A day with an Apple Xserve

Yesterday I and another person went to the server room to do the basic configuration of the Apple Xserve we have bought, along with its Xserve RAID unit. Despite the general “idea” that anything Apple does is user-friendly, our experience was plagued by problems. First of all, I don’t understand why even with two fiber channel cables, the RAID must be configured via Ethernet. I can understand when you have multiple RAID units and you want to manage them remotely, but I still don’t see why the fiber channel is not used for this purpose. After fiddling a bit with the network addresses (the two cards default to DHCP, and we don’t have DHCP on this network) we were able to access the machine.

I must say that I find absurd that Apple does not provide paper manuals for their RAID systems. With a price over € 10,000, it’s the minimum expected. In any case, at a certain point the RAID controller 2 locked up.

It didn’t even respond to reset requests, its network interface was inert and not even power cycling would resolve the issue. The RAID Admin utility would simply refuse to acknowledge the existence of the controller. Afeter looking around online (the Xserve manual tells you that there is indeed a reset button for the controller, but does not telly the procedure) we tried to reset it, but again, nothing happened.

In a last effort of desperation we unplugged the controller and plugged it back in. Magically, it started working. In the end, we lost one afternoon and we didn’t even create any array…

Dialogue & Discussion