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"Failed to Open DKA0." Error

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Virginia Benedict
Occasional Contributor

"Failed to Open DKA0." Error

Re: Open VMS Alpha OS Ver. 6.2 - 1Hz:

I can a)sh all internal devices on the server. b) access DKA100 c) I can write to DKA0 or so it appears but I cannot boot to it.

Have tested several HD to no avail.

Has anyone seen this error before and what exactly does it mean?
Choose your battles and let the rest dissipate while shielding yourself from strife!
Hein van den Heuvel
Honored Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

Welcome to OpenVMS ITRC Users Group.

Problems like this are often SCSI related.
Maybe something was on the edge of the spec (cable length, termination) and no longer is?

Unplug, and re-plus everything in sight! :-)

More analytical approach...

Did it ever work? What changed?

May we assume you get that message from the Console subsystem at the P00>> prompt?
What hardware (no so critical, but still)
If the problem continues please provide output from


"I can write to DKA0"
Hmmm... how did you test that? Scary!

Hope this helps some,
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

Copy+paste might be more useful than vague
(and inaccurate) descriptions.

> Re: Open VMS Alpha OS Ver. 6.2 - 1Hz:


There exists more than one Alpha system.
Which one is this?

> I can a)sh all internal devices on the
> server.

We non-psychics can't see what you see unless
you show us.

> b) access DKA100

"[A]ccess" how? Actual command(s)? Actual

> c) I can write to DKA0 or so it appears
> but I cannot boot to it.

A record of what you did and what happened
when you did it might reveal more than a
(vague) description of how things appeared
to you.

> Have tested several HD to no avail.

"[T]ested" how? What, exactly, does "to no
avail" mean here?

> Has anyone seen this error before and what
> exactly does it mean?

Probably, but without a little context, it's
tough to say much "exactly" about it.
Robert Gezelter
Honored Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error


Welcome to the HP ITRC OpenVMS Forum.

Some more detail would be helpful. Precisely what hardware is this problem happening on? From the revision of the software this is likely first generation hardware. Precise model and configuration information would be helpful.

Second, when precisely does the error message appear, and in response to what command.

And I certainly agree with Hein and Steve, hardware problems can manifest in strange ways.

- Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com
Thomas Ritter
Respected Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

Are you trying to boot ? Is dka0 the boot device or dka100 ?
Try >>>b dka100
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

Hi Virginia,

The error looks like the kind of thing you see at the console when trying to boot.

What exactly was the command you executed??

if it was just "P00> boot" then could you include the output from "P00> show boot*", as well as that from "show config" and "show device", as requested above.

Virginia Benedict
Occasional Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

Thank you all for the warm welcome and for the replies. I look forward to interacting on this forum.

The following is the scenario:
1. The server DPW 500. It is a Legacy System located in a poor environment and not well maintained.
2. There was an electrical event that forced the electric company to shut down the entire block over night.
3. The entire system at the location went down and it was not resuming.
4. The DEC Server 90K+ had been replaced subsequent to the blackout and whoever performed the swap did not recycle the power of the CISCO 2950 Switch and subsequently the Milan IEEE 802.3 Coax connections, etc. were down when I arrived.
5. Throughout the troubleshooting process I did disconnect/connect all of the devices, though not all at once.
6. I replaced the server with a newly refurbished replacement. Keeping the existing DKA100 (User data) and introducing a new DKA0 (OS & Remote Utils). I also replaced the SCSII ribbon from the replaced server to the replacement unit.
7. All throughout no matter what we did, I kept getting exact the same error.
8. I have a Chevron >>> and $$$ for prompts not P00>
9. When I perform a $$$ b or >>> b it returns â Failed to open DKA0.â

Choose your battles and let the rest dissipate while shielding yourself from strife!
Bob Blunt
Respected Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

Virginia, the extra details are nice but generally may be contributing to our confusion.

DPW500, good to know. DECserver90L+ replaced (there isn't a 90K+)? Was it connected to the DPW500's console port or do devices downstream on the ethernet from the DPW? In fact, let's change the direction of our questions.

Let's work from the DPW500 outward, get the workstation running before we're too concerned about giblets on the ethernet. Getting the ethernet working is great for everything else but once it's sending bits there's not much else to do with it, right?

You said "...replaced the server with a newly refurbished replacement..." Do you mean the DECserver or the DPW500? You moved an existing disk, DKA100 (user data) into a replacement DPW500 and added a "new" DKA0? In all honesty we're still in the dark. What disks did you have in your original system? Just installing a disk numbered as DKA0 doesn't get an operating system loaded to it. The error, "failed to open..." is apropriate if you have no bootable O/S there.

The prompts you're getting:

>>> is a SRM "console prompt" "B" boots from this prompt using the device in bootdef_dev and uses boot_osflags

$$$ is USUALLY the prompt you get from a bootable CD. You can't boot the machine from this prompt.

So let's start again. You had a DPW500 that died after a power issue? How many disks did it have? The system disk was a RZ-what and it was DKA-which? Did your original system have a CD reader? Did you move all the hard drives, as is, to the new system without changing their SCSI addresses? If not, why not? Have you replaced any disks? Have you reloaded your backup from your old system to the new disk? If not have you loaded OpenVMS (V6.2-1H3?) to the new disk?

There are still a lot of questions and we're trying to put the puzzle together... honest.
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

>>>show boot*
>>>show device

> [...] we're still in the dark.

Very true. As you try to explain what you've
done, imagine that we haven't seen what you
have done. (Which we haven't.)

> [...] and uses boot_osflags

To be sure of the flags, specify them (here,
"0,0") explicitly:

>>>boot -flags 0,0 dka0

If you get ambitious:

>>>show config
Virginia Benedict
Occasional Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

I had
2 Quantom HDs on replaced system
DKA0 and DKA100
2 Cheetah HD on replacement system
Appear not to have been assigned nor were they provisioned with the OS

Both DecServer and the DPW500 were replaced.
1. The DECServer had been replaced by someone else who had been working on the system in an attempt to restore it. I am not informed of the details of his process.

2. The DPW500 replacement server was waiting for me upon my arrival on site.

I was instructed to take the DKA100 (from the replaced server) and make a DKA0 using the One of the Cheetah Drives.

3. There was no bootable CD in place, that I am aware of. In fact when I attempted to open the CD Drive it would not open. Since these machines are refurbished (over and over) and I was under presure to bring the system up ASAP I did not think much of it.

Are you certain that the only way I could have gotten the $$$ is if a Bootable CD was inserted in the Drive of the replacement system? Could I have been getting this from a remote connection?

When I first brought the server up, my only choice was an Windows NT OS and I had to got into the BIOS to choose the UNIX boot.

I had to perform this several times because it was not saving and it was not allowing me to set the Date/Time because it would not present me with any prompt. We thought perhaps it was a CMOS Battery issue...

Are you CERTAIN that I could only get $$$ from a Bootable CD?

Is it possible that the system was booting off of a remote CD? I know this is possible with a UNIX BSD and with DOS and Windows. That is since I was booting into the user DKA100.

I will be back later and give you the sequence of commands that were used and more system detail.

I very much appreciate your time and effort to help me.

Virginia Benedict

Choose your battles and let the rest dissipate while shielding yourself from strife!
Honored Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

$$$ is the usual prompt for a bootable environment for either the CD or for an old standalone BACKUP CD or disk, or from specific environments within a more recent distribution, yes.

Is the $$$ that you're seeing here that prompt? Probably. But with all that is going on within this thread and within this installation and within this hardware environment, that's not a certainty.

The PWS boxes aren't the easiest Alpha boxes to work on. The parts are all stuffed in there pretty tightly, and what passes for cable routing in that series is, well, pretty ugly. There can be alternatives to stuffing all the parts back into the box that can be inexpensive and can make for easier maintenance, too.

While this box can remote-boot off InfoServer and can remote boot as part of a cluster, I'd tend to doubt that's the case here. That "Failed to Open DKA" diagnostic is indicative of a failed local boot. Not a network boot.

Inadequate battery voltage can cause the loss of configuration and can cause various and odd problems at startup. Most (all?) of these PWS-series boxes include a coin cell battery, and those are typically good for five to ten years. Then things get weird.

But what's going on here is not at all clear. Personally, I'd assume that the SCSI bus or internal storage power wiring isn't correct, there's a disk unit number collision, over- or under-termination on the bus, or the disk has failed.

I'd suggest calling in some experienced help; whether to outsource this stuff, to help you reconfigure and to upgrade some or all of the pieces and parts involved here, or to help you learn and to maintain this stuff; whatever is most appropriate here as you've clearly got some constraints in this environment. And yes, I and others in this thread and in ITRC provide those services.
The Brit
Honored Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

I hate to sound pedantic, but could you post the output from

>>> show boot*
>>> show device

Understand, when you issue the "B" or "BOOT" at the chevron prompt (>>>), you are telling the system to attempt a boot from the device defined by the environment variable "bootdef_dev".

Now clearly, on your system "bootdef_dev" = "DKA0.", however since you have been messing around with the connections for the attached hard drives, it is highly possible that the boot disk no longer has either this name, or this "address". If you look at the output from "show device" it will show you the names and "addresses" of any disks that it sees.

It is highly likely that you will need to use a modified boot command, including the disk name (and maybe the boot flags). If you provide the output from "show Dev" then the forum members will likely be able to provide the appropriate boot command.

You need to provide the information, since without it the problem has no hope of being resolved, and most of our members, (even the most helpful) will lose interest and move to other more productive things.

Robert Gezelter
Honored Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error


Hoff's last comment is particularly well taken.

As has Hoff, I have encountered similar unmaintained situations in the past. When the battery powering the NVRAM finally expires, the settings are lost.

From your description, the original machine may still be ok, it may just have a dead NVRAM battery. These are widely available, as they are basically the same types of batteries that were used on man x86 systems.

I also concur with Hoff's last comment. Experienced help is a very good idea. Many of these situations are salvageable with the right knowledge, but it does not take much of a mistake to create more damage than there already is.

[Disclosure: Like Hoff, we do provide services in this technical area]

- Bob Gezelter, http://www.rlgsc.com
Virginia Benedict
Occasional Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

Since my initial post we have opted to replace the replacement Server and everything is up and running (for now). You all were a great help, to be certain!

I was, in fact, not working alone. I was the field engineer on site while I had on the bridge two remote teams of highly familiar and for what I understand highly trained specifically for this environment/Client.

First Team (of which I am a member) is the hardware team that provides me the hardware I need/order. Second team is the OS/software team.

I am required to follow their instructions without question (on this occasion).

I have a track record of recovering these systems as well as other similar environments within the expected time frame as a Field Network/Server Engineer. I have not received any training what so ever on this specific environment, unlike the support teams, I am learning it as I am troubleshooting and receiving instructions from the teams.

I have detailed notes on every step/command and have added my personal notes and thoughts.

With some remote engineers, I am able to give feedback and it all goes well. With few remote engineers I am not allowed to provide feedback and thus the issues become unmanageable.

I agree with you that the DPW boxes are badly designed and hard to support. However, I am highly adept at working in tight environments with very steady hands and a great deal of patience.

Again, Thank You for your support. I am always looking for projects to work on. So if you gentlement need talent for your teams try me, I just might be available.

My personal best,

Virginia Benedict
Technology Practitioner
Field Engineer/Tech/POS Retail & Financial
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Choose your battles and let the rest dissipate while shielding yourself from strife!
Steven Schweda
Honored Contributor

Re: "Failed to Open DKA0." Error

I always find these threads with a clear
exposition of the problem and its solution
to be the most highly satisfying.

> [...] I just might be available.