Monday, 7 September 2009

Sucessful Server Upgrade

We've just successively upgraded our server for Feed Distiller. We moved from twin dual core Opterons to twin quad core, the latest 45nm (Codenamed: Shanghai) ones with 8MB of on chip cache. We also added another backup harddrive. The server was offline for just over 30minutes, although it took a bit longer to get tomcat (the JSP server used for every web page, except the front one). We our very happy for AMD providing such a smooth upgrade path for it server chips, keeping the same socket for multiple generation of processors. If we keep growing we can upgrade again to six core (Codenamed: Istanbul) Opterons latest.

For the technical among you, here is what you have to do for a smooth upgrade an Opteron server.


  • Arrange site access to your server if its at a COLO facility
  • Go to the motherboard manufacturer website, and check processor compatibility
  • Download the latest BIOS for motherboard
  • Create a boot CD with BIOS and FLASH program on it. We recommend using FreeDOS for the Boot disk.


  • insert flash boot disk
  • Shutdown the system
  • Put a "head", monitor/keyboard on the server
  • Boot from CD andFlash the BIOS from DOS
  • Switch off again
  • Open up the Box, (a sexy looking all black U2 with 8 slide in HD bays in our case)
  • Unclip the heat sinks and remove
  • lift the handle on the socket, and replace the Operton, careful no touching pins
  • again for the second opteron
  • Apply a good coating of thermal transfer compound
  • Clip the heat sinks back on again
  • Clear with CMOS (the on board setting for the BIOS), by powering with a jumper setting
  • check fan are running, and the Boot LED cycles correctly
  • Close up the box
  • Power Back up the System

Our Linux gave us lots of warnings on the first boot with the new chips, but settled right down on the next boot. On the first boot it hard to correct its setting for the new chip, but worked AOK on the second boot.

Wish us luck with the new server so that we can make a lot more new Topic Feeds for you all.

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