[rescue] Sequent NUMA-Q 2000

Skeezics Boondoggle skeezics at q7.com
Tue Jun 10 19:47:38 CDT 2003

On Wed, 11 Jun 2003, Gavin Hubbard wrote:

> I've got an opportunity to rescue[1] what I think is a complete Sequent
> NUMA-Q 2000 system. I've done an audit and it is a very basic system
> with a single PPro quad, 2GB of RAM, and a stack of FC-AL options (it
> was connected to a separate EMC array). In its previous life it was a
> glorified fileserver that managed the NZ driver licensing databases.

Huh.  Neat.  I know a kernel banger over at Seque^H^H^H^H^HIBM and have
had a tour of their facilities... pretty neat place[1], and kind of a neat
machine, despite their poor choice of CPU. :-)  A couple of the colleges
around here had old 16- and 20-way Sequents running as news servers; the
guys at my last job were such pack rats they still had multiple copies of
the Dynix sources online and on tape in the vault - years after the last
functioning machine was carted away.  Hell, they still had the last box of
paper that had been through the printing console they had attached to it,
sitting off in the corner of the machine room...[2]

> Given the low hardware configuration and lack of documentation or vendor
> support, is this system of sufficient architectural significance to
> preserve? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

I could probably hook you up with some email addrs of guys that did Dynix 
stuff, if you were curious for more details... personally, though, that's 
a hell of a lot of hardware for just four PPros.  (Said the guy with a 
4200W 8-way 60Mhz Sparc... uh... :-)

> [1] System is at a managed hosting centre and I've been asked to dispose
> of it.

Well, what would the BOFH do?  1.  Unplug cords.  2.  Remove several floor
tiles.  3.  Push.  4.  Replace tiles.  Hee hee. :-)

-- Chris

[1] Their manufacturing floor was really nice.  But walking from building
to building through their cube farms was *bizarre* - it made me dizzy... I
felt like Gulliver, going from one huge room where the walls were all 4'
high to the next where the cubes were all 6' high, then through another 
with short walls, etc.

[2] My old job was great.  The aforementioned box of printed console
output was discovered as we pulled out miles of thick- and thin-wire
Ethernet cabling from under the floor.  They had VAX 11/750 diagnostic
microcode in /usr/src - and there hadn't been a VAX-11 on campus for ten
years.  Piles and piles of 9-track tapes, and no 9-track tape drive.  
Mountains of old OS sources, documentation, and accumulated bits and
pieces from the 70s and 80s... it was really amazing to do an "ls -l" and
see timestamps on files from 1982 - and that *really was* when those files
were last touched - still faithfully getting dumped to tape with the level
0's ever week. :-)  But the best thing is, a _bunch_ of their old machines
ended up in the hands of rescuers, including yours truly, because they'd
write 'em off the books and let staff & students have first crack at 'em.  
I wish more places had a policy like that!

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