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DL380 G4 Fails to Boot with NIC Connected and PSP 8.30 installed

Fred Armantrout
Occasional Visitor

DL380 G4 Fails to Boot with NIC Connected and PSP 8.30 installed

Two similar DL380 G4 boxes running Windows 2003 server R2 SP2 with all recent OS patches and PSP 8.30 installed would not boot if either onboard Broadcom NICs are connected. Disconnect the NICs and the system will boot up OK. Connect a NIC and almost immediately the system fails with a blue screen hardware failure error message, then it reboots. If the NIC is connected when the windows server is booting the first start up splash screen appears but at or before the typical desktop appears the system restarts.

On a remote system with the same symptoms I was connected via the ILO. If the system was booting with the NIC connected the ILO connection gets corrupted and has to closed and reconnected to continue working on the server. I was able to start the remote server in safe mode but not normal boot up or previous known good setup.

I have seen this problem on two similar G4 servers both with the PSP 8.30 installed. On one I resolved it by installing a separate HP brand NIC with Intel e1000 chips. I installed a NC7170 dual port card on the server I first ran into this problem. On the remote server I was able to mount virtual media and downgrade the NIC drier to the PSP 8.25 version.

The first server was resolved with brute force and more hardware using different drivers. On the Remote server I did not have that luxury. I was able to connect an older driver CD and load CP010406.exe and downgraded the NIC driver from the 8.30 driver, 12.2.0.2 to the one included in PSP 8.25, 12.0.0.5 and the server started working OK.

Both servers were recently refreshed and redeployed with the latest system BIOS, Broadcom NIC firmware, Smart Array and ILO updates, etc. One failed on the day it was reinstalled. The second server operated about a week before the symptoms appeared and happened to be rebooted this morning after a power outage it ran OK for about 2 hours then it crashed and from that point would not get past the boot splash screen.

Has anyone else seen anything like this?