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SubjectRe: Faster reboots (and a better way of taking crashdumps?)
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On Wed, 2002-04-10 at 08:40, Eric W. Biederman wrote:

> Unless I missed something the Linux kernel won't work on smp though.
> It is a matter of resetting the state of the apics, and ensuring you
> are running on the first processor. I don't believe bootimg did/does that.
>

The copy of bootimg that I have makes no effort to offline CPU's or
reset the APICs. If there is a newer version, I could not find it.

I have tried 3 different solutions for for Linux-reloading-linux
(bootimg, two-kernel monte, and kexec), and none of them fully support
the kinds of enterprise-class systems we (OSDL) care about:

1. multiprocessor x86 (p3, p4, +xeons) with APICs
2. >4GB memory
3. CPU hotplug
4. device hotplug
5. >= 2.5.x kernel

In fact, I have yet to find any variation of linux-loading-linux that
works at all on the 2-way P4-Xeon under my desk or the 8-way P3-Xeon in
the lab. The only system I have ever seen Two Kernel Monte work on here
is a Celeron-based machine in a nearby cube.

Why do we care about this? Rebooting these kinds of sytsems can take
several minutes, and in my sample of the systems in the lab, ~80% of the
reboot time is spent slogging through the platform's firmware, ~20% of
the time is spent between LILO and login:. 80% of several minutes is
often greater than the allowable annual downtime for some enterprise
systems.

What about LinxuBIOS? While an attractive solution for many, it is a
long, uphill battle to add support for chipset after chipset, and
motherboard after motherboard.

The >4GB of memory problem is an interesting quirk -- if the
linux-loading-linux implementation assumes that it can perform the final
copy in 32-bit protected mode *without* paging enabled, it won't
reliably work on >4GB systems.

> In general yes. There are some interesting side effects though.
> Going through the pci bus and shutting off bus masters is a good
> first approximation of what needs to happen.
>

The new device model from Pat (mochel@osdl.org) is probably the best way
to go here; you'll be able to walk the driver tree and reliably turn off
devices.

For the CPU side of things, the CPU hotplug work looks promising as
well.

Andy


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