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HP Proliant Server no video/booting

Last Modified: 2013-12-23

Unfortunately some of question details will be rather vague for now, my apologisies;

Our HP Proliant Server (sorry no model number to hand - has 6 hdd caddys in the front, dual NICs if that helps) failed this afternoon. It has been in use for quite a few years but had no real problems with it.

We had to restart the server due to an unrelated issue (basically the ISP went down and one of our databases froze up), and since then we have had issues. There is no video output (tried 2 displays) although all the status lights on the front seem fine and all the HDDs spin up ok from what I can tell.

I don't believe the system is booting correctly (aside from the display issues), as it is not registering with the domain or allowing any kind of interaction via ethernet.

Tommorow morning I'm going to try dismantling the thing, hopefully it's just a dodgy component not seated properly somewhere but I was wondering if anyone has any advice on resetting things back to default settings or any general tips?

I have absolutely no dcoumentation or support with this issue - I'd really like to be a bit prepared before diving head first into this as I need to maximise my time on it (it's a mission critical server, really).

Thanks very much in advance,

Simon Thomas
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Hypercat (Deb)President

This is probably more dependent on the OS than on the hardware of the server.  Aside from re-seating CPU, memory, NIC cards, etc.,, the next steps in the recovery would be OS-related, i.e., re-installing the OS and/or using some sort of disaster recovery steps.  Do you have a good backup?
One thing to be aware of on the hardware side, too, is that most HP servers (if it's using the factory default setup) have a utility partition that is available on bootup. This partition contains hardware diagnostic and testing tools that you can use to help diagnose if there is a hardware problem. The partition is booted up by pressing a special key (I think it might be F10, but I can't remember for sure) during the POST process.
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After trying to fault find the issue, all the signs were pointing to a dodgy motherboard. Tried reseating components and resetting bios but still no luck. Also tried booting with less RAM and tried each CPU out individually. No change.

Fortunately we were able to get an overnight shipment of an identical server, and after transferring a CPU, cache & some of the RAM from the old machine to match the original spec we had, things are now working perfectly.

After searching extensitvely on this issue, it appears we experienced relatively common symptoms of a dead motherboard for this particular server (DL380), so I am certain we took the most effective course of action.

Thanks very much for your comments.




In an effort to revive the 'dead' server, I fully dismantled and cleaned each and every component in the system with isopropanol and removed debris with a 30psi air line.

The server now works flawlessly, so I would recommend cleaning off any crud before ditching hardware!
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