Dell C6100 XS23-TY3 2U 4-Node (8 CPU) Cloud Server

geeker342

New Member
Jul 17, 2013
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I wanted to follow up on my non-ECC RAM question I posted earlier. I am happy to report that so far my "desktop" RAM is working. I have been able to install ESXi on one of my nodes with no issue after I appeased the DIMM slot gods by installing like the manual mandates. I'll try to add back to the forum where I can now that I have one of these beautiful machines.

I do have two follow-up questions though -

1) Is there a guide that explains the power LEDs? I get alternating yellow and green or blinking yellow for my one node I have set up so far. Is this a problem?

2) The buttons on the right ear are not working. I think this may be a loose wire from when I rewired a node for 6 drives. If this is broken what's the best way to replace it?
 
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PigLover

Moderator
Jan 26, 2011
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1) The alternating Green/Yellow means there is an alarm present. Log into the IPMI and look at the logs to see what alarm might be present.

2) When you work on the backplane/fans it is very easy to pull the right-ear front panel connector loose from the board where it plugs in (on the FCB, right behind the midplane near the back of the PSU). When you loosen the drive backplane and slide it forward you put pressure on this wire and almost always pull it loose. Check the connection there - I'll give you 90% odds that is the problem.
 

geeker342

New Member
Jul 17, 2013
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Okay, new issue. I used the Monoprice 4 connector SAS cable to hook up 6 drives to one node, but when I power it on only three drives power/light up. Those same three drives are seen by the node but the other 3 are nowhere. Funniest part - one of the drives is port 4 of the SAS cable and the other two are the original Dell cable. I have no SGPIO cables connected and the Drive Control jumper on the backplane is shorted with a jumper. What am I missing?
 

hminz

New Member
Oct 9, 2013
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Any one facing issues with the C6100 drive caddies? The plastic seems to be very fragile, especially latch pullout area. I've broken quite a few with the springs popping out. Or maybe I'm too violent.
 

rnavarro

Active Member
Feb 14, 2013
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Sweet C6100 arrived today, came with all of the drive caddies!!! Awesome

Now to fill it up with drives, swap CPUs and get to tinkering....w00t w00t!
 

RimBlock

Member
Sep 18, 2011
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Sweet C6100 arrived today, came with all of the drive caddies!!! Awesome

Now to fill it up with drives, swap CPUs and get to tinkering....w00t w00t!
Would you be kind enough to check the Bios and confirm the fw versions ?. Also is the motherboard the same as the standard board (i.e. it has the mezzanine slot etc).

I spec'd out a DL380 G6 with them only to find out, luckily before I purchased that they have removed a few parts like the PCIe riser.

On a side note... Peter from MET is now out of C6100s.

Thanks
RB
 

Clownius

Member
Aug 5, 2013
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Okay, new issue. I used the Monoprice 4 connector SAS cable to hook up 6 drives to one node, but when I power it on only three drives power/light up. Those same three drives are seen by the node but the other 3 are nowhere. Funniest part - one of the drives is port 4 of the SAS cable and the other two are the original Dell cable. I have no SGPIO cables connected and the Drive Control jumper on the backplane is shorted with a jumper. What am I missing?
Please explain your cabling step by step if it goes trough a few transitions. It could be multiple reasons and is probably just a matter of tracing where the cabling goes wrong.
 

jschloer

New Member
Aug 12, 2013
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Sweet C6100 arrived today, came with all of the drive caddies!!! Awesome

Now to fill it up with drives, swap CPUs and get to tinkering....w00t w00t!
Lucky! I ordered mine with what I thought was 1 drive per node. Ended up with one drive total and no additional caddies. I shouldn't complain though, it was a great deal and the thing is a beast
 

geeker342

New Member
Jul 17, 2013
22
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Please explain your cabling step by step if it goes trough a few transitions. It could be multiple reasons and is probably just a matter of tracing where the cabling goes wrong.
These do not work
HDDs 1-3 --> Backplane --> Monoprice Cable connectors 1-3 --> Midplane Connector 1--> Interposer --> 6 SATA Bundle to ICH10 ports

These do work
HDD 4--> Backplane --> Monoprice Cable connector 4 --> Midplane Connector 1 --> Interposer --> 6 SATA Bundle to ICH10 ports
HDDs 5-6--> Backplane --> Dell 3 connector SATA/SFF-8087 (Drive 1 and 2 connected) --> Midplane Connector 2 --> Interposer --> 6 SATA Bundle to ICH10 ports

I swapped the 4th connector from the Monoprice cable (HDD 4) to the "stack" that seems dead (HDD1) and the hard drive stopped working. I need to swap a port from HDD1 to HDD4 to see if it is just power to that set of bays. If HDD1 shows up at that point then I can eliminate the cable as being bad.

All the SGPIO ports are disconnected at this point. The other fun fact I found last night is that the bays for nodes 1 and 3 (tops) will power, but the bays for nodes 2 and 4 (bottoms) will not power. I think there may be an issue with the backplane power connector at this point. I am going to pull the entire assembly when I get home to validate I have everything connected to the backplane correctly. I am just baffled why 3 drives work, the 3 next to them don't, then the next stack works, but then the last three do not. It's a weird way to build a backplane if you ask me. I would think that the left half would be driven by one of the power connectors and the right half would be driven by the other. But this is a Dell Server...
 

rnavarro

Active Member
Feb 14, 2013
177
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Would you be kind enough to check the Bios and confirm the fw versions ?. Also is the motherboard the same as the standard board (i.e. it has the mezzanine slot etc).

I spec'd out a DL380 G6 with them only to find out, luckily before I purchased that they have removed a few parts like the PCIe riser.

On a side note... Peter from MET is now out of C6100s.

Thanks
RB
The machine I got is a DCS setup. None of the service tags work on Dells site (I tried the tag on the power buttons on the front left, the tags on each of the individual node chassis as well)

Now, it came stock with the original BIOS, BMC and FCM firmwares.

The BIOS was from 2009 and it was rocking the original MegaRAC BMC....slow as heck!

BIOS: 1.44 or 1.04.....I think
BMC: 1.11 or 1.09.....I think
FCM: 1.04 with a PIC-16 (Positive on this one)

Sorry I didn't commit the versions to memory as well as I should have. Last night I took a leap of faith and upgraded the bios on all four nodes to 1.71 and the BMC on all four nodes to 1.33. Because the FCM was a PIC-16 I wasn't able to upgrade that, however it seems to work alright. Speeds up and slows down normally as far as I can tell.

Actually, before I did the firmware update Windows Server 2008 R2 didn't recognize half the hardware (most notably NICs) after I upgraded the BMC and BIOS they were detected and I was able to provide the drivers to get it to work.

As far as I can tell the board is the same....comparing to all the pictures posted here. It has a mezz slot, the midplane board, all the SATA cables. Nothing seems out of the ordinary in comparison to all the other nodes posted on here.

I have a bunch of SAS mezz cards on order, when they arrive I'll post another update on whether or not they work :)
 

RimBlock

Member
Sep 18, 2011
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As far as I can tell the board is the same....comparing to all the pictures posted here. It has a mezz slot, the midplane board, all the SATA cables. Nothing seems out of the ordinary in comparison to all the other nodes posted on here.
Thanks for taking the time and the detailed info .

Sounds like these are part of the original batches, like my own machine. Not having the drive trays is a bit of a bummer. At between 20-30 USD each the price will quickly jump up if you decide to populate all the bays. I have seen blanks selling for around US$9 though so that may help.

These are great machines though so enjoy your unit and welcome to the club :).
 

rnavarro

Active Member
Feb 14, 2013
177
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Thanks for taking the time and the detailed info .

Sounds like these are part of the original batches, like my own machine. Not having the drive trays is a bit of a bummer. At between 20-30 USD each the price will quickly jump up if you decide to populate all the bays. I have seen blanks selling for around US$9 though so that may help.

These are great machines though so enjoy your unit and welcome to the club :).
Mine actually had all of the drive bays, so I got super lucky on that end :)
 

geeker342

New Member
Jul 17, 2013
22
1
1
Okay, I pulled the front end of my 6100 and all the PDU boards to make sure the connections were tight there. I connected everything back and before screwing it back together powered the node with 6 drives wired annnnd... it all works now! I think it was probably a loose power at the backplane but the lesson is make sure everything is snug and test before you assume everything is working. I hope to be able to give back more to these forums in the future.
 

Clownius

Member
Aug 5, 2013
85
0
6
Take the plastic out of the blanks and replace it with a drive on the 3.5" version. No need for real caddies unless you want drive activity lights. I have just 4 caddies and 12 disks running in mine.

@geeker342
Glad it was simple :) My guess was you had mixed up the 4 and 2 thing from the interposer or whatever they call it. I would need to check the manual for proper names. But a loose connection makes more sense.

@rnavarro
Sounds similar to my DCS nodes. All are identical to standard C6100 nodes. Just sold through a different section of Dell. I have 2 C6100 and one has the new fan board and one the old. Both have a similar volume so meh
 
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BackWoodsTech

Member
Oct 23, 2013
31
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Dcs?

Sorry for the newb question here...but is there anywhere in this thread you can point me to which describes the DCS vs Dell nodes? I'm a little lost here. Are the DCS (Data Center Solutions?) sub par or different spec-ed as in you'll find different equipment? Is there a way to check for this? Does it matter?

Thanks so much!
 

geeker342

New Member
Jul 17, 2013
22
1
1
Sorry for the newb question here...but is there anywhere in this thread you can point me to which describes the DCS vs Dell nodes? I'm a little lost here. Are the DCS (Data Center Solutions?) sub par or different spec-ed as in you'll find different equipment? Is there a way to check for this? Does it matter?

Thanks so much!
You're on the right track. DCS servers were custom built for datacenter customers, and by custom it can be hardware, firmware, or both. Some DCS servers were built without the mezzanine slots for example, and this can be a dealbreaker but personally I can live without them.

The real dealbreaker is the firmware versions are usually incompatible with a "standard" C6100. This means you are stuck on an old version that may have bad or no driver support for some OS's, slow as snot IPMI, CPU compatibility could be limited, and general lack of support from the thriving community here.

If you put your service tag into Dell's website and it kicks it back as invalid then you likely have a DCS server. I won't say that you should stay away at all costs but there are plenty of strings attached to using a DCS server. The worst part is you have no way to know what those are until you can dive into the system and see what you have.

I hope that gives a quick synopsis of what DCS servers mean to the layman.
 

Dragon

Banned
Feb 12, 2013
77
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Just passing by to let you guys know the C6100 independent power supply problem has been solved awhile ago, business savy Chinese have been selling each nodes as individual boxes all over the place, dirt cheap:
DELL C6100Ö÷°å·þÎñÆ÷L5639 L5520¹¤×÷վ̨ʽ»ú12ºË24Ãß³Ì48GäÖȾ-ÌÔ±¦Ãø
DELL C6100 ¹¤×÷Õ¾¡¾L5639 CPU 12ºË24Ã̡߳¿ÓÎ÷¶à¿ª¡¢¹Ò»úÉñÆ÷-ÌÔ±¦Ãø
DELL C6100¹¤×÷Õ¾ÓÎ÷¹Ò»úÉñÆ÷(XEON 12ºË24Ãß³Ì/16G/MACºÚÆ»¹û)-ÌÔ±¦Ãø






As you can see from the pics, C6100 nodes can now hook onto standard PSU.

These boxes cost something like USD$200 each on the lowest options. Pay a bit more for 2nd cpu, more ram, graphic cards etc.

Keyword: "C6100" on taobao
 
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