Updating kernel version on IBM x345

Posted on 2011-10-13
Last Modified: 2013-03-05
Hi all!

I have an IBM eserver xSeries 345, 8670-11X with RHEL 3. Specifications as followed:
[root@xxx ~]# uname -a
Linux x.y.z 2.4.21-9.0.3.ELsmp #1 SMP Tue Apr 20 19:49:13 EDT 2004 i686 i686 i386 GNU/Linux
[root@xxx ~]# cat /etc/redhat-release
Red Hat Enterprise Linux ES release 3 (Taroon Update 1)

I have yum installed and I have enabled the following CentOS repos to get updates:
name=CentOS-$releasever - Base

name=Red Hat Linux $releasever - Updates

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I see that my kernel version is quite old and I find that if I do 'yum update kernel*' I get:
Gathering header information file(s) from server(s)
Server: CentOS-3ES - Base
Server: Red Hat Linux 3ES - Updates
Finding updated packages
Downloading needed headers
Resolving dependencies
Dependencies resolved
I will do the following:
[install: kernel-smp 2.4.21-20.0.1.EL.i686]
[install: kernel 2.4.21-20.0.1.EL.i686]
[install: kernel-source 2.4.21-20.0.1.EL.i386]
[update: kernel-utils 1:2.4-8.37.6.i386]
Is this ok [y/N]: N
Exiting on user command.

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This is my /etc/modules.conf:
alias parport_lowlevel parport_pc
alias scsi_hostadapter ips
alias eth0 e1000
alias usb-controller usb-ohci
alias eth1 e1000

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Output of 'lsmod' command:
Module                  Size  Used by    Tainted: P  
sg                     37228   0  (autoclean)
st                     31428   0  (autoclean) (unused)
ide-cd                 34016   0  (autoclean)
cdrom                  32576   0  (autoclean) [ide-cd]
smbfs                  44784   0  (autoclean)
cisco_ipsec           550768   1 
autofs                 13620   0  (autoclean) (unused)
e1000                  74912   2 
keybdev                 2976   0  (unused)
mousedev                5624   0  (unused)
hid                    22276   0  (unused)
input                   6144   0  [keybdev mousedev hid]
usb-ohci               23176   0  (unused)
usbcore                80928   1  [hid usb-ohci]
ext3                   89960   6 
jbd                    55060   6  [ext3]
ips                    43132   7 
sd_mod                 13456  14 
scsi_mod              111784   4  [sg st ips sd_mod]

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I cannot see any special built modules for the current kernel in this list, I think all of them are generic ones. Does anyone have another opinon on this?

Do you think this upgrade will complete OK? Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject?
Question by:ringit
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Hello ringit,

    I see that your kernel is really old (2.4). This is not supported anymore as far as I know. Linux 2.6 kernel is out for long time now and 2.6.39 is really stable and it has a lot of drivers for new hardware.

    I suggest you update to 2.6.39. I hope I helped a bit.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    by:Christopher Raymond Mendoza
    Hello ringit,

    We have a few IBM servers here, and one is an x346. Through the years, we have not had any problems when upgrading the kernel.

    I see you are still using RHEL3. Why not upgrade the whole distro?

    Author Comment

    Thank you for your answer, icenick.

    I absolutely agree with you, but as this server is carrying business-critical services I have to be careful. I'm not so familiar with Linux kernels and I know little about the risks associated with going from 2.4 to 2.6. But if the risk is not too big what would be the correct way to proceed with this upgrade you think?
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    Since the server is carrying business-critical services, I would say first to backup all the critical stuff.

    If the server has databases running, I would say to backup all the databases. I would also backup the whole "www" dir if you have apache or the CATALINA_HOME for tomcat.

    I would backup all the "/etc/" directory and all the applications that is installed and needs to be migrated.

    Write down all the applications that need to be migrated so you can back them up. After that, you try to upgrade from 2.4 to 2.6. If anything goes wrong, you just install a new copy of linux (2.6) and you restore the applications from the backup.

    There will be down time and you should do this during the weekend if possible or at night.

    Good Luck!

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