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Thread: Sun hardware compatibility?

  1. #1
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    Default Sun hardware compatibility?

    Hi,

    I'm in the market for a new (used) server, and though I've always loved the Proliants, I think I'm going to go with a Sun (Intel) box.

    I've seen SLES listed as a supported OS on Sun's site, and they even sell Sun Service Plans for SLES, but there's not even a Sun category in the HCL (which is supposed to also cover the Enterprise products). Any comments?

    I'm specifically thinking about one of the older Intel servers, somewhere along the lines of the SunFire V20z.

    Thanks,
    J
    J. Antman
    Dedicated SuSE user since October, 2001 (7.3)
    http://www.jasonantman.com
    http://blog.jasonantman.com

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Sun hardware compatibility?

    On Fri, 2008-07-18 at 17:56 +0000, jantman wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > I'm in the market for a new (used) server, and though I've always loved
    > the Proliants, I think I'm going to go with a Sun (Intel) box.


    Why on Earth would you do that? I'm just curious. We run both here.
    Do you want something with less functionality and less support?

    Sheesh... Sun will DUMP you like a HOT POTATO. Their solution
    to "upgrading" is ALWAYS, "buy a new box". Just fyi.

    >
    > I've seen SLES listed as a supported OS on Sun's site, and they even
    > sell Sun Service Plans for SLES, but there's not even a Sun category in
    > the HCL (which is supposed to also cover the Enterprise products). Any
    > comments?
    >
    > I'm specifically thinking about one of the older Intel servers,
    > somewhere along the lines of the SunFire V20z.


    Aack.. you want to dump one of the BEST hardware platforms for
    Sun's (obsolete and poorly designed) 1st gen platform?

    I'm sorry, Sun's new boxes are ok (if you can take the limitations
    of Sun), but do NOT buy one of their older ones.. don't.

    Our DL380 (name almost ANY generation) will run circles around
    ANY generation of Sun's x86 line. I can give you models if
    you want.

    DL380 = more flexibility, more options, longer term support, higher
    quality, better Linux support.

    Sun v20z/40z = Utter garbage. I'm curious how you even thought you
    wanted one of these?

    Sun x4200+ = ok (new ones with SAS drives and PCIe), but not nearly as
    nice as the HP line (SAS, PCIe, PCIe+PCI-X, hardware RAID, etc).

    Even though the HP is most likely cheaper in most configurations than
    the Sun, I'd easily pay DOUBLE for the HP over a Sun.

    Now.. if you're going to run Solaris, then fine, you might want
    the Sun because there are some interesting Solaris features even
    under x86 that only work on a Sun hardware platform. But again,
    NOT the v20/40z series... NO. However, most of those features
    have to do with very Sun specific things... and unless you're a
    total Sun shop... you probably don't know what I'm referring to.

    Sun's Linux page (if you must):
    http://www.sun.com/software/linux/index.xml





  3. #3
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    Default Re: Sun hardware compatibility?

    Ok... first of all... the box I'm looking for is for *personal use*. I'm talking in the sub-$300 range. So my options are (excluding those guys with the black boxes and the sideways "E") Proliant G1, maybe G2, or Sun. I work in a 99% Sun shop (all Linux) and *love* those boxes. The LOM alone has me sold, but they're also quite robust... the things will run forever. I also happen to... have quite a few friends at Sun, so I'm not too worried about support (even for used, EOL'ed systems).

    That being said, HP's Proliant support is the best around. I bought my first one (a G1 ML370) a few years ago, as a college student, and called HP tech support about getting HPASM running on SuSE. The call took an hour, but I ended up talking with an engineer who was doing the same thing with a bunch of ancient G1's in his office, and walked me through it!

    As to choice - for one thing, it's pretty difficult to find older used (G1 or G2) Proliants with a functional ILO card. I've had good experiences with Sun machines at work (and not only new ones - I'm talking ancient Enterprise series). Not to mention the fact that if they made a toaster that ran Windows, I'd buy one and get CentOS booting on it...

    Anyway, the main point of this post was to bring attention to the fact that the OpenSuSE HCL doesn't even mention one of the world's biggest server hardware manufacturers.
    J. Antman
    Dedicated SuSE user since October, 2001 (7.3)
    http://www.jasonantman.com
    http://blog.jasonantman.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Sun hardware compatibility?

    On Fri, 2008-07-18 at 19:46 +0000, jantman wrote:
    > Ok... first of all... the box I'm looking for is for *personal use*. I'm
    > talking in the sub-$300 range. So my options are (excluding those guys
    > with the black boxes and the sideways "E") Proliant G1, maybe G2, or
    > Sun. I work in a 99% Sun shop (all Linux) and *love* those boxes. The
    > LOM alone has me sold, but they're also quite robust... the things will
    > run forever. I also happen to... have quite a few friends at Sun, so I'm
    > not too worried about support (even for used, EOL'ed systems).


    G2 is pretty bad.. sigh... at least it's a P3 style Xeon.. but still
    considerably OLDER than the v20z/v40z you were looking at (and you
    know what I think of those boxes).

    If you live close to the Dallas area I'd probably give you a G2.
    (or a G3... at least you get gigabit if you can stand the awful
    P4 based Xeons).

    I do like the newer Sun boxes (the Andy Bechtolsheim series).
    The old Opteron ones are problematic (search the web and forums, of
    course the new ones will show in searches too... nothing is perfect
    there).

    > That being said, HP's Proliant support is the best around. I bought my
    > first one (a G1 ML370) a few years ago, as a college student, and
    > called HP tech support about getting HPASM running on SuSE. The call
    > took an hour, but I ended up talking with an engineer who was doing the
    > same thing with a bunch of ancient G1's in his office, and walked me
    > through it!


    I actually do NOT like the ML* line at all. You'd love for it
    to be the DL* line in a tower form factor... but it isn't... not
    even close.

    >
    > As to choice - for one thing, it's pretty difficult to find older used
    > (G1 or G2) Proliants with a functional ILO card. I've had good
    > experiences with Sun machines at work (and not only new ones - I'm
    > talking ancient Enterprise series). Not to mention the fact that if
    > they made a toaster that ran Windows, I'd buy one and get CentOS
    > booting on it...


    Do you need an iLO? Newer G2's (BIOS upgrade) and G3+'s allow
    you to redirect the BIOS out the serial port. We use Cyclaces/Avocent
    boxes for out of band. About the only things missing is hard power
    control, but many have PDU's with remote power plug mgmt....
    not sure if you really have to have iLO anymore. But YMMV. So..
    maybe you just need iLO for the out of band power mgmt? Ok... I
    can see that.

    >
    > Anyway, the main point of this post was to bring attention to the fact
    > that the OpenSuSE HCL doesn't even mention one of the world's biggest
    > server hardware manufacturers.


    I'd say that Linux support on Sun hardware is marginal at best.
    I even take odds against the WHQL certifications Sun did for
    running Windows on their boxes. IMHO, they're not the ideal
    platform for anything but Solaris (and even then, only with
    the latest firmware updates).

    I'm certainly not anti-Sun... it's probably the 2nd largest number
    of hosts here. And I do sorta like the new Sun boxes... just not
    the older stuff.. especially not the old v20z/v40z (they really
    aren't great... if you like those, I can only imagine what you'd
    say about the newer boxes).

    So.. I'm not anti-Sun, but to compare a contemporary Sun
    x86 box with a contemporary HP DLx80 box, I'll take the HP
    every time.

    G1, G2 series... eh.. there's a lot not to like. The
    hardware raid (not really an option for that with Sun btw)
    tends to deteriorate and probably won't last long on a G2.
    Also, the 100mbit interfaces are a bit constraining nowadays.
    What I like about the G2, is the fact that you can pick up
    the things fully loaded for less than $500 AND they can
    come with the 1.4Ghz P3 style Xeons... which is like having
    a 2.8-3.0Ghz set of P4 Xeons.

    But parts on a G1/G2 are GOING to start failing. We have
    a few still around here, but more and more are failing.

    Hope you find a machine you can live with. At this point
    I'm not sure which is better to me... a G2 (talking DL3x0 style)
    or the v20z/v40z... I really wouldn't want either. Even
    if the v20z/v40z has better quality parts (the Andy series
    has LESSER quality parts... but better features) than the
    HP, the platform is buggy. I'm surprised yours have worked
    well for you.






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