[CentOS] how can I stress a server?

Guy Boisvert boisvert.guy at videotron.ca
Wed Nov 19 21:48:34 UTC 2008

Rudi Ahlers wrote:
> John, I know what ECC does. I have 2 Dell PE860 servers with 8GB ECC
> DDRII RAM as well, and they're both giving RAM problems. I had top
> swap-out the RAM 2 times with the suppliers already, and swapped out a
> motherboard on the one of the servers. Honestly, ECC isn't my
> favourate to use.

Wow!  Everybody doing serious business wouldn't go without it (i work 
for a couple of Banks and government agencies), but that's your choice 
and i respect that.  But if you want to talk about five 9's, then you'd 
surely go with ECC and other invaluable features like watchdog timer, 
management cards, BIOS serial redirection, chip kill, etc.

It all depend on your needs i agree but don't reject server grade 
hardware so easily!

> At the same time, I have about 8 servers with cheap Gigabyte
> motherboards and non-ECC RAM, which have been running for close to 4
> years now, without any hickups at all.

That's bad stats.  It's not because my neighbour has a problem with his 
Mercedes and that i have no problem with my 4 Hyundai that Hyundai are 
better than Mercedes!!!  Not only that, but sitting 6 adults in a mini 
Hyundai may be possible but we'll be much more confortable in the big 
Mercedes!  Know what i mean?

> It's the first time I try the Intel board, since it's supposed to be a
> step-up from the desktop boards, and has 4 memory slots as apposed to
> only 2.

... and limited by the fanout of the CPU / Chipset... As you put more 
memory, you'll have to relax timing and use proper memory brand that is 
certified for the mainboard.

> The server had the same problems when I only had 4GBM RAM (2 slots
> used & 2 slots open), so I don't think that the capacitive load is the
> problem here. Right now the server is still at the datacentre - which
> is 2 hours drive there & back with traffic, so I'm going to get it
> later today / tonight, as soon as I've moved all the data across to
> the slower gigabyte server, and then I can try the RAM timings thing
> in the BIOS.

This could be a chipset problem, bad power supply, and the list goes on.

> But, how can I put a LOT of load onto it, and see what's causing the
> problem? For all I know, the motherboard could be faulty, or the CPU,
> or maybe even the SATA bus?

Putting high load without having hardware monitoring won't tell you much 

I'd first test the power supply.  Then remove everything you can and 
test with Memtest86+ (let's say, overnight, and while you're at it watch 
the power supply under load).

Swap memory with some you know is good.  If the problem persist, you 
could possibly have a chipset problem.

Good luck.

Guy Boisvert, ing
IngTegration inc.

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