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Troubleshooting Guide for Installing iChain 2.0 Proxy Server

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip

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Posted: 12 Mar 2002

Version: iChain 2.0

For full details and updates regarding this tip, see TID-10068257.

Installing iChain 2.0's Proxy server should be a straightforward operation -- insert and boot off CD, type BLAST and agree with the license agreement! However, due to the fact that the iChain 2.0 Proxy server can now be installed on many differing hardware platforms, unlike it's 1.5 counterpart that required dedicated hardware, customers have seen an increase in problems at this phase. The goal of this document is to identify the various stages that the iChain proxy server install goes through, and point out potential problems and troubleshooting steps to overcome these problems.

  1. DOS Image Phase
    1. The process begins when the appliance boots from the CD-ROM. The appliance boots DOS off the CD and runs a program called blast.

    2. Blast will create DOS partition on the first appliance disk and copies binary-image data sector-by-sector from the CD-ROM onto the disk. The data copied includes files to be used in subsequent steps, including the master boot record, DOS partition and NetWare ncf files. This step ends by rebooting the appliance.

    There are very few problems seen at this stage. If you do see some issues after hitting blast, check to see whether, using a bootable floppy, you can access the c:\ drive. If you cannot, there's an issue with the disk or controller -- check the type of disk and controller in the system, and replace them with another one if possible.

  2. Hardware CDT Phase
    1. This step begins by rebooting the appliance off of the CD-ROM. In the previous step a special file, named RDW, was written to the disk. The presence of this file tells the system to transfer execution of DOS to the disk.

    2. NetWare server runs the startup.ncf and image.ncf command files. This phase performs hardware detection (runs hdetect.nlm) and copies any needed device drivers from the CD to the disk. Startup.ncf and response.sav are written to the disk by the hardware detection process hdetect.nlm. The image.ncf file is modified for use in the next step. The startup.ncf and response.sav files output by the hardware detection step are deleted; the original startup.ncf will be used in the next step. This step ends by invoking a restart of the server.

    There are very few problems seen at this stage -- any problems at this stage are likely to be related to problems that existed at the previous stage, or a bad CD. If you have verified all the troubleshooting steps from the previous stage, try and use a different iChain CD to install/

  3. NetWare Image Phase
    1. When the server comes up, it will run the hardware detect and load any needed drivers. Once again a modified version of startup.ncf and a new resource.sav files are written to the disk.

    2. Nwimage.nlm is then run and first creates a NetWare partition large enough to hold the SYS:, and LOG: volumes. Then the binary image of the SYS: volume is copied sector-by-sector from the CD-ROM to the disk. Any needed commands to load drivers are then added to startup.ncf (e.g. min. and max. packet receive buffers). nwimage.nlm then creates the LOG volume on the disk.

    3. oeminst.nlm is then run to copy any Customizable Directory Tree (CDT) components from the CD-ROM to the SYS: volume. The image.ncf file is modified for the next step. The detect.ncf file is deleted to avoid running hardware detection in the next step. The command is issued to restart the server for the next step.

    This is the most common area for problems. The typical symptom will be a hang on the ICS Console screen with no progress whatsoever. These problems tend to all be related to hardware and there are two major troubleshooting steps required to try and get around the problem:

    1. Disable all advanced BIOS settings at the hardware level

    2. During bootup select the option to bring you into the system BIOS e.g. press [F2] on Dell boxed

      • disable RAID as iChain servers gain nothing from RAID and was not designed to be used with it.
      • Enable a single CPU. This can be done by selecting CPU Information and making sure that, if there are 2 CPUs, you remove one.
      • Select Integrated Devices and disable all onboard NICs. This step may not be required but some systems ship with LAN cards that the iChain proxy server doesn't have the right driver for e.g. BE27.LAN cards.
      • You do not need to disable the serial ports.
      • Disable any advanced CPU caching features e.g. Turbo CPU mode
      • Perform a low level format of the disks prior to installing the iChain proxy server
      • Reboot the iChain Proxy server hardware again and reenter the BIOS settings. Make sure that all changes that were made above are registered correctly.
      • Reboot the Dell server with the iChain CD and try running the install program again.

    3. Detecting problem drivers during an iChain 2.0 install?

      • If the new install continues to give problems after disabling the advanced BIOS options above, go into the debugger and type v to toggle between screens
      • scan all active server screens at the time of the hang.
      • Verify that the system console shows that it's in the process of loading the CD drivers, hard disk drivers, LAN drivers, or trying to locate a response file. If this is the case, the problem is likely to be an issue with the default driver being loaded by the iChain install -- many of the Hard Disk or LAN controllers detected have more than one driver associated with it. The install will stop at this point waiting for the user to select the driver. However, since iChain locks the server screens during the install, the selection cannot be made and you cannot continue the install.
      • If there is an active screen waiting for user input, note down the drivers it lists.
      • Locate the correct driver for the peripheral being loaded and restart the installation using the steps shown in the ?How to update drivers' section below.

    4. How to update drivers during an iChain 2.0 install?

      The steps below outline updating the IDE and SCUZZI drivers. The CDROM will be the most common failure on an install. Before attempting the driver update try changing the CDROM to a different manufacturer, or try using an external SCUZZI CDROM

      1. Install the proxy via the CD.
      2. After the initial reboot (the first portion of the installation will create the DOS partition and copy the drivers and startup files to C:\NWSERVER), hit F5 or F8 as DOS boots ('F5 prevents the startup files as well as; F8 allows a line by line prompt through the startup files)
      3. Load
      4. First try copying ONLY IDEATA.HAM and IDECD.CDM to both D:\NWSERVER and D:\NWSERVER\DRIVERS for safe measure. (C: will be the CD.)
      5. Reboot the system and let the installation go as planned.

        If the installation continues to fail after this, the failure will probably be while creating the volume LOG on the system. Go into the debugger when it hangs and use the v debugger to switch to the system console. Check whether or not we are going through the volume creation step ? you should see a message on the system console indicating that the volume is being created.

        If it does fail/hang, then start the installation over as described in the troubleshooting ?Hardware CDT Phase' section above by copying updated SCSI and IDE adapter and Hard Disk drivers e.g. ADPT160M.HAM and IDEATA.HAM as well as SCSIHD.CDM and IDECD.CDM on a Dell system, to the D:\NWSERVER and D:\NWSERVER\DRIVERS respectively.

  4. Netware/COS Partitioning Phase
    1. The server comes up and runs image.ncf which will run autovol.nlm to mirror the NetWare partitions on disk to a secondary disk.
    2. The DOS partition is cloned and a snapshot of the contents of the SYS: volume are copied to the mirror disk. The LOG: volume is not copied.
    3. To finish preparing the disk the COS partitions are created on all disks. A hard reboot of the appliance is invoked..

    NOTE: For the case where only one disk is present on the system, no cloning/mirroring is done. In this case we move immediately to the Completion Phase without rebooting or restarting the appliance.

  5. Completion Phase
    1. The appliance reboots from the CD-ROM and because the RDW file is present transfers execution of the O/S to the hard drive. From the hard drive the appliance is brought all the way up into an operational state.
    2. As the appliance comes up it will run autovol which will run avload.ncf. This will cause the response.sav file containing the output from hardware detection to be parsed looking for LAN cards. It will modify the appliance configuration using inetcfg.nlm API's to add the LAN hardware to the appliance configuration. It is recommended that the appliance be shutdown, the CD removed and the appliance restarted so it will be running completely from the hard drive.

    Make sure that the LAN drivers loaded via NETINFO.CFG correspond to the drivers that you expect. There are many LAN cards out there with the Intel N100 chipset, each of which can run multiple LAN drivers. Some drivers provide better performance than other drivers eg. the old CE100B.LAN driver may get enabled instead of the N100.LAN card that should have been enabled and an increase in HTTP 504 errors could occur under heavy load.

For full details and updates regarding this tip, see TID-10068257.

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