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The Revenge of the Anti-Penguin
Redline the engines, there's nothing left to lose.
First QS20 blade up and running! 
21st-Jun-2009 01:19 am
This weekend's goal was to install Yellow Dog Linux on my Cell blades (those that have drives, at least). The winning solution was found by Bartek Kochan.

QS20 blade(s) with drive and controller card.
IDE to USB widget
Yellow Dog Linux DVD

Prerequisites: experience installing Yellow Dog Linux on a PlayStation3

Pull the drive out of the QS20 blade, attach that drive to the PlayStation3 with the usb<->ide widget. Install Yellow Dog Linux. When asked which drive to use for the install, select the ide drive. Once the install of Yellow Dog Linux is complete, stick the drive back into the QS20, put the QS20 back into your chassis, and repeat for all your blades.

Part 2 ... for those of us that have QS20 blades that do NOT have drives and/or controller cards.


I suspect I'll get to learn about PXE booting.

In any case, I should have three Cell blades up and running tomorrow.

At this point I need to order another voltage regulator so I can power the second pair of power supplies. Then I should be able to get six Cell blades running, possibly seven. Though it seems one of my blades has problems, won't talk to the chassis, so I may have only six that work.

I'm also going to ignore all the warnings about QS20s not working with any other type of blade, and see if I can get an HS21 running at the same time.
22nd-Jun-2009 08:31 pm (UTC) - Way Off-topic cuz I don't understand a d*d thing u say anymore :)
The way LiveJournal orders its archive is frustrating: the months are newest to oldest, but the days of the months are oldest to newest.
BTW, I have to admit, I was poking around, and liked the entry about the old man "talking to himself"!
1st-Oct-2009 04:49 pm (UTC)
Just found this by the magic of Google. I have a dozen QS20s (and one QS21, and three CAB cell-on-PCIe cards), a few Blade accessory boards, several Infininet boards & PCI-e risers, that I bought a year ago but never got around to picking up a Bladecenter. I'd really love to dive into this and after reading your post, I just might. Especially with an eBay seller with a lot of 8677's going for $200.

Any success in getting more than one QS20 running, and communicating over gigabit ethernet? Read somewhere that for some (odd) reason, despite taking 7 QS20s, only 6 can be used... Could be wrong.
2nd-Oct-2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
Yes, I have two QS20s running, and talking to the rest of the world.
Due to my recent choice to quit my job and go back to school, I have not gotten a second voltage converter, so I haven't tried running 7 QS20s at once.
On the other hand, Bartek in London did try running a single QS20 in the cross-power-domain slots in the center of the chassis, and it worked for him.
Admittedly, he did not try it with six other QS20s running at the same time. So, according to IBM, you can only use six QS20s at once, but experimentation implies that you can actually use seven.
Of course, most people would rather be using QS22s, with actual console support, etc, but who can afford them?

I've also discovered that you CAN get HS21s running in the same chassis with QS20s, as long as you power up the chassis with no blades inserted, then insert the QS20s, and once the chassis is talking to the QS20s, you can insert HS21s and everything works.

If you have both HS21s and QS20s inserted into the chassis when it powers up, the HS21s show up fine, and the chassis claims it can't talk to the QS20s.

Anyway, I paid $650 for my 8677-3RU with server connectivity module, two power supplies, advanced management module, and two HS21s, so I was pleased.

My biggest problem has been trying to run a large piece of hardware requiring 220 volt power in my apartment. I bought a 2000 watt poweredge voltage converter, but after running it for several weeks at about 700 watts, it began to smell a bit like burning oil whenever I turn it on.
So, if you figure out a good way to hook a bladecenter to the power plugs for dryers in the US, I would be very interested!

If 220v is going to be a problem for you, I'd suggest getting a BladeCenter S instead of an E, the S runs on 110v.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask me, I obsessed about this for a month or two, so I know a bunch of random stuff.
7th-Oct-2009 05:00 am (UTC)
Awesome info, thanks! IBM's website is exceptionally vague about these details and only just recently found out about the Bladecenter S, which is probably what I'll go for. I have 220v but not to my computer room where I'd like to set this up.

Tried contacted Mercury Computer for info on the CAB boards which should plug into a PC just like any PCI-e graphics card but they outright refused to sell me the simple power-splitter connector nor even give me any pin details to make my own.
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