Unexplained server freezes --> rebuild help (long) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-31-2013, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I have recently migrated from WHS 2011 to Essentials 2012. There were no hardware changes; 2012 is running on exactly the same machine:
  • Gigabyte AM3 motherboard with Phenom X4 CPU
  • 2x Seagate Constellation hard drives in RAID 1 on a RocketRaid 622 controller for the O/S
  • 6x various hard drives on motherboard SATA, configured as single disk volumes
  • 7x Seagate 1GB SATA drives in RAID 5 on a 3ware/LSI 9500SE controller

It started out on WHS v1, was migrated to WHS 2011 and now to WSE 2012. Other than replacing some hard drives the hardware has stayed the same and I have had virtually no issues until now, after moving to WSE 2012 (fresh install).

This may well be a hardware problem, but since the problem started with WSE 2012 I am posting this to check if someone else has had similar problems.

The server is basically a file server and client backup machine, other than device drivers and CrashPlan there is no non-MS software running on it.

Now for the problem: at random intervals, sometimes once a day or overnight, or once every few days, the server will freeze and become completely unresponsive. Only way to recover is a hard reset.
When this happens, I find that one of the hard drives' activity light will be permanently lit. Not always the same drive and always just a single one. I have checked every single event log and there is nothing. All logs are normal up to the point I initiate the hard reset.

This server is also my domain controller so it's not a good thing when it acts up,

I can't pinpoint any specific activity as the cause either, but as it seems to have to do with a disk lockup that's probably an area to suspect. The disk which appears to be locked up when the hang occurs is, again, not the same one every time, and not always on the same controller either, so blaming a disk controller is probably not the solution.

Also thinking maybe there is a problem with the SATA backplane in the Supermicro case I am using.That would not be good.

I guess this could be a memory or other hardware problem, but if anyone has a suggestion what could be the problem, please pitch in.

Anyway I have an Asus Sabertooth mobo that I could use to rebuild the server. Together with some new RAM that would take care of any mobo or RAM issues as the cause of the freezing.

The LSI card does not support 3TB drives and it is also PCI so I am considering replacing it with something more modern. The new mobo has 2 more SATA ports so I could make do with 6 ports. Can I replace the LSI card with, say, an IBM 1015 and use Storage Spaces to replace the RAID5 functionality I will lose from the LSI controller?
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-31-2013, 10:12 AM
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Did you update the BIOS before the new install? I have WHS2011 server with a Phenom II black so made it a quad core after opening the 2 hidden cores.

The newer BIOS had issues with something called the Agesa code and quad core stability. I had issues like yours and nothing fixed until hard reset and even that wasn't always successful.

Once I rolled back the BIOS it became stable.
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post #3 of 8 Old 03-31-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Nope, same BIOS. Of course it is an old board and maybe it is giving up or it simply not supports Server 2012.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-31-2013, 11:00 AM
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Perhaps, hope you sort it out tracking down problems like that are a brutal.
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-31-2013, 04:34 PM
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I had a problem like that before and it was the soundcard driver. I uninstalled the driver and disabled the soundcard in the BIOS and the problem went away.

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post #6 of 8 Old 04-01-2013, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Well it happened again last night, seems to be getting more frequent.
When I did a hard reset the board made an automatic BIOS recovery - so apparently there was BIOS corruption. Don't know if that was caused by the hard reset or if the board really is flaky.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-01-2013, 05:08 AM
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Update your bios then run memtest86.

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post #8 of 8 Old 04-02-2013, 01:01 AM - Thread Starter
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I suspect memory too.
Unfortunately the system has no optical drive and no front USB ports so in order to boot into DOS I have to pull the machine from the rack and that means loosening all the screws. Remind me to buy some rails.

So I might as well replace the mobo and RAM while I have the case out. I also need to install some FanMates and check the fans as one of them has started whining.
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