Recommend newbe hardware - SUN

This is a discussion on Recommend newbe hardware - SUN ; Hi all, I'd like to learn more about Solaris 10, to that end I have been thinking of buying a used sun server from ebay. I know nothing about the sun hardware, however, and am a bit overwhelmed. If I ...

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Thread: Recommend newbe hardware

  1. Recommend newbe hardware

    Hi all,

    I'd like to learn more about Solaris 10, to that end I have been
    thinking of buying a used sun server from ebay. I know nothing about
    the sun hardware, however, and am a bit overwhelmed.

    If I was just going to installed and play around and forget it, I dont
    think I'd have as much problem... but I was thinking of replacing a
    server at work with a solaris box. It does a little firewall/nat/vpn,
    a little database (postgresql), and a little web serving (lighttpd/
    php). Oh, and some samba. (and I'd like to play around with ldap
    someday). Anyway, I dont need a lot of drive space, I currently have
    200 gig, and I think that's plenty. I dont need tape or backup stuff,
    I tar up the really important stuff and copy it to another box that
    does get backed up to tape.

    My first question: I'd like the web response time to be close (a
    little slower would not be too much of a problem). I found a Sun
    420R, with 4x 450MHz, 4GB RAM, 2x18GB. It would be about $260. That
    sounds like a great play box, but I'm worried a web response from a
    450mhz processor would be slow. Is a 450mhz ultrasparc II compareable
    to a Pentium III 450?

    Also, it only has 36 gig space if I raid 0 them. And it only has
    space for two drives? So if I want more I have to get external
    drive's (via scsi or something?) Thats starting to sound expensive.

    Second question: what's a good, cheap, way to add hd space. I kinda
    like the two raid 0 drives for the os, and maybe database, but can I
    put IDE/Sata drives someplace? If I get external drive bay, what sort
    of card do I need and how expensive are they? What sort of
    performance would I see (can I run my database from there?)

    As an alternative, I found this:

    Newisys Sun Fire V40z Opteron 2x1.4GHz/4GB/146GB Server

    Its twice as expensive, but it seems to have much more cpu power under
    the hood. However, I'm left with the same HD questions.

    Well, thanks for your time,

    -Andy


  2. Re: Recommend newbe hardware

    According to :
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I'd like to learn more about Solaris 10, to that end I have been
    > thinking of buying a used sun server from ebay. I know nothing about
    > the sun hardware, however, and am a bit overwhelmed.


    O.K.

    > If I was just going to installed and play around and forget it, I dont
    > think I'd have as much problem... but I was thinking of replacing a
    > server at work with a solaris box. It does a little firewall/nat/vpn,
    > a little database (postgresql), and a little web serving (lighttpd/
    > php). Oh, and some samba. (and I'd like to play around with ldap
    > someday).


    My personal suggestion is to *not* let your firewall be anything
    else -- put the rest on systems behind the firewall. You can probably
    build a nice firewall on an Ultra-5 or Ultra-10 (really cheap, and you
    can use IDE drives in those -- but no bigger than 120 GB per drive
    thanks to limitations in the IDE interface hardware. The Ultra-5 and
    Ultra-10 are dirt cheap.

    > Anyway, I dont need a lot of drive space, I currently have
    > 200 gig, and I think that's plenty. I dont need tape or backup stuff,
    > I tar up the really important stuff and copy it to another box that
    > does get backed up to tape.


    O.K.

    > My first question: I'd like the web response time to be close (a
    > little slower would not be too much of a problem). I found a Sun
    > 420R, with 4x 450MHz, 4GB RAM, 2x18GB. It would be about $260. That
    > sounds like a great play box, but I'm worried a web response from a
    > 450mhz processor would be slow. Is a 450mhz ultrasparc II compareable
    > to a Pentium III 450?


    I suspect that it is noticeably faster than a 450 MHz Pentium
    III, but I've not directly compared them. It does appear to be true
    SPARC CPUs, unlike the later selection.

    > Also, it only has 36 gig space if I raid 0 them. And it only has
    > space for two drives? So if I want more I have to get external
    > drive's (via scsi or something?) Thats starting to sound expensive.


    Most likely via SCSI -- though my SunFire 280R uses FC (Fibre
    Channel) drives as its internal drives, and has both SCSI and FC jacks
    on the back for expansion. I've got no personal experience with the
    420R.

    Looking at the photos of the back of the 420R, it does have
    external SCSI.

    And the front looks very much like my 280R, except that it
    apparently uses the slower SPARC CPUs which my Ultra 60 uses -- just
    twice as many. (UltraSPARC-II instead of the UltraSPARC-III that the
    280R uses. Note that both this machine and the 280R are designed as
    enterprise servers, and have dual hot-swappable (from the front panel)
    power supplies. You can download tons of manuals for this from Sun's
    site, after registering.

    These are *heavy* computers, BTW, so prepare for expensive
    shipping. :-)

    The 280R has a choice from 900 MHz CPUs up to 1.2 GHz CPUs, and
    running an old benchmark on it and on a 2.3 GHz Intel box running
    OpenBSD, the 280R is faster corrected for clock speed.

    > Second question: what's a good, cheap, way to add hd space. I kinda
    > like the two raid 0 drives for the os, and maybe database,


    You might look into zfs (a software RAID which comes with the
    later releases of Solaris 10) -- though I think that you can't boot from
    it, so you'll need other disks to boot from.

    Not sure whether it is supported by the x86 version of Solaris
    10, which is what your second mentioned machine runs.

    > but can I
    > put IDE/Sata drives someplace?


    Certainly not the IDE drives -- and I'm not sure about the SATA
    ones. You would have to back down to something like the Ultra 5, Ultra
    10, or Blade 100 to have native IDE -- and that would have no built-in
    SCSI.

    > If I get external drive bay, what sort
    > of card do I need and how expensive are they?


    Probably you will have the SCSI interface already present in the
    system. Everything that I have other than the Ultra 5, Ultra 10, and
    the Blade 100 have it. The interface will talk to up to fifteen drives.
    If you need more, there are PCI SCSI cards which can talk to two banks
    of fifteen drives at the same time.

    As for the housing for them -- look on eBay for "Multipack"
    drive housings. There are two models -- one will handle up to six 1.6"
    high drives, and the other will handle up to twelve 1" drives. You
    can't put the 1.6" drives in the 1" Multipack, even by skipping every
    other slot, because the bulge of the drive hits the next connector up.
    Externally, the two housings look the same, except that the one has only
    six LEDs and the other has twelve of them. On the back of the six-slot
    one is a switch to select whether the drives occupy the SCSI-IDs 1-6 or
    9-14, so you can stick two of them on a single interface for twelve of
    the 1.6" drives should you so desire.

    All drives in this use the SCA (80-pin SCSI) interface, and are
    hot swapable. I've run zfs in one of these for a while before moving it
    to an A-1000 rack-mount JBOD housing for which I had to find a HVD SCSI
    card. (The Multipack accepts LVD or SE SCSI instead.)

    > What sort of
    > performance would I see (can I run my database from there?)


    Set up ZFS with "raidz" (the ZFS version of RAID-5), and you
    will get rather impressive response, based on my experience -- though I
    haven't actually tried clocking things.

    > As an alternative, I found this:
    >
    > Newisys Sun Fire V40z Opteron 2x1.4GHz/4GB/146GB Server
    >
    > Its twice as expensive, but it seems to have much more cpu power under
    > the hood. However, I'm left with the same HD questions.


    Note that it is *not* SPARC -- but rather Opteron for the CPUs.

    And it probably has FC drives. I've got a pair of 146 GB FC
    drives in my 280R. (You can also get them in SCA interface, so twelve
    of those in a twelve-slot Multipack should be impressive.

    O.K. Looking through a few eBay auctions, it appears to use SCA
    SCSI drives, not FC internally. Looking at photos of the back, I so far
    don't see a good SCSI connector, but rather what looks like a FC
    connector (not enough detail to be sure).

    You might consider looking at the Sun Blade 2000 with dual 1.2
    GHz CPUs which *are* SPARC, and which does have the SCSI and FC on the
    back panel, along with two FC internal drives -- which can be 1.6" high,
    unlike those in the Sun Fire 280R.

    Sorry that I don't have direct experience with the specific
    machines which you have listed, so a lot of this is speculation based on
    the systems which I *have* got.

    At the moment, I can't find any normal eBay auctions for the
    Multipacks -- though there are some buy-it-now ones. This one is a
    12-slot one -- though there is no photo, and the price is higher than
    what I've paid: 130090249749

    And a search on "Sun Multipack" hits a bunch of drives in
    "spuds" (the bracket which mounts them in the Multipack or in most of
    the Ultra computers which use SCS or FC drives) -- listed to fit in a
    Multipack among other things, I guess.

    Good Luck,
    DoN.
    --
    Email: | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
    (too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
    --- Black Holes are where God is dividing by zero ---

  3. Re: Recommend newbe hardware

    > > My first question: I'd like the web response time to be close (a
    > > little slower would not be too much of a problem). I found a Sun
    > > 420R, with 4x 450MHz, 4GB RAM, 2x18GB. It would be about $260. That
    > > sounds like a great play box, but I'm worried a web response from a
    > > 450mhz processor would be slow. Is a 450mhz ultrasparc II compareable
    > > to a Pentium III 450?

    >
    > I suspect that it is noticeably faster than a 450 MHz Pentium
    > III, but I've not directly compared them. It does appear to be true
    > SPARC CPUs, unlike the later selection.


    Sweet. I have a PIII 500 box doing some web stuff, and its plenty
    fast. The specs list this for the HD:
    One 40MB/sec, 68-pin ,Ultra SCSI (SCSI-3), 2 channels (synchronous)

    Isnt that kinda slow? If I get an external drive box with some kinda
    scsi raid, will it really be limited to 40 meg a second? (*By
    comparison I'm getting 100 meg a second from from 5 sata in a raid
    10*)


    > > If I get external drive bay, what sort
    > > of card do I need and how expensive are they?

    >
    > Probably you will have the SCSI interface already present in the
    > system. Everything that I have other than the Ultra 5, Ultra 10, and
    > the Blade 100 have it. The interface will talk to up to fifteen drives.
    > If you need more, there are PCI SCSI cards which can talk to two banks
    > of fifteen drives at the same time.
    >
    > As for the housing for them -- look on eBay for "Multipack"
    > drive housings. There are two models -- one will handle up to six 1.6"


    how about this item 250162167596 on ebay.

    A D1000, with drives. Suppose that would work?

    Thanks for your answers, they were helpful.

    -Andy


  4. Re: Recommend newbe hardware

    According to :

    [ ... ]

    > > I suspect that it is noticeably faster than a 450 MHz Pentium
    > > III, but I've not directly compared them. It does appear to be true
    > > SPARC CPUs, unlike the later selection.

    >
    > Sweet. I have a PIII 500 box doing some web stuff, and its plenty
    > fast. The specs list this for the HD:
    > One 40MB/sec, 68-pin ,Ultra SCSI (SCSI-3), 2 channels (synchronous)


    Are those the specs for the PIII box or the Sun box?

    > Isnt that kinda slow? If I get an external drive box with some kinda
    > scsi raid, will it really be limited to 40 meg a second? (*By
    > comparison I'm getting 100 meg a second from from 5 sata in a raid
    > 10*)


    The SCA drives *should* be capable of a lot faster than that. I
    think that they go up to 320 MB/S in the top end of the Ultra SCSI line.

    And, of course, some of the limitation is how much time the CPU
    can devote from other tasks to moving data to/from the SCSI port.
    (Granted, a lot of it is DMA, so it is not loading the CPU, but it is
    still loading the memory bus.

    >
    > > > If I get external drive bay, what sort
    > > > of card do I need and how expensive are they?

    > >
    > > Probably you will have the SCSI interface already present in the
    > > system. Everything that I have other than the Ultra 5, Ultra 10, and
    > > the Blade 100 have it. The interface will talk to up to fifteen drives.
    > > If you need more, there are PCI SCSI cards which can talk to two banks
    > > of fifteen drives at the same time.
    > >
    > > As for the housing for them -- look on eBay for "Multipack"
    > > drive housings. There are two models -- one will handle up to six 1.6"

    >
    > how about this item 250162167596 on ebay.
    >
    > A D1000, with drives. Suppose that would work?


    Yes -- that is the JBOD version. It will work -- if you chase
    down:

    1) A HVD SCSI card (go for a dual one, while you are about it).

    2) Enough 68-pin SCSI cables. Note that the cables from the card
    will need to be VHDCI connectors at the card end, and standard
    ones at the D1000 end.

    3) At least one 68-pin HVD SCSI terminator. (If you split the
    bus on the D1000, you'll need two terminators and two cables
    from the card to the D1000. Otherwise, one terminator, a cable
    from the card to the D1000 and a cable to join the two halves
    of the SCSI bus on the D1000.

    One card which I *know* to work in this configuration, and to be
    supported by the drivers in Solaris 10 without having to load an extra
    driver, is the one which goes by the designation 375-0006. It is a
    Symbios SYM22802 and works in the PCI slots in both the Ultra-60 and the
    SunFire 280R, so it should work in the 33 MHz ones in your computer as
    well. (Don't stuff it in the 66 MHz slot, as it will slow the built-in
    Disk access down.)

    Note that the D1000 will *not* work with the standard SCSI port
    on the back of the computer which is SE SCSI. And it will *not* work
    with a LVD (Low Voltage Differential) card, either.

    But the D1000 does have dual hot-swapable power supplies, to
    match the ones in the CPU you are considering (no they aren't the same).
    They are -- good for an enterprise setup. Ideally have two UPSs to
    protect power, and plug one supply into each, so if one goes down, the
    equipment still keeps running. If you have only one UPS, plug one of
    the supplies into that from each box, and the other into the AC line.
    You are then potentially vulnerable to damage from lighting on that line
    and that power supply, but at least you will be able to keep running
    while swapping out batteries in the UPS (Something which seems to be
    necessary every four to six years.) :-(

    Note that the A1000 version has its own built-in RAID, but you
    have to get a software package from Sun to run that properly, and I
    think that it is not as robust as the software RAID zfs which comes with
    Solaris 10. Also -- it needs upkeep for a plug-in battery backup module
    which can get rather expensive.

    The twelve 18 GB drives are a nice start with this, and it
    assures you of having all the necessary spuds to mount drives in it.
    (But, it also makes the system heavier to ship. :-) If you have to carry
    it upstairs, I suggest that you pop out the drives, carry it up, and
    re-install the drives once you are upstairs. They are easy to remove
    and reinstall -- and it should not make any difference which goes in
    which slot until you start building a zfs on them.

    From a similar setup (with six active 18GB drives at present) I have:

    The first command shows the drives used to build the zfs pool,
    including the hot spare drive.

    ================================================== ====================
    Burke:csu 21:47:36 # zpool status
    pool: home-p
    state: ONLINE
    scrub: none requested
    config:

    NAME STATE READ WRITE CKSUM
    home-p ONLINE 0 0 0
    raidz2 ONLINE 0 0 0
    c5t8d0 ONLINE 0 0 0
    c5t9d0 ONLINE 0 0 0
    c5t10d0 ONLINE 0 0 0
    c5t11d0 ONLINE 0 0 0
    c5t12d0 ONLINE 0 0 0
    spares
    c5t13d0 AVAIL

    errors: No known data errors
    ================================================== ====================

    The second command shows the partitioning of the pool formed by
    those drives. Note that as I have it configured, any one of the
    partitions can grow and we only reach a limit when the AVAIL column
    (which you see is the same for all partitions, including the whole pool
    which is listed first) is exhausted. Or -- you can set hard limits on
    each partition, or on only some of them.

    ================================================== ====================
    Burke:csu 21:47:40 # zfs list
    NAME USED AVAIL REFER MOUNTPOINT
    home-p 3.46G 45.8G 49.1K /home-p
    home-p/home-1 1.80G 45.8G 1.80G /home-p/home-1
    home-p/home-4 531M 45.8G 531M /home-p/home-4
    home-p/home-6 1.13G 45.8G 1.13G /home-p/home-6
    ================================================== ====================

    I have another zfs pool serving other functions -- but those are
    on 68-pin drives connected to the standard SCSI out of the system. Note
    that using gtar to copy a filesystem from one to the other of these is a
    *lot* faster than doing so between two individual drives of similar
    capacity, so zfs raidz2 does speed things up significantly. Oh -- and
    my 280R is working with two 900 MHz CPUs, instead of the two 1200 MHz
    ones which are possible (but which I have not yet found affordable). My
    SunFire 280R was purchased at a hamfest with 4 GB of RAM for $250.00.
    No disks, though -- I had to find some FC drives on eBay to build it up
    properly -- though I was able to install on a 6-slot MultiPack full of
    9GB drives for experimentation. I got two 146 GB FC drives for internal
    use -- fewer drives means less heat in the room while we are in summer. :-)

    > Thanks for your answers, they were helpful.


    I try to be helpful, when I hit something which I have personal
    experience with. I also try to warn when what I have comes from other
    hardware (such as my 280R in place of your computer).

    If you are willing to pick up a pair of FC drives (or can find
    one with them already in place), you might consider the SunFire 280R.
    At least it is no larger nor heavier than what you are already
    considering. You can then plug in (rather more expensive) boxes full of
    FC drives, or use the 68-pin SCSI on the back to talk to Multipacks, or
    the card I suggested to talk to D1000.

    Enjoy,
    DoN.
    --
    Email: | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
    (too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
    --- Black Holes are where God is dividing by zero ---

  5. Re: Recommend newbe hardware

    jacodeguy@gmail.com wrote:
    >
    > As an alternative, I found this:
    >
    > Newisys Sun Fire V40z Opteron 2x1.4GHz/4GB/146GB Server
    >
    > Its twice as expensive, but it seems to have much more cpu power under
    > the hood. However, I'm left with the same HD questions.
    >

    Why not just build a white box PC with supported components?

    --
    Ian Collins.

  6. Re: Recommend newbe hardware

    On Sep 11, 3:33 am, Ian Collins wrote:
    > jacode...@gmail.com wrote:
    >
    > > As an alternative, I found this:

    >
    > > Newisys Sun Fire V40z Opteron 2x1.4GHz/4GB/146GB Server

    >
    > > Its twice as expensive, but it seems to have much more cpu power under
    > > the hood. However, I'm left with the same HD questions.

    >
    > Why not just build a white box PC with supported components?
    >
    > --
    > Ian Collins.


    Yeah, I had thought of that. I have installed Solaris 10 on my AMD 64
    on a seperate HD, and played around with it, but I wanted the full
    "Sun" experience. The UltraSparc, the OpenBoot?, the scsi backplane
    (dont know what it is, but I want one), duel hot swappable everything,
    the whole enchilada . If I'm going to replace a server I'd need a new
    box anyway, and thought I'd just buy a Sun.

    Seems to be a bit expensive though. I'm looking at ~ $650 so far...
    and that's low end sun stuff. I was thinking 200-300.

    I'd also like to be able to intelligently talk about Sun stuff, both
    hardware and software, for job interviews; and thought real hardware
    would help.

    I'm not sure, have not decided yet.

    -Andy


  7. Re: Recommend newbe hardware

    In article <1189533771.874986.113850@k79g2000hse.googlegroups. com>,
    jacodeguy@gmail.com wrote:

    > On Sep 11, 3:33 am, Ian Collins wrote:
    > > jacode...@gmail.com wrote:
    > >
    > > > As an alternative, I found this:

    > >
    > > > Newisys Sun Fire V40z Opteron 2x1.4GHz/4GB/146GB Server

    > >
    > > > Its twice as expensive, but it seems to have much more cpu power under
    > > > the hood. However, I'm left with the same HD questions.

    > >
    > > Why not just build a white box PC with supported components?
    > >
    > > --
    > > Ian Collins.

    >
    > Yeah, I had thought of that. I have installed Solaris 10 on my AMD 64
    > on a seperate HD, and played around with it, but I wanted the full
    > "Sun" experience. The UltraSparc, the OpenBoot?, the scsi backplane
    > (dont know what it is, but I want one), duel hot swappable everything,
    > the whole enchilada . If I'm going to replace a server I'd need a new
    > box anyway, and thought I'd just buy a Sun.
    >
    > Seems to be a bit expensive though. I'm looking at ~ $650 so far...
    > and that's low end sun stuff. I was thinking 200-300.


    That amount isn't going to get you a Sparc based system that is
    considered fast by todays standards.

    > I'd also like to be able to intelligently talk about Sun stuff, both
    > hardware and software, for job interviews; and thought real hardware
    > would help.


    If you're looking for the Sun experience a $200 - $300 system will
    provide it for you...it just won't be very fast by todays standards.
    That last part is key. For most personal use a system in your price
    range should easily meet the requirements you've laid out.

    And if you want to get some good Sun experience I have a SunFire 3800
    system I would consider allowing you remote access to so you could learn
    about system partitioning, DR, and how an enterprise system is managed.

    Josh

  8. Re: Recommend newbe hardware


    > > I'd also like to be able to intelligently talk about Sun stuff, both
    > > hardware and software, for job interviews; and thought real hardware
    > > would help.

    >
    > If you're looking for the Sun experience a $200 - $300 system will
    > provide it for you...it just won't be very fast by todays standards.
    > That last part is key. For most personal use a system in your price
    > range should easily meet the requirements you've laid out.
    >
    > And if you want to get some good Sun experience I have a SunFire 3800
    > system I would consider allowing you remote access to so you could learn
    > about system partitioning, DR, and how an enterprise system is managed.
    >
    > Josh


    Wow, that is a very kind offer, thank you. What is DR? I assume this
    is a test box of some kind? I'd hate to screw up a live production
    box. Is there something (some project, job, hobby) I can help with on
    the box? I'd like some kinda real world project to do... otherwise I
    end up doing lots of "cd" and "ls" commands.

    Don:
    Thanks for the info... I had to go read up on SE and LVD... Wow, scsi
    stuff seems complicated.

    I'm starting to think I'll just get a cheep sun box and leave my web
    server as is.

    -Andy


  9. Re: Recommend newbe hardware

    In article <1189710204.167289.76530@22g2000hsm.googlegroups.co m>,
    jacodeguy@gmail.com wrote:

    > > > I'd also like to be able to intelligently talk about Sun stuff, both
    > > > hardware and software, for job interviews; and thought real hardware
    > > > would help.

    > >
    > > If you're looking for the Sun experience a $200 - $300 system will
    > > provide it for you...it just won't be very fast by todays standards.
    > > That last part is key. For most personal use a system in your price
    > > range should easily meet the requirements you've laid out.
    > >
    > > And if you want to get some good Sun experience I have a SunFire 3800
    > > system I would consider allowing you remote access to so you could learn
    > > about system partitioning, DR, and how an enterprise system is managed.
    > >
    > > Josh

    >
    > Wow, that is a very kind offer, thank you. What is DR? I assume this
    > is a test box of some kind? I'd hate to screw up a live production
    > box. Is there something (some project, job, hobby) I can help with on
    > the box? I'd like some kinda real world project to do... otherwise I
    > end up doing lots of "cd" and "ls" commands.


    DR, in this context, stands for Dynamic Re-configuration. It is a
    feature that allows you to add and remove hardware while the system is
    operational.

    No, it is not a production system. It's a test system I have that is
    currently not being used. These systems provide remote management via
    ethernet so you can remotely access the system controller which allows
    you to manage the configuration of the system itself (creating domains,
    powering on/off the system, assigning resources to domains, self tests,
    environmental monitoring, install an operating system, etc).

    Josh

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