Advertisement

Compaq Servers - 101

It appears that more and more people are becoming administrators Compaq Servers and don't have all the tools and knowledge of the hardware or how to care for it. This document is created to address just that need. This is part of a 3 part series: Compaq 101 (firmware upgrades, OS installation), NVRAM (how to get rid of nvram corruption), and SCU_ISA (What to do with ISA boards in the SCU and why). The last document, SCU_ISA, hasn't been written yet, but I believe it is needed, so I hope to have it written soon.

How Compaq Server Hardware Works

Firmware:

Compaq Servers have ROM's that are flash upgradable. This means that you can make sure that your hardware is up to date with the latest code. Items that can be flashed are the Hard Drives, the Array Controller, the Tape Drive, and the System Board. Each of these firmware upgrades can be located at http://www.compaq.com/support/files/server.

Hard Drive ROM's:

The hard drive ROM upgrades can be found in the Options Rompaq (If the current Options Rompaq only has diskette #1, you sometimes have to go to the prior version to get the hard drive ROM's.) and is usually on disks 2-5.

Array Controller ROM's:

The Array controller ROM is located on the Options Rompaq and is diskette #1.

Original Smart Array Controller ROM's:

For the Original Smart Controller, you would need to get the older softpaq: SP8050 which is downloadable from Compaq's ftp site at ftp://ftp.compaq.com/pub/softpaq. This is currently the last version of the original Smart Array Controller firmware which is v2.26.

System Board ROM:

You may need to find out which ROM you have before you upgrade it. There is currently little danger of using the wrong ROM upgrade, but it helps to use the right one on the first try. The different ROM for different systems is usually based on the CPU speed of the system. Boot your system to see your ROM version flash on the screen - you are looking for something like "P08 12/30/98" or something like that - it will be one of the first things that pop on the screen after the "Compaq ProLiant."

Tape Drive ROM:

Tape drive ROM's are available in certain Options Rompaq's from http://www.compaq.com/support/files/server. The site should tell you whether the current Options Rompaq has ROM's for tape drives, or point you to the correct SP.

How to use a ROM upgrade:

3 simple rules to using a ROM upgrade.

  1. Don't write protect the diskette
  2. Don't alter the info on the diskette in any way
  3. Cold boot the server (not a warm boot)

How do you create diskettes from Compaq:

There are, in general, two kinds of SoftPaq's from Compaq (In reality, there are more; however, I will only discuss the 2 most popular).

Method #1:

Some SoftPaq's that you download and run will directly prompt for diskettes in the A: drive. Go ahead and feed it diskettes.

Method #2:

Some SoftPaq's that you download and run will first ask to go to the hard drive. Never force the program to send its output to the floppy when it is requesting to be extracted to the hard drive. You can; however, usually direct the extraction to go into a blank temporary directory, which may make life a little easier. Please don't force the program to put the info onto the floppy, you won't be satisfied with the results (it either won't all fit onto the floppy directly, or won't be in a usable form to you). After it extracts to the hard drive, then run the extracted program (usually QRST5.EXE). This program will then prompt for diskettes, go ahead and give it diskettes.

Most SoftPaq's must be run from a Windows or Dos machine. Some SoftPaq's, like Compaq Server Diagnostics, must not be created from Windows NT as the diskette created won't boot properly.

How to use the Compaq ftp site to get the Server SP files you need:

The starting point is http://www.compaq.com/support/files/server. From here you can get current versions. If you need to go backwards, you may be able to find the prior version here as well. If you need a detailed readme on a particular SP#, then go directly to the ftp site (ftp://ftp.compaq.com/pub/softpaq) then go to the directory containing the SP you need (each directory holds 500 entries and are labeled, please go to the correct directory.). Next to each SP file, you will also see a .txt file which holds the detailed readme. If you have trouble finding a particular SP# on the ftp site, you could try bringing up the directory that contains the file, use your browsers "find in page" feature, and have the browser find the file on the page. Sometimes the SP's are not in numerical order on the ftp site. If you need more power, then you may need to make use of the "allfiles.txt" file located in ftp://ftp.compaq.com/pub/softpaq. This holds a detailed account of SP's available on the ftp site.

How to find an older softpaq:

Method #1:

Go to http://www.compaq.com/support/files/server, key in your server info, see if it references the older version, if not, then use method #2.

Method #2:

Download the file called allfiles.txt from Compaq's ftp site at ftp://ftp.compaq.com/pub/softpaq. Search this file using wordpad. The best results usually come from looking for SP numbers.

Configuring you Compaq Server:

After you have flashed the firmware on the flashable components such as Hard Drives, Array Controllers, System Boards, and Tape Drives, you will need a way to configure your server.

If you have a recent SmartStart, this would be great. If your OS and OS version is listed in the SmartStart Assisted Install, then that is usually the best route. Off the shelf versions of various OS's will work with SmartStart as long as the version matches. If your OS version or OS is not listed in the SmartStart Assisted Install, then you should use the SmartStart Manual Install. If you don't have a recent SmartStart CD, then you will have to do everything manually.

What happens during SmartStart Assisted Installation:

  • Upgrade the firmware of the Hard Drives, Array Controllers, System Boards, Tape Drives. This can sometimes be run from the SmartStart CD. The preferred method is from floppy so that a backup of the current ROM can be made. The latest versions are usually on the web site and not on the SmartStart CD.
  • Note: During the SmartStart Assisted Installation you will need 3 or 4 items: SmartStart CD, Supported OS installation media (off the shelf version usually works), SPD diskette (Server Profile Diskette - SP6036.EXE), Compaq Insight Manager CD (only needed if you will be installing Insight Manager, this usually can be deselected if you don't want to install it).
  • Note: The CD-ROM should be either cabled as "cable select" and be placed on the "Drive 0" connector (middle connector), or be configured as "Master" for proper OS installation on certain platforms.
  • Note: If installing to a SCSI hard drive, some platforms require that the boot drive be SCSI ID 0. Any other setting could cause problems during installation.
  • Note: If installing to a Compaq array controller, then the first logical drive on the array controller is where the system will first boot.
  • Note: Make sure the controller is set to first on the controller which contains the hard drive(s) you wish to install to.
  • System Erase (DATA DESTRUCTIVE)
  • Choose your supported operating system to be installed. If it's not on the list, then you will need to do the SmartStart Manual Install.
  • Configure system using SCU - Manually configure your original Compaq Smart Array Controller at this time if you have one.
  • Run ACU to configure the array if Smart-2 or later array controller is present.
  • Create the System Partition
  • Copy SCU to the System Partition (This gives the server the F10 functionality)
  • Questions about OS to be installed (At some point, SmartStart asks you all the necessary questions to install the OS. I don't remember exactly when it asks).
  • SmartStart will install the OS, you will have to change out the various CD's during the install (usually at the beginning and the end).
  • Note: During this process, the system will reboot several times. Unless prompted to do so (read carefully before touching the keyboard or mouse), do not remove any installation media (especially the SPD diskette). The system will account for the SPD diskette in the A: drive and will boot around that. Do not "help" the system out by removing media without being prompted, this could cause you delays and frustration.
  • At the end of the installation, SmartStart will prompt you to create any support software diskettes you may need for your OS. This is called the "Disk Builder" and can be accessed from either booting to this CD or inserting this CD into a Windows box and either waiting for the autorun feature (usually within 10 seconds) or by running or installing Disk Builder from the CD into Windows. Since you performed the SmartStart Assisted Install, then you usually don't need to create software at this time.
  • Note: If installing NT, after the install is complete, usually you will be prompted to reboot several times after software packages are installed. After rebooting, please keep logging into the Administrator account each time so that more software packages can be installed. Once all packages have been installed, then you are free to move about the system. Caring for NT on a Compaq server usually requires adding the current SP from MS and applying the Compaq NTSSD before the reboot. When upgrading to a multiprocessor kernel, this usually requires extracting the currently installed Service Pack into a temporary directory, running the NTSSD, choosing to upgrade to multiprocessor HAL, then when prompted for files, point to the extracted Service Pack files rather than the original NT CD. If you accidentally give the system the NT CD, then I would suggest reapplying the Service Pack, then reapplying the NTSSD before rebooting.
  • Note: If installing SCO 5, please read up on applying SCO patches after the system is installed. In short, the system has a particular order that must be maintained (SCO5, SCO Patches, Compaq EFS, and Compaq Insight Agents). You must go to Single User Mode, write down your network settings, remove Compaq NIC's in the netconfig program, then go to custom, remove the Compaq Insight Agents, then remove the Compaq EFS, do not reboot until the EFS is added back in, add SCO patches in the order declared by SCO (see www.sco.com/support/toolbox, minimum patch listings for SCO5), add the Compaq EFS (which also prompts to configure the NIC), then add the Compaq Insight Agents if desired. Order is very important on the SCO box and instability or unreliable service can result if patches are not taken care of in the correct order in single user maintenance mode. This order must be maintained in the future as well. The Compaq EFS must never be added or removed in multi-user mode.
  • Note: After installing SCO or UnixWare, you will note that when you boot to the SmartStart CD, that you don't get the Main Menu, but rather, you get the Unix Installation Kernel which boots from the CD-ROM (look closely and you'll see that it is not the full Unix system but an install kernel.). To get around this issue, you will need to follow the directions to clear nvram through advanced mode of SCU (available at http://www.cpqlinux.com, nvram document).

What happens during a SmartStart Manual Installation:

  • Upgrade the firmware of the Hard Drives, Array Controllers, System Boards, Tape Drives. This can sometimes be run from the SmartStart CD. The preferred method is from floppy so that a backup of the current ROM can be made. The latest versions are usually on the web site and not on the SmartStart CD.
  • Note: During the SmartStart Manual Installation you will need the following: SmartStart CD, OS installation media (any installation media will work). The Compaq Insight Manager CD will only be used after the install if you wish to install it and your OS supports it.
  • Note: The CD-ROM should be either cabled as "cable select" and be placed on the "Drive 0" connector (middle connector), or be configured as "Master" for proper OS installation on certain platforms.
  • Note: If installing to a SCSI hard drive, some platforms require that the boot drive be SCSI ID 0. Any other setting could cause problems during installation.
  • Note: If installing to a Compaq array controller, then the first logical drive on the array controller is where the system will first boot.
  • Note: Make sure the controller is set to first on the controller which contains the hard drive(s) you wish to install to.
  • System Erase (DATA DESTRUCTIVE)
  • Choose your operating system to be installed (or choose something close to it). For Linux, the current choice is UnixWare 7 unless Linux shows as a choice.
  • Configure system using SCU - Manually configure your original Compaq Smart Array Controller at this time if you have one.
  • Run ACU to configure the array if Smart-2 or later array controller is present.
  • Create the System Partition
  • Copy SCU to the System Partition (This gives the server the F10 functionality)
  • The SmartStart Manual Installation Path will not ask you questions about your OS to be installed because you will be doing that part of the installation "manually."
  • The SmartStart will prompt you to create any support software diskettes you will need. This is called the "Disk Builder" and can be accessed from either booting to this CD or inserting this CD into a Windows box and either waiting for the autorun feature (usually within 10 seconds) or by running or installing Disk Builder from the CD into Windows. If there is no software listed for your OS, then obviously you don't need any, if it is listed, then you probably need it during installation.
  • After the Disk Builder screen (also called "Create Support Software"), then the SmartStart Manual Installation will exit nicely, prompting you to remove all diskettes and CD's, then insert your installation media and press <enter> to reboot.
  • Install your OS.

Configuring a Compaq Server without a SmartStart CD / configuring manually:

Here is basically what has to happen:

  • Upgrade the firmware of the Hard Drives, Array Controllers, System Boards, Tape Drives.
  • System Erase (DATA DESTRUCTIVE), if you can get any version of the SmartStart CD, then you can find this utility. I would strongly recommend starting off with this step as it will bring you back to factory default. Do not perform this step if you have live data or data you need on your system - instead please immediately back up any data you need before continuing any of these steps.
  • Note: if you don't have the utility to perform a system erase, then I would at least clear nvram through advanced mode of SCU. You can find instructions to do this at http://www.cpqlinux.com, nvram.
  • Configure the system using the latest version of SCU. Do NOT use a version of SCU that is older than any device or ROM on your system. You will have problems if SCU is not the latest item on your Compaq server.
  • If you have an original Compaq Smart Array Controller, then configure it through the SCU.
  • If you have a Smart-2 controller, then there are currently only 3 ways to configure it: Method #1: Run the latest SmartStart CD to configure the array. Method #2: Install NT 4.0 to the embedded SCSI drive, apply the Service Packs required by NTSSD and ACU, install the Compaq NTSSD, install the Compaq ACU into NT, run ACU from within NT, configure the array. (After you are done, then you could either keep the dual boot of NT or wipe the disks which have NT). Method #3: Are you really sure you don't have any copies of the SmartStart CD? You do know that one CD works on the whole line of Compaq Servers, right? OK, if you must, then take the hard drives to another Compaq Server running Windows NT, correct SP, NTSSD, ACU, needs to have the same controller, with the same firmware (otherwise bring the controller over to the NT Server as well), and has the same SCSI ID configuration for the hard drives. Configure the array from that server, then put the hard drives (keeping the SCSI ID's the same) and the array in the original server.
  • Note: If you have a Smart-2 controller with a certain firmware version (Any version prior to the 3.0x series [2.02 or higher are good versions]), then you can use the older ACU program from diskette, available in SP6262 (Use the 1.x versions, don't use the 2.x versions of the ACU). If you have firmware of 3.0x or later, then you must use either the NT version or the version on the SmartStart CD.
  • Run SCU to create the System Partition
  • Install SCU and Compaq Server Diagnostics to the System Partition. I don't currently see a need in putting any of the other utilities into the System Partition (ACU, ADU, Options Rompaq, System Rompaq, etc.) - they are not useful enough from the System Partition to use the time it takes to put them in there. (ACU and ADU don't work from there anymore, and for the Rompaq's, how many times will you "reflash" your ROM's? (answer: doesn't happen)).
  • Go through the usual checks: CD-ROM set for Cable Select and on cable connector "Drive 0" or CD-ROM set for "Master." SCSI Hard Drives starting at SCSI ID=0? Controller order set to first on the controller I wish to install to?
  • Optional: Get any parameters from SCU you need, maybe save to diskette and print out an inspect report.
  • Install your OS.

 

Changes:

03-23-2000 Updated title from Compaq 101 to Compaq Servers - 101.

02-10-2000 Document created as "compaq101" and released on http://www.cpqlinux.com. Created by Richard Black.