[rescue] best rackmount Sun (used) for $1k
skeezics at q7.com
Sun Jul 30 05:38:57 CDT 2006
On Sat, 29 Jul 2006, Patrick Giagnocavo wrote:
> > >What would you folks recommend, assuming I want a 4U or less Sun
> > >SPARC-based machine, 2GB RAM or more, for about $1,000 ?
> > >
> > $450 Buy It Now w/4x 450 CPUs, 4 Gig RAM, 2x 18 Gig HDs and include
> > rack rails... Of course, $90 to ship, but that's 2-3 day form CA, not
> > Ground ;^)
That's an awesome price. $450 + shipping for a fully-loaded box like that
is insane; not even 3 years ago they still cost $5K, *used*. If I didn't
already have a couple of them, I'd be tempted. :-)
> Assuming this has the same basic memory subsystem as the E250 and Ultra
> 2 (non-PCI version), I would have to pass. I found those too slow for
> some of the tasks I threw at them - this is for a lower-end production
> machine, not a rescue.
Was there a PCI version of the Ultra 2? I mean, the only PCI one I've
ever heard of was Pete Wargo's prototype box; every U2 I've ever seen is
Anyway, if you're not familiar with the specs, the memory in the 420R is
576 bits wide (512 + ECC) and runs at 112.5Mhz with the 450Mhz CPUs (4:1),
but runs at 120Mhz with the 360Mhz CPUs... which is why I always wished
Sun would qualify the 480Mhz CPUs (that were only available for the E450)
so you could run them in the 420R at 4:1 and get the faster bus speed
(120Mhz was the fastest UPA implementation shipped?) and have the bigger
8MB cache... Ah, well.
> Come on, I am willing to spend up to 10 honeybees here ... don't give me
> this low-end stuff :-)
The sub-$1k 280R's are almost always going to contain 750's or 900's - and
possibly the early 900's that weren't copper and had some bugs, as I
recall? A 280R with the 900Mhz "cu" US-3's, or the 1050's or 1200's, are
almost always more than $1k, since those are still very capable machines.
We still run those in production at $WORK.
I got some of the first batch of 420Rs when they were first out, in early
2000. With the exception of the awful connector used for the memory riser
card  the 420R is still a great machine. It's a little long in the
tooth now, but it's 4-way (nice for threaded apps), is PCI (including a
64-bit, 66Mhz slot), has that big fat wide memory path and fairly low
latency (the E450 is the fastest 4-way US-II box but it sure doesn't fit
in 4U of rack space! :-) and it's a real workhorse. I ran them in a
production environment for four years continuous duty with > 5 nines of
Old SPARCs still pack plenty of punch. In 1995-96 I was on the team at
the largest ISP in the PNW and we learned first hand just how much abuse a
SPARC box could take. I've seen 110 interactive shell users on a SS5 when
"fast" Pentium machines fell over completely at 30 or less. I've seen
SS20's that processed 450,000 emails a day for 25,000 users. I've built
one of the first web servers in the world to handle a million hits a day
with NCSA (or early Apaches) on SunOS 4, with 120 virtual domains on one
SS20. I've run a farm of four 420Rs behind a LocalDirector that sustained
over 10,000 http connections/sec (through peaks that lasted 8 hours a
night) with 100% uptime over a year. I've seen things you people wouldn't
believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C
beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments
will be lost in time like tears in rain...
 That connector was the one nasty flaw in the 420R; a Sun engineer
told me directly it was a dreadful mistake they'll never make again!
 I still have two 420Rs and two 220Rs here at home. That nasty heat
wave affected us here last week and I couldn't keep the computer room cool
enough, and ruined my 352-day uptime streak - almost a year since we had a
power failure that outlasted my UPSes - by having to shut down. Damn!
Even at home, I *scoff* at those who "settle" for 5 measly nines. Never
reboot! Never surrender! :-) Of course, with old machines, you never
know what's going to not come back up once you shut it down...
 I read that Apache on the new T1 chip w/32 threads handled 20,000
connections/sec in an early benchmark run. It's phenomenal to think that
after just three years I could have replaced those 420Rs with just a
single 1U box that eats less than 300W? Amazing...
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