[rescue] Solaris on ARM: WAS: Wanted: Old Sun Hardware

Jerry K sun.mail.list47 at oryx.cc
Wed Oct 14 14:51:04 CDT 2009


See email reference at bottom of message.

This email was posted on the Sun ZFS mailing list on 19 June 2009, by 
Eric.Trimble at Sun.COM,  referencing a port of Solaris to ARM.

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actual message, with message headers.


Patrick Giagnocavo wrote:
> Joshua Boyd wrote:
>>> How about "if the system's CPU doesn't have out of order execution it is
>>>  old" .
>>> Maybe that is a better way to classify things.
>> Wouldn't that mean that Atoms and ARMs are old?
> OK to clarify:
> 1. I was only talking about Sun systems, which have never shipped Atom
> or ARM-based units.
> 2. I was unaware that OOE is not found on even newer CPUs; I thought
> that USIII and anything later had OOE.  My mistake (as I said in an
> earlier post on this thread).
> I think there is a distinction that would not have to be stated when we
> are talking about workstation and high-end server systems vs. embedded
> CPUs designed for power efficiency....
> --Patrick
> _______________________________________________
> rescue list - http://www.sunhelp.org/mailman/listinfo/rescue


Erik Trimble wrote:
 > Fajar A. Nugraha wrote:
 >> Are they feasible targets for zfs?
 >> The N610N that I have (BCM3302, 300MHz, 64MB) isn't even powerful
 >> enough to saturate either the gigabit wired or 802.11n wireless. It
 >> only goes about 25Mbps.
 >> Last time I test on EEPC 2G's Celeron, zfs is slow to the point of
 >> unusable. Will it be usable enough on most ARMs?
 > Well, given that ARM processors use a completely different ISA (ie. 
they're not x86-compatible), OpenSolaris won't run on them currently.
 > If you'd like to do the port....
 > <wink>
 > I can't say as to the entire Atom line of stuff, but I've found the 
Atoms are OK for desktop use, and not anywhere powerful enough for even 
a basic NAS server.  The demands of wire-speed Gigabit, ZFS, and 
encryption/compression are hard on the little Atom guys. Plus, it seems 
to be hard to find an Atom motherboard which supports more than 2GB of 
RAM, which is a serious problem.

Open mouth, insert foot.

The ARM port is now functional (and available). I would assume (though I 
can't verify) that ZFS support is part of the port.

There are a wide variety of ARM chips, in all sorts of stuff. Given the 
performance characteristics of some of the stuff I've been playing with 
over the last decade (and a pre-look at an ARM-based netbook), I'd have 
to say that any currently-available single-chip ARM-based system isn't 
going to be good to run OpenSolaris/ZFS on.

That said, I can certainly see some really, really good uses for 
ARM-based microcontrollers as the guts of an HBA.   They're likely good 
enough to do something like a tiny computer-on-a-board setup.  Think 
something like a Sun 7110-style system shrunk down to a PCI-E controller 
- you have a simple host-based control program, hook a disk (or storage 
system) to the ARM HBA, and you could have a nice little embedded ZFS 

Either that, or if someone would figure out a way to have multiple-chip 
ARM implementations (where they could spread out the load efficiently).

Erik Trimble
Java System Support
Mailstop:  usca22-123
Phone:  x17195
Santa Clara, CA

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