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Dell PE R410 Boot Times

Posted on 2011-09-16
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
Greetings, we have a Dell PE R410 at our ISP that is fully managed and we do not have physical access to.  The boot time on these servers is very long, 5 minutes+.  Is there a knowledgeable DELL person that can give us a step by step process to optimize the server boot time.  Here are some details:

- We suspect there are some BIOS settings that can be optimized
- These servers are booting from the HD... they do not need network (PXE) booting, CD etc
- We believe only mandatory POST tests are needed, memory check etc
- The units are running RAID 10
- Running Windows 2008 Enterprise

We are hoping someone familar with the BIOS can help us articulate what we need to the IT people at the ISP.


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Question by:suprdupr
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by:Mike
ID: 36549837
Server boot times can be lengthy, 5 min is not unreasonable. Also, why is your server being shut down? It's not a common practice to shut down servers nightly.
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PowerEdgeTech earned 250 total points
ID: 36550509
Sure, there are some things you can disable/remove to improve the POST time, but there are some things that just can't be changed.  For example ...

You can:
Turn of PXE on the NIC's (BIOS F2, Integrated Devices, Set NIC's to Enabled, Disable any unused NIC's).
Remove/disable anything from the boot sequence but the hard drive - or set the HD/RAID controller to the top of the list.
Set System Memory Testing to Disabled - this will only help on a "cold" startup.
Remove the iDRAC card.

Other than this, there isn't much you can do to change what happens during POST (you can't disable/change BMC options, spinup rate of drives, processor and BIOS config, etc.

Keep in mind that these are hardware settings that will/can only improve POST times.  Once the POST screens (up to the BMC 5-second prompt) are over, any delays in boot times are going to be centered around the configuration of Server 2008.  

For reference ... my R510 just completed POST in 1:20 (20 seconds for memory config, 10 for the BIOS/memory init screen, 2 for processor, 8 for NIC (set to PXE), 30 for PERC init (S300), and 5 for BMC.  That could be trimmed a bit, but it is not excessive.  The OS, on the other hand (Server 2008, running as BDC and print server) took 2:30 to boot (4 minutes total, but only 1:20 was hardware-related).

Hope this helps.
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by:charlestasse
ID: 36550511
Can you time the entire boot process and tell me how long it takes for each step. From this I will be able to determine if there is any abnormal delays.
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by:suprdupr
ID: 36550965
Thanks PowerEdgeTech this helped.  charlestasse we are unable to get much more boot info as remote users, but thanks for helping.
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