using the Itanium machine and as such have not needed hardware support which we have on some of our other machines. We are now porting to the Itanium and thus firing up the box again.

As I was a hardware designer (designing computer interfaces) in a former life I am quite comfortable delving around in the box. (One of the first things upon receipt of a new box is to open it up and see what the insides look like). Unfortunately my design days way preceeded the PC or even the VAX. :-( It is one of my tasks to keep these things running.

We have a DS10 which may take a DVD reader so may look at trying that idea out.

Re media compatibility, I remember years ago when writeable CDs were just coming out, it seemed a black art to get the right brand of media to work with a particular writer which then could be read only on certain types of drives. This may be the case with this reader as it came early in HPs use of DVDs for VMS. We are going to try to get a new copy of the DVD.

Thanks
Don
Hoff
Honored Contributor

Re: Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

Ok; presuming you don't have a way to read and verify these disks else-box, then swapping in a DVD into the AlphaServer DS10 box is likely the easiest and fastest approach here, then using OpenVMS Alpha V8.3 and host-based InfoServer or such for the disk-level operations.

It's also feasible to transfer the DVD bits to disk as mentioned, but the boot sequence and low-level disk structures and filenames do differ between optical and magnetic media per the design of EFI. It's feasible to use SET BOOTBLOCK command to clear most of that, if you want to try a transfer of a SCSI brick and a disk boot.

It's often also feasible to clone using a known-good drive.

Secondary is swapping in a replacement slimline drive into the rx2600 box. That'll be feasible, but the rail kits and such tend to lead you to need the "right" model of drive, or, um, something involving duct tape that I won't even begin to describe here. Going price looks to be around US$75 for a refurb, and maybe less on an auction site.

Optical media and drive-to-drive is somewhat better in recent years, but weirdnesses and recording errors and, um, media with severely optimistic speed ratings, can and do still arise. And I have encountered DVD drives with bad firmware and with firmware that is incompatible with particular batches of DVD media. It's comparatively rare, but it happens.

But I repeat myself...
Donald Hill
Advisor

Re: Problems reading installation DVD on a RX2600

Thanks Hoff
I think I will try the optical into our DS10 as I have a spare drive at home - then try setting up the infoserver software and see where that leads us.

Thanks Don