3rd time hardware failure

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3rd time hardware failure

Postby irissolc » Wed May 27, 2015 7:43 am


I am in a bit of a sticky situation. I have a Switchvox AA65 that is about two years old. Last fall we had a problem with the system. The system would not boot. We connected a monitor to view this and it started to load the OS. The drive got to about 7% and failed and started a boot loop.
I called support. They helped me determine that this seemed to be a hard drive issue. Their response was that we should send them the unit for replacement which would have been 3-5 days of downtime.
We were not able to do this and this caused a major riff between my client and me representing switchvox. The client said they paid for a 5 year warranty and without any type of hardware advanced replacement they are not going to buy any more support.

We had the same thing happen again in January of this year and now in May of 2015.

Digium will not help me with finding the problem.

My question is this

1- It does not seem right that this system would have 3 hard drive failures. It almost seems more like some type of disk corruption. Is there any reason this would be happening.

2- Does the version 5.5.72 have this issue?

3- Is there any other explanation that would make sense for 3 different drives to show corrupt or not bootable.

4- Does a corrupt OS or some programming lead to having hard drive corruption?


Brad Wilson
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:26 pm

Re: 3rd time hardware failure

Postby hiltonmw » Wed May 27, 2015 11:46 am

Hi Brad,

Seems like you've got a bad string of luck there. That being said, Digium does not (nor have they, to my knowledge) offer advanced hardware replacement. The system is under warranty, correct, however, it requires you to ship the defect parts before you can get anything in return.

If you've got a good CAM, you could try to reach out to them, to see about getting a one-off replacement drive if the customer is really up the creek, but that being said, the AA65 is a pretty standard server/chassis... so all you need is a laptop SATA HDD and you're good to rebuild/reload.

Even though there's a hardware warranty, for HDD failures with Digium, I'll generally take a spare off the shelf HDD to replace the customer drive, ship the bad drive back to Digium, then replace my "stock" HDD with the one Digium sends back. Might not be as effective, but keeps the client insulated from the 'drama' of it all.

All that said - the AA65 is literally the lowest unit that Digium sells and has zero redundancies for power or hdd built in. I shied away from selling any of these units for that very reason. Sure they're cost effective, but if you have any issues with power or unsafe shutdowns, you're susceptible to the issues you're facing. I would've preferred to see the client buy the ISO/software and install it on something similar to an HP MicroServer, with at least dual hdds.

All that said, some answers to your direct questions:
1) Unsafe shutdowns will cause this. Digium's linux build allows for some disk corruption/unsafe partition shutdowns to be rebuilt/cleaned, but if it's "too far gone" it bails and does what you've seen - an unsafe shutdown process. In this case, if the HDD isn't bad, but just in a dirty linux volume state, you can boot with a Ubuntu or other Linux distro and run a scan disk on the HDD. I've successfully done this on the two machines I've seen with dirty shutdowns and good HDDs and they've been back up and running in a matter of a few hours tops.

2) I don't believe the issue you're having is 5.5.x specific. More than likely it's related to dirty shutdowns due to a power issue or something else. That said, if the kernel is crashing due to bad memory or the like, it could show the same end-result. I would still, likely, make sure there is 4GB of RAM in the appliance and upgrade to the latest version. 5.11.1. But remember, any appliance running 5.8.x should have at LEAST 4GB RAM. The stock 2GB on some older units was not nearly enough to be stable (it'll work, but just be slow)

3) I think perhaps I've addressed that already

4) See #3

One other word of caution:
The 5 year hardware warranty and the Silver/Gold/Titanium/Platinum licenses for support are NOT the same thing. The hardware warranty is a one-time purchase and covers just the hardware. HDD failures and the like. The Digium License support is entitlements for the system to receive additional user counts/extensions, certain support from Digium and software updates. I would work clearly with the client to make sure they realize the difference and make sure they continue to pay for licensing support. If they do not, they will not be able to add any other users, if it comes to that, nor will they be able to get any software enhancements/updates/ and most specifically BUG fixes.

make sense?

Also, I would absolutely check in with your CAM on all of these issues. At the very least, they can point you to Customer Support (not the same as Technical Support) or they can refer you to Jerry M, the Manager of the Technical Support group. Digium's Tech Support group's hands may be tied, but at least you should be having these discussions with them. You're not alone in wondering about advanced replacement HDDs / etc.
Posts: 390
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:30 pm

Re: 3rd time hardware failure

Postby irissolc » Mon Jun 01, 2015 4:11 pm

Great Feedback. Thanks so much.
My client is definitely not happy. I need to find a better solution.
Posts: 18
Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2011 6:26 pm

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