IBM Server Woes

I last wrote a faiirly positive article about IBM xSeries servers. One of the highlights was

1. Product Consistency – From other Gateway customers experience, Gateway servers have little product or internal part consistency within the same model.

Unfortunately I may have to retract all those positive comments due to recent experiences with memory in a new batch of IBM servers.

In the process of equipping four xSeries 345 servers with memory, RAID, and Fibre Channel cards, I checked the existing memory sticks. They were PC2700 sticks by Infineon, not Hynix PC2100 DIMMs, which were standard on every other server we purchased in 2004. To compound matters, we were installing another 2 GB of PC2100 memory into the box. While it should technically work and downgrade all memory to the slowest speed, there are a number of instances where this is not considered best practice and could lead to future system instability. To further exacerbate the problem, the FRU numbers on the PC2700 relate to a desktop model replacement memory. It had no business being in a server. Our distributor checked their inventory, and all their x345 servers in their inventory also have the PC2700 memory.

The good news is the Raleigh IBM plant is very concerned about this snafu and is trying to find out why this desktop memory was being shipped out in servers.

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