Aug 282016

KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR logoHere is how a responsible system administrator should handle downtimes and replacements of faulty hardware: Give advance notice to all users and make sure to give everybody enough time to prepare for services going offline, if possible. Specify a precise time window which is as convenient as possible for most users. Also, explain the exact technical reasons in words as simple as possible.

How I handled the replacement of XINs’ system hard disk? See that nice blue logo on the top left side? KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR, bugcheck code 0x0000007a. And [it isn’t the first of its kind either], last one was a KERNEL_STACK_INPAGE_ERROR, clearly disk related given that the disk had logged controller errors as well as unrecoverable dead sectors. And NO, that one wasn’t the first one too. :roll: So yeah, I rebooted the [monster], and decided that it’s too much of a pain in the ass to fix it and hoped (=told myself while in denial) that it would just live on happily ever after! Clearly in ignorance of the obvious problem, just so I could walk over to my workstation and continue to watch some Anime and have a few cold ones in peace…

So, my apologies for being lazy in a slightly dangerous way this time. Well, it’s not like there aren’t any system backups or anything, but still. In the end, it caused an unannounced and unplanned downtime 3½ hours long. This still shouldn’t hurt XINs’ >=99% yearly availability, but it clearly wasn’t the right way to deal with it either…

Well, it’s fixed now, because this time I got a bit nervous and pissed off as well. Thanks to [Umlüx], the XIN server is now running a factory-new HP/Compaq 15000rpm 68p LVD/SE SCSI drive, essentially a Seagate Cheetah 15k.3. As I am writing this the drive has only 2.9h of power on time accumulated. Pretty nice to find such pristine hardware!

Thanks do however also fly out to [Grindhavoc]German flag and [lommodore]German flag from [Voodooalert]German flag, who also kindly provided a few drives, of which some were quite usable. They’re in store now, for when the current HP drive starts behaving badly.

Now, let’s hope it was just the disk and no Controller / cabling problem on top of that, but it looks like this should be it for now. One less thing to worry about as well. ;)

Sep 172012

ReactOS LogoIn my ever-ongoing quest to port my x264 benchmark to every possibly thinkable platform, I gave ReactOS a shot, in both VirtualBox and VMware Player. The idea of this operating system is actually pretty nice, reminds me of what Linux did. Essentially Linux was aiming at building a UNIX system, totally free and open, but using the same standards and APIs. Now ReactOS is striving to be the same for Windows, mostly 2000/XP/2003. So you should be able to run this open source operating system and be able to run regular Win32 binary code on it. Which…  kind of works. To some extent.

Main problem though is stability. So I got system freezes and bluescreens just copying data over the network using the FTP protocol. Needless to say the same thing happened when copying data from a CD ISO image to C:\. Some memory allocation BSODs, according to the backtrace I tried. In the end I copied my video data offline using a Knoppix CD, and then tried to run what I intended to run in the first place, although – you may have guessed it – a few minutes into my benchmark it was BSOD time once again:

x264 benchmark running on ReactOS

Really a shame. ReactOS – now at version 0.3.14 – has been in active development for 14 (in words: FOURTEEN) years, and this is what they came up with? Not only is it horribly unstable, it’s also horribly incompatible to a wide range of Win32 applications that work perfectly fine in Windows XP and Windows 2000, heck, even on Wine! Now, Wine is another component of ReactOS for the handling of userspace applications, but in this specific form it does not work very well. Almost worse than what the kernel does. It seems that ReactOS development just can’t quite take off, like Linux did.

This is actually the real shame here, because a free, open source replacement for Windows – even if it’s just NT5.x – would be amazingly great, given that even parts of DirectX have already been ported to “ReactX”. Despite its age however, it’s just far too deep in alpha stage to be of any use it seems. :(