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Drives from one Poweredge 2850 to another 2850

Posted on 2010-11-15
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We have a Dell Poweredge 2850 that is used as a File and Print Server. Over the weekend the server when down and when trying to bring it back up we get the following error:

Memory/battery problems were detected. The adapter has recovered, but cached data was lost.

After running some tests, it appears that Bank 1 Dimm A is bad:
Error Code 2900:0221
BIOS:: Memory sensor (ECC Corr Err)

Tried swapping out the Memory and still get the same thing so it appears that the slot on the motherboard is bad. Since it's on A, it's required to be used so I would have to replace the motherboard and this server is now out of warranty.

My real question is, I have another 2850 that I'm currently virtualizing to VMware ESX4. Would it be possible to remove the drives from that one, enter the drives from the bad server, and it somehow boot up on the good 2850 as the same server it was? I've never attempted this and don't want to end up losing all the data on the discs.

Thanks for any help on this.
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Question by:KristenHoward
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Joseph Daly earned 250 total points
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I have done this in the past and it should work for you. Are the severs roughly the same age with same RAID controller?
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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The memory/battery problems message has nothing to do with your system memory.  You may also have a bad stick or slot of system memory, but the message is talking about your RAID memory.  It is found on the riser card (rear, left side of chassis.  If your LCD screen is blue (not amber and scrolling a message about battery voltage), then you most likely need to replace your RAID memory.  Usually you can take drives from one 2850 to another with no problems, but there is a chance of something going wrong if all firmware between the two servers is not the same level.  Another way you can get your first 2850 going is to take the RAID memory from the second machine and put it in the first.  If that is indeed the problem, then it should come up ok.

Note:  Memory/battery problems is normal to see if the RAID battery and/or memory has been disconnected/reseated or if the system has been unplugged for some amount of time.  Usually when it is the memory, you are unable to use the OS properly - if it boots at all.
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by:KristenHoward
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What about the errors I get when running the System Diagnostic tests that state that on Dimm 1 Slot A:

Error Code 2900:0221
BIOS:: Memory sensor (ECC Corr Err)

I assumed since it specifically listed Dimm1 Slot A that something was wrong with the memory in that slot. When swapping the memory, nothing changed so I figured it was the slot on the board.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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Like I said ... sounds like you ALSO have bad system memory or slot, but it has nothing to do with the message you are getting about memory/battery.

When you run the diags, it checks the hardware log for errors.  If there were any previous errors, it will automatically fail the diagnostics.  You need to clear the memory errors from the logs AFTER swapping the DIMM's and BEFORE running the diagnostics again, as the previous error will fail it.  Since you cannot boot to the OS (assuming), you would need to clear the log through your DRAC (if you have one) or by booting to OMSA Live! to clear it.  There is another utility you can use and a command you can run from the 32-bit diagnostics CD itself that can clear the entries and give you a clean test of the swapped DIMM's.

However, ECC SBE's are not critical and are correctable, so I would address the major problem first ... your RAID controller memory/battery.
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by:PowerEdgeTech
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Sorry ... about the "other utility" and the "command" to clear the logs ... I can't remember off-hand what they are and haven't found them yet, or I would have posted them.  
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by:KristenHoward
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Forgot to follow up on this, swapping out the RAID Controller memory did the trick and saved a ton of headaches. Thanks for the help!
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