Sun Blade 100 - Hard Disk options? - SUN

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  1. Sun Blade 100 - Hard Disk options?

    I use a Sun Blade 100 that has been maxed out with two 120 GB hard
    disks, and I'd like to figure out what my options are in adding more
    hard disk space to this machine. I tried the unofficial FAQ, but that
    does not seem to have been updated in quite a while.

    I have the following questions:
    1. Can I add an external hard disk that is larger than 137 GB, and
    will the system be able to see the entire disk? Unfortunately, I am
    running Solaris 8 right now, and am planning to upgrade to Solaris 10
    if I can add more disk space. I can get a 500 GB Seagate external
    disk for about $100, and can connect with either USB or FireWire. Is
    this feasible?
    2. I read one example of the internal CD-ROM drive being removed, and
    being replaced by two more hard disks. Is this really feasible? I do
    have an external DVD+/-RW drive that I can use instead of the internal
    CD-ROM drive, although this restricts the additional hard disk space
    to 240 GB (2x120 GB), about one half the external disk option. Also,
    would these hard disks that fit in the CD-ROM drive slot be 2.5"
    laptop disks instead of standard 3.5" disks?
    3. I forgot to mention that I have 2 Sun 611s with 50 GB disk in each
    enclosure hanging off the back of the Blade100 (I was lucky enough to
    configure the machine with a Sun SCSI card when I acquired it).
    Another option would be to go with a big external SCSI disk, but I
    don't know how cost effective this would be in comparison to an IDE
    hard disk. Are there any SCSI 500 GB disks that I can put into a 611,
    for roughly the same price?

    I do know that the Sun Blade 100 is getting a little old in the tooth
    - in fact the reason I am looking to add disk to this machine is that
    I found out that Sun has EOL'd all the UltraSPARC workstations, and I
    found this when I was trying to buy an Ultra 25. I want to stay with
    the UltraSPARC platform as the statistical app that we use (SAS) is
    only available to us for this platform.

    Any suggestions/advice will be highly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Ashok

  2. Re: Sun Blade 100 - Hard Disk options?

    axn000@gmail.com writes:
    >I use a Sun Blade 100 that has been maxed out with two 120 GB hard
    >disks, and I'd like to figure out what my options are in adding more
    >hard disk space to this machine. I tried the unofficial FAQ, but that
    >does not seem to have been updated in quite a while.


    >I have the following questions:
    >1. Can I add an external hard disk that is larger than 137 GB, and
    >will the system be able to see the entire disk? Unfortunately, I am
    >running Solaris 8 right now, and am planning to upgrade to Solaris 10
    >if I can add more disk space. I can get a 500 GB Seagate external
    >disk for about $100, and can connect with either USB or FireWire. Is
    >this feasible?


    Solaris 10 would be much better for USB/FW disk connectivity than Solaris 8.

    The drive size limits that you are running into, is because the IDE
    controller used on the Blade100 isn't UltraATA compliant, and is
    limited by the limitations of the IDE specs before UltraATA came out.
    (people tend to use Sun hardware much much longer than the equivilent
    PC hardware has long faded away).

    I don't have direct knowledge of external USB/FW drives on various
    versions of Solaris. Some google searches had USB drive support added
    on Solaris 8 06/01 release, but I have no idea what release you have.
    IIRC, FW drive support was much later.

    >2. I read one example of the internal CD-ROM drive being removed, and
    >being replaced by two more hard disks. Is this really feasible? I do
    >have an external DVD+/-RW drive that I can use instead of the internal
    >CD-ROM drive, although this restricts the additional hard disk space
    >to 240 GB (2x120 GB), about one half the external disk option. Also,
    >would these hard disks that fit in the CD-ROM drive slot be 2.5"
    >laptop disks instead of standard 3.5" disks?


    Again, then you'd be fighting USB compatibility for Solaris 8, having
    it introduced mid-stream of its lifetime back 7-8 years if you still
    wanted to have your external DVD drive. You'd have to deal with
    mounting and powering those drives, probably need more cabling. And
    again, pre UltraATA specs so your 120GB limit again.


    >3. I forgot to mention that I have 2 Sun 611s with 50 GB disk in each
    >enclosure hanging off the back of the Blade100 (I was lucky enough to
    >configure the machine with a Sun SCSI card when I acquired it).
    >Another option would be to go with a big external SCSI disk, but I
    >don't know how cost effective this would be in comparison to an IDE
    >hard disk. Are there any SCSI 500 GB disks that I can put into a 611,
    >for roughly the same price?


    Heh heh. SCSI drives being roughly the same price will never happen.
    SCSI drives tend to be much faster than IDE disks, and more reliable,
    that you'd be lucky if the SCSI drives were only triple the price of
    the IDE disks. (Last time I priced them, 300GB Seagate SCSI drives
    were going for what, about $650-$800?). Not that you can use them, but
    450GB SAS drives are ~$900-$1000.

    >I do know that the Sun Blade 100 is getting a little old in the tooth
    >- in fact the reason I am looking to add disk to this machine is that
    >I found out that Sun has EOL'd all the UltraSPARC workstations, and I
    >found this when I was trying to buy an Ultra 25. I want to stay with
    >the UltraSPARC platform as the statistical app that we use (SAS) is
    >only available to us for this platform.


    If you want to get lots of disk space, SAN, NAS or SCSI are probably
    going to be your best bet. Not that SAN or SCSI are that cheap
    to implement. NAS might not cut it for you, but for the short term
    solution, can be very cheap and effective to get you disk space.

    One option that is going to cost more than its worth I think is to try
    to find a RAID cabinet that takes IDE disks in, and puts out a SCSI
    interface for the backend. But I think you'd end up paying $1k's
    for not all that much storage.

    Alternatively, as a more frankenstein level, there are some IDE to
    SCSI bridge cards that could take a large IDE drive and present it as
    a SCSI interface to the system. Same sort of thing as the above RAID
    cabinet, but more low level. I've heard of some making them work in sparcs.



  3. Re: Sun Blade 100 - Hard Disk options?

    On 2008-09-03, axn000@gmail.com wrote:
    > I use a Sun Blade 100 that has been maxed out with two 120 GB hard
    > disks, and I'd like to figure out what my options are in adding more
    > hard disk space to this machine. I tried the unofficial FAQ, but that
    > does not seem to have been updated in quite a while.


    That happens.

    > I have the following questions:
    > 1. Can I add an external hard disk that is larger than 137 GB, and
    > will the system be able to see the entire disk?


    That depends. If you go SCSI or FC-AL -- yes.

    Note that the USB in the system (and even in much faster Sun
    Blade 1000/2000 machines) is USB 1.1 -- deadly slow, even with a 4GB CF
    card from a camera.

    I don't know how the system would deal with a greater than 120
    GB USB drive.

    You might do better with the FireWire. I've not played with it
    on my SB-2000, but IIRC a friend (I just tried to call him, but got his
    answering machine) had been trying a FireWire drive on his SB-2000, and
    it worked at smaller sizes, but hit a problem at either 500 GB or 1 TB.
    It just could not see the drive. This was with Solaris 10.

    > Unfortunately, I am
    > running Solaris 8 right now, and am planning to upgrade to Solaris 10
    > if I can add more disk space. I can get a 500 GB Seagate external
    > disk for about $100, and can connect with either USB or FireWire. Is
    > this feasible?


    I think that you will hit problems here.

    > 2. I read one example of the internal CD-ROM drive being removed, and
    > being replaced by two more hard disks. Is this really feasible?


    I've not tried it -- but it is just two more IDE ports, so it
    probably would work. My SB-100 is retired and under enough other
    equipment so I'm not going to try to dig it out. :-)

    > I do
    > have an external DVD+/-RW drive that I can use instead of the internal
    > CD-ROM drive, although this restricts the additional hard disk space
    > to 240 GB (2x120 GB), about one half the external disk option.


    With the built-in USB -- I would expect problems. It might work
    with the FireWire.

    > Also,
    > would these hard disks that fit in the CD-ROM drive slot be 2.5"
    > laptop disks instead of standard 3.5" disks?


    Not tried it so I don't know.

    > 3. I forgot to mention that I have 2 Sun 611s with 50 GB disk in each
    > enclosure hanging off the back of the Blade100 (I was lucky enough to
    > configure the machine with a Sun SCSI card when I acquired it).


    O.K. "611" -- that is a UniPack. Now, since you have 50 GB
    disks in it, you probably have either the SCA (80-pin rigidly mounted
    connector) or a 68-pin connector on a flexible line inside. You should
    be able to get 500 GB disks to fit the SCA interface at least, and I
    think the 68-pin as well.

    Now -- the interface to the computer -- is that a 68-pin as well,
    or is there an adaptor to 50 pin at the computer end? If it is 68-pin
    all the way through, you can address up to 15 drives, while if it
    narrows down to 50-pin at the computer end, you are limited to talk to
    no more than seven drives.

    And if you want more space with the existing SCSI card, you
    could replace the UniPacks with one 12-slot MultiPack (711) which can
    hold up to 12 1" high SCA drives, or only six if you are connecting to a
    50-pin SCSI connector at the computer end. Or -- if you need 1.6" high
    drives, you are limited to the 6-slot MultiPacks -- but you can hang
    two of them on a single 68-pin SCSI interface to get back to 12 drives
    maximum.

    > Another option would be to go with a big external SCSI disk, but I
    > don't know how cost effective this would be in comparison to an IDE
    > hard disk.


    It will cost more -- but a drive which costs more and talks to
    the computer is a better bet than a less expensive one which does not. :-)

    > Are there any SCSI 500 GB disks that I can put into a 611,
    > for roughly the same price?


    Depends on your luck on eBay I think. I don't see much at the
    moment, but you can do better on some days than others.

    > I do know that the Sun Blade 100 is getting a little old in the tooth
    > - in fact the reason I am looking to add disk to this machine is that
    > I found out that Sun has EOL'd all the UltraSPARC workstations, and I
    > found this when I was trying to buy an Ultra 25. I want to stay with
    > the UltraSPARC platform as the statistical app that we use (SAS) is
    > only available to us for this platform.


    Might I suggest that you pick up a Sun Blade 2000? They are
    currently selling (sometimes) on eBay for about $150.00 or less. Get one
    with two 1.2 GB CPUs, and you will have a lot of speed.

    And -- the Sun Blade 2000 will also offer you more options for
    disk space. Aside from the (slow) USB, and the FireWire, it will have
    an external 68-pin SCSI connector (a fully stand-alone bus, not shared
    by the inside DVD-ROM and possible optional tape drive), and two
    internal disk slots which will accept 1.6" high disks -- but they will
    be FC-AL disks (Fibre Channel - Arbitrated loop). These are faster than
    anything which you currently have -- and there is a connector on the
    back for more FC-AL disks -- up to 126 total counting the two internal
    ones IIRC.

    And Solaris 10 will offer you zfs (Zetabyte FileSystem) which
    will allow you to RAID multiple disks into a single larger disk which
    can then be split into as many partitions as you like -- with quota
    limits on some and none on others as you wish.

    Now, I'm using two 150 GB FC-AL disks (1" high) in my SB-2000,
    along with a rack tray holding seven external FC-AL disks on my personal
    workstation. Those happen to be 36 GB drives.

    My server (a Sun Fire 280R -- the same system board and CPUs as
    the Sun Blade 2000, but in a rack-mount format with hot-swappable disk
    drives and dual power supplies all accessible from the front. has two
    similar rack trays, but with 73 GB drives in them. I'm using "raidz2"
    which has very good checksumming so you can have a drive fail and
    replace it with no problems.

    I got (FWIW) a batch of twenty 73 GB drives at a hamfest earlier
    this summer for a total of $165.00. Of those, 19 were good, giving me
    1.38 TB of space, or about $118.00 per Terabyte. (It helped that I
    already had the rack trays filled with 36 GB drives. :-) Obviously, the
    trays could be filled with 156 GB drives, or 500 GB drives, depending on
    your need and your budget/luck.

    You could also connect your two 50 GB drives to the external
    68-pin SCSI on the back of the SB-2000.

    Note that I don't think that a SB-100 has enough CPU to make zfs
    practical -- especially if you expect the system to be doing anything
    else at the same time.

    > Any suggestions/advice will be highly appreciated.


    You have my opinions above.

    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 ---

  4. Re: Sun Blade 100 - Hard Disk options?

    On 2008-09-03, Doug McIntyre wrote:
    > axn000@gmail.com writes:


    [ ... ]

    > Solaris 10 would be much better for USB/FW disk connectivity than Solaris 8.


    Solaris 10 would be much better for almost anything he wants, I
    think.

    [ ... ]

    >>3. I forgot to mention that I have 2 Sun 611s with 50 GB disk in each
    >>enclosure hanging off the back of the Blade100 (I was lucky enough to
    >>configure the machine with a Sun SCSI card when I acquired it).
    >>Another option would be to go with a big external SCSI disk, but I
    >>don't know how cost effective this would be in comparison to an IDE
    >>hard disk. Are there any SCSI 500 GB disks that I can put into a 611,
    >>for roughly the same price?

    >
    > Heh heh. SCSI drives being roughly the same price will never happen.


    Certainly it will -- just not at the same time. :-) Wait long
    enough and the price on the SCSI drive will fall that far. Compare 9GB
    SCA SCSI drives on eBay with what they cost originally. :-) These days,
    the shipping costs more on those than the bid price to win the drives. :-)

    > SCSI drives tend to be much faster than IDE disks, and more reliable,
    > that you'd be lucky if the SCSI drives were only triple the price of
    > the IDE disks. (Last time I priced them, 300GB Seagate SCSI drives
    > were going for what, about $650-$800?). Not that you can use them, but
    > 450GB SAS drives are ~$900-$1000.


    Of course, 150 GB FC-AL drives are a lot more affordable now.
    I've got five of them in my systems at present.

    >>I do know that the Sun Blade 100 is getting a little old in the tooth
    >>- in fact the reason I am looking to add disk to this machine is that
    >>I found out that Sun has EOL'd all the UltraSPARC workstations, and I
    >>found this when I was trying to buy an Ultra 25. I want to stay with
    >>the UltraSPARC platform as the statistical app that we use (SAS) is
    >>only available to us for this platform.

    >
    > If you want to get lots of disk space, SAN, NAS or SCSI are probably
    > going to be your best bet.


    Or FC-AL -- if he gets a used Sun Blade 1000 or 2000 -- or a Sun
    Fire 280R if he can put up with the fan noise. :-)

    > Not that SAN or SCSI are that cheap
    > to implement. NAS might not cut it for you, but for the short term
    > solution, can be very cheap and effective to get you disk space.
    >
    > One option that is going to cost more than its worth I think is to try
    > to find a RAID cabinet that takes IDE disks in, and puts out a SCSI
    > interface for the backend. But I think you'd end up paying $1k's
    > for not all that much storage.


    Agreed.

    > Alternatively, as a more frankenstein level, there are some IDE to
    > SCSI bridge cards that could take a large IDE drive and present it as
    > a SCSI interface to the system. Same sort of thing as the above RAID
    > cabinet, but more low level. I've heard of some making them work in sparcs.


    I've got one converting a DVD-RW drive into 50-pin SCSI mounted
    in my Sun Blade 2000 at present. You can boot from it, use it from
    Solaris 10 without problems, and burn CDs or DVDs with it.

    I've not tried one for converting a disk drive instead of a DVD
    drive, but if the maker says that it should work, it probably will. The
    maker of the one which I am using is ACard.

    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 ---

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