[rescue] best OS for SPARCserver 10

Curtis H. Wilbar Jr. rescue at hawkmountain.net
Fri Sep 12 09:31:47 CDT 2003

>From: "Mike Nicewonger" 
>> 128M would be short on RAM for Solaris... but with more RAM and a couple
>> of decent processors, Solaris isn't all that bad on a Sun-4m for most of
>> what he wants to do.... sure NetBSD and OpenBSD are going to be faster
>> due to their smaller footprints, etc....
>Under the parameters given *either* of the 'BSD's are still my preference
>and with the resources listed will *spank* Solaris. Besides I clearly said
>Solaris is a good operating system, just not what I would recommend for this

I'm sure that they will "spank" Solaris in most ways on that hardware.

>> I have an SS20 I still use from time to time with two SM71s running
>> Solaris 8.  It has SX video, and I even have Mozilla running on it
>> (will be switching to Mozilla Firebird on it for the improved memory
>> footprint).  It is acceptable for most of the tasks I use it for.
>That is indeed a pleasant machine. And as you pointed out in a maxed out
>configuration is not painful to use Solaris on. However I still contend that
>same maxed out box would positively scream with something lighter like the

It probably would.  In my case it was important to have the same OS and
environment as some server equipment.  Some compiles and testing had to
be done on it.

>> OpenBSD Sparc CDs are bootable (if you bother to buy the CD).  Not
>> sure about NetBSD... I've only played with that on a Sun-3/80....
>> painfully.
>Nothing wrong with floppy installs. *especially* if you do not have a
>bootable CD-ROM. Hence my pointing the lad at the CD-ROM FAQ. If you do not
>have a drive that is 512 byte block settable the install *will* vomit all
>over the place.

I remember that being the case with SunOS 4.X, but I thought Solaris handled
"normal" drives better.... and hence I'd have thought that NetBSD and OpenBSD
would as well.  I definately remember working with a few drives that would
work with Solaris and not SunOS... and I thought that had something to do
with the 512/2048 byte block issue.

>> >
>> >[0] Possibly the very finest of all the 4m machines IMHO.
>> hmmm... built really well such that I like it's overall construction
>> a bit better than SS20, but the SS20 has the SX video (sure, the
>> SS10SX exists... but they are hard to find), has 50MHZ MBUS and takes
>> SCA scsi drives (although still only powering them off a narrow bus...
>> but it is much easier to find large SCA scsi drives than 50 pin scsi
>> drives).
>The video is not an issue here it seems since he mentioned server duities.

true so for this instance the SS20 would primarily have an mbus mhz
advantage depending on the modules, as well as using more readily 
available SCA scsi drives.  It actually uses faster memory, but I'm not
sure if that has to do with the faster mbus speed, or if the memory
architecture is faster no matter what mbus speed a 20 runs at.

>As for ease of finding an SS-10SX, it's a snap. All I have to do is go
>downstairs and pet mine. :)

Well, I have the "next best thing" that a 10SX... a SS15SX !  (ok..
I made up that name everyone... to my knowledge there was actually
no such project/prototype).  It is an SS10 chassis with a SparcEngine
20 mainboard (which is an upgrade of the SS10 board layout to include
the higher mbus speed and SX video support.  Although despite having
a manual, I can't seem to get any mbus modules to run at 50mhz mbus
speed (according to OBP module-info command anyway).

>Frankly since I use my 4m machines as servers I am not terribly worried
>about any of the above points. The M-bus speed is suffient, I don't need big
>internal disk for an OS load and any file server duties can be handled by
>suffiently studly external diskage.

Not everyone would want to do that... so it gives the 20 an edge as it is
easier to stuff higher capacity storage into it than a 10.

>Several things I find better about the 10 over the 20 are the better case
>design. More robust power supply, better (albeit not by much) cooling. As
>well as no oddball sled to mess with finding for the hard disk. I will agree
>however that today SCA disks are easier to find than 50 pin drives.

OK... the case is more robust... I don't know if I'd specifically say a
better design... possibly.  Better cooling... hmm... I don't know...
maybe a SS10 vs a SS20 Aurora I, but an SS20 Aurora II has more open
vents... (although I do believe there was a (rare) replacement top cover
for the SS10 that increased vent opening sizes to allow more air through).

Given similar venting, I'd say the 10 may have better cooling due to having
a third fan.

Power supply more robust ???  I haven't had a failure of either a 10
or 20 power supply (although I do have one 20 power supply that won't
turn it's cooling fans but works the system fine otherwise... it didn't
fail on me though, I got it that way.... but I also have an SS10 power
supply that is simply plain dead that I also go that way).  What are
other exeperiences with 10/20 power supplies and general reliability ?


>> Depends on what your going to do with it... for most of the server
>> tasks he mentioned, it would be fine... although I'd recommend at least
>> a dual SM61 or faster, or if going uniprocessor, an SM71 (better yet an
>> SM81 or HS150).
>But you see he would not have to get *anything* else to run, and run very
>well, either of the 'BSD's.

Depends on what he has for processor(s) if he has SM30 I'd say most stuff
will suck on it :-).  I prefer to stay away from anything less than an
SM41, and much prefer the SM61 or better processors.  My personal
favorites are the SM71, SM81, HS142, HS150, and HS166.

>> Put a couple of HS150, HS142, HS166, or faster processors in one of this,
>> they run very nicely.  Dual SM81s are nice too.
>Question for ya Curt. Are you in any way related to Greg Woods? :)

Nope (not related any more to him than probably any other
list member here :-) )... why do you ask ?

>Mike N
>rescue list - http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue

-- Curt

Curtis Wilbar
Hawk Mountain Networks

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