Friday, August 15, 2008

OpenSolaris and the HP ML-115

The HP ML-115 is a very low cost server, that is ideal for trying out VMware ESX:
"Using the HP ML115 as a Test Server"
"Building a Low Cost (Cheap) VMware ESX Test Server"

So maybe the ML-115 would also be suitable for OpenSolaris.
So I tried it out, but there are some driver issues.
The good news is that these should be fixed very soon.

Problem #1 -If you try to boot the Open Solaris 2008.05 live CD, it fails, with error "Console login service(s) cannot run". See this thread.

The problem is that the ML-115's DVD drive is connected to a SATA port on the nVidia MCP55 chipset, and the nv_sata driver has only support for disk drives and not CD/DVD drives. But now Bug 6595488 is fixed, if you use build 95.

Ok, so with build 95, you should be able to boot from the DVD drive and install OpenSolaris. I tried this with "Solaris Express Community Edition" and was successful. You should then see something like this:

# cfgadm -a | grep sata | grep configured
sata0/0::dsk/c0t0d0 disk connected configured ok
sata1/0::dsk/c4t0d0 disk connected configured ok
sata2/0::dsk/c1t0d0 cd/dvd connected configured ok
# rmformat -l
Looking for devices...
1. Logical Node: /dev/rdsk/c1t0d0p0
Physical Node: /pci@0,0/pci103c,1714@5,2/cdrom@0,0
Connected Device: HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GH15L FA01
Device Type: DVD Reader/Writer
Size: 2.9 GB
# cdrw -l
Looking for CD devices...
Node Connected Device Device type
cdrom0 | HL-DT-ST DVD-RAM GH15L FA01 | CD Reader/Writer
# modinfo | grep nv_sata
45 fffffffff7883000 6458 207 1 nv_sata (Nvidia ck804/mcp55 HBA v1.7)

Problem #2 - X will not run to give a graphical interface. If you check the Xerrors file, you will see:

(EE) MGA(0): Given color and fb depth combination not supported by this driver
(EE) Screen(s) found, but none have a usable configuration.

The graphics chipset on ML-115 is identified as "MGA G200e [Pilot] ServerEngines"
aka "mgag200 SE A PCI" aka "vendor 0x102b device 0x0522" and uses the MGA driver, in file "". The version of the MGA driver supplier with OpenSolaris is version 1.4.6

I tried booting a Linux LiveCD, GRML v1.1, which uses
version 1.4.7 of the MGA driver and this worked without problem on the ML-115.

The OpenSolaris MGA driver has recently been updated. See Bug 6735095 and that fix should be available in build 97. Let's hope that fixes the X problem.

Problem #3 - No network card detected. The ML-115 network card is identified as
"Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5722 Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express" aka "vendor 0x14e4 device 0x165a". The fix for this should be available in build 96 - see Bug 6726056.

Updated ISO for OpenSolaris to build 95 are available now. For an update to build 97, I guess that means a wait of a further 4 weeks.

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