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  1. #1

    Sun Microsystems Servers

    We are rather interested in the Sun Fire V210 Server - 1 * 1GHz UltraSPARC IIIi Processor from Sun Microsystems, as we have little hands on experience with sparc based servers what advantages do these servers have over the standard x86 architecture?. Would these be adequate substitutes for the Dell Poweredge Dual Xeons in a mission critical environment?.

  2. #2
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    Why Sun ?? ...
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  3. #3
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    In this day and age, the advantage of using Sun over some kind of PC platform is decreasing. Sun still has its uses, but it seems like mostly for proprietary software that must run on Sun.

    Chances are if you dont know if you can use Sun, you probably don't need to. Unless you need 32 processors and 16GB of ram, you shoudlnt need to go with Sun.

  4. #4
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    Question

    I agree completely with crnc. Out of curiosity...

    Why are you looking to move off of the Dell Servers?

    What OS are you running now and what application do you plan on using these for?

  5. #5
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    Sun is good if you want:

    * On-site hardware support
    * Solaris and its SMP implementation

    Sun hardware has its uses, but hosting isn't really one of them, when you compare "bang for buck" against x86 hardware. On the other side, if I wanted to run an Oracle database I'd put it on a SPARC, not an x86 box. Use the right tool for the job.

    Depends on what you want to do with it, but with a single CPU then you'll get better price/performance from an x86 box, unless you really want Solaris for a particular reason.
    Paul Civati
    Rack Sense Ltd UK Managed Services Provider
    Views expressed are my own and not those of the company.

  6. #6

    Re: Sun Microsystems Servers

    Originally posted by Sheriff
    We are rather interested in the Sun Fire V210 Server - 1 * 1GHz UltraSPARC IIIi Processor from Sun Microsystems, as we have little hands on experience with sparc based servers what advantages do these servers have over the standard x86 architecture?. Would these be adequate substitutes for the Dell Poweredge Dual Xeons in a mission critical environment?.
    I would consider Sun's new Opteron servers. Solaris 10 and Java SDK will be released in 64-bit native versions for Opteron later this year.

    You could contact Sun and ask if they have any introductory offers on their Opteron servers.


    Vidar

  7. #7
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    They have the advantage that when they are very loaded, they still work, while a PC will die.
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  8. #8
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    There's a negative sentiment about Sun servers and I don't understand why? Sun, despite all it's shortcomings (cost being one of them) makes a fantastic server.

    No affiliation with Sun btw just my personal opinion.
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  9. #9
    Originally posted by drhonk
    Why Sun ?? ...
    Because we have heard some exceptional things about them. One of our colleagues use to work with Hewlett Packard managing department payrolls a number of years ago, he has had some first hand experience with SPARC based systems and highly recommends them.

    We were also considering x86 based Sun servers, dual opteron. Unfortunately at $11,500 per server it's not financially viable.

  10. #10

    Sun pricing

    Don't forget that Sun are like Cisco or Oracle in that the price they publish is not the price you pay - you should be able to get 1/3 off. They're still not cheap but for applications that either require more I/O than a x86 platform can deliver, or lots of SMP, or like tons of CPU cache, the premium is worthwhile.

  11. #11
    Well, I'm particularly interested in what people have to say about this.

    I too am looking at Sun servers right now. I was looking at buying 2x SunFire V120's and one V210, but I haven't really looked much yet at all of what Sun offers.

    I really could use insight regarding Sun servers. The one thing that I have been repeatedly told though is not to bother with the x86 stuff yet.

    Apparently Solaris runs dog slow on x86. Everyone says that Solaris rocks, but only on Sparc. I don't know if that's true or not but I've heard it from many people so far.

    Any info people could offer would be appreciated. I was going to purchase 2 servers for DNS, which could also double for other stuff. Then one main server for http... and then some type of SATA NAS. Which I don't know if that would be Sun or not.

    This is mainly going to host just 1 big site. I'm not a professional host. It will be hosting a start-up portal/community service. That and maybe some of my own personal sites for fun. However I still need to anticipate growth so I am looking for some decent power with whatever system I purchase.

    Anyways, I hope you guys could offer some info as I'm totally new to this.

  12. #12
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    What is your motivation for Sun?

    I like Sun, I've done about 8 years of Solaris sysadmin, and Sun boxes are good for certain applications.. but I don't necessarily think hosting is one of them.

    Buy Sun for hosting if:
    - You want to take out good hardware support contract
    - You specifically need the good multi-processor o/s support
    - You specifically need Solaris for some reason
    - You're prepared for the higher cost of Solaris admin staff

    If you're going for a low end IDE and/or single processor Sun box then you'll be better off price/performance wise with an x86 Linux/BSD system.
    Paul Civati
    Rack Sense Ltd UK Managed Services Provider
    Views expressed are my own and not those of the company.

  13. #13
    Originally posted by Paul-Xensia
    What is your motivation for Sun?
    Quality - I want something that I KNOW will work out of the box. I don't want to have any doubts about compatibility or whatnot.

    Originally posted by Paul-Xensia
    .. but I don't necessarily think hosting is one of them.
    Why is that?

    Originally posted by Paul-Xensia

    Buy Sun for hosting if:
    - You want to take out good hardware support contract
    - You specifically need the good multi-processor o/s support
    - You specifically need Solaris for some reason
    - You're prepared for the higher cost of Solaris admin staff
    - I just want quality hardware
    - I don't really need that many processors
    - I don't need Solaris yet, but I have noticed that most apps are written for it or AIX
    - I don't plan to have any staff actually - as of the moment I will be my own administration. Like I said, I'm not a professional hosting company.

    Originally posted by Paul-Xensia
    If you're going for a low end IDE and/or single processor Sun box then you'll be better off price/performance wise with an x86 Linux/BSD system.
    I was looking at the V120 and V210 models. I think both use SCSI for storage?
    Last edited by Inspector Gadget; 03-17-2004 at 08:11 PM.

  14. #14
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    Quality - I want something that I KNOW will work out of the box. I don't want to have any doubts about compatibility or whatnot.

    Fair requirement - however, it's not that difficult to choose x86 and make sure it will work fine. FreeBSD and Linux both publish hardware compatibility lists, you can also search the list archives and find out if anyone has had any issues with certain hardware. If you go for standard architecture then you should be fine, just be careful with new architecture, I'm reading lots of comments about Silicon Image 3112 SATA RAID chipset for example.

    Why is that?

    They're expensive for what you get in terms of performance, for hosting applications an x86 machine is faster.

    - I just want quality hardware
    - I don't really need that many processors
    - I don't need Solaris yet, but I have noticed that most apps are written for it or AIX
    - I don't plan to have any staff actually - as of the moment I will be my own administration. Like I said, I'm not a professional hosting company.


    Are you already skilled in Solaris? If so great. If not, may be a steep learning curve if you are not used to SVR4 style UNIX.
    Paul Civati
    Rack Sense Ltd UK Managed Services Provider
    Views expressed are my own and not those of the company.

  15. #15
    Originally posted by Paul-Xensia
    [I]Are you already skilled in Solaris? If so great. If not, may be a steep learning curve if you are not used to SVR4 style UNIX.
    Well, I'm not skilled in Solaris yet, although I'm reading up on it like a madman.

    As for FreeBSD, I have used it with success, however I just have had too many problems with generic off-the-shelf hardware lately to want to go that route again. I've used FreeBSD on two systems so far. The first I had a lot of trouble with b/c of the SIS chipset. Despite the fact that the chipset is "supported" it just gave me hell.

    The second machine was actually built for FreeBSD itself. It worked reasonably well and I used it mainly for teaching myself Unix at the time as well as hosting my personal website. Still though I wasn't ultimately happy with it and it actually is now a Windows XP Pro workstation. So I've really yet to have any success in making a rock-solid Unix system. I recently tried to install the free binaries for Solaris and it just wouldn't work. The install froze everytime.. but I'd imagine that's just a hardware incompatibility issue as I only had one system to try it on anyways so it was a crapshot. I don't dislike FreeBSD at all... in fact despite ultimately loading XP on my last FreeBSD machine, I was fairly happy with it. However I feel that I'd feel more comfortable this time around with a professionally built and tested server b/c I have so much at stake.

    As for performance, how much of a difference is there?

  16. #16
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    However I feel that I'd feel more comfortable this time around with a professionally built and tested server b/c I have so much at stake.

    Fair enough.. just be prepared for the Solaris learning curve, for instance there is no compiler in the standard install. So you'll have to install GCC using a package, not a major issue, but just one of the things you'll have to pick up on..

    As for performance, how much of a difference is there?

    For a SCSI based Sun shouldn't be so bad, certainly not for something simple like DNS serving.. I've not really used any of the more recent Sun h/w just my experience that for comparative money you'll get a faster x86 box.. It shouldn't be a major problem though.
    Paul Civati
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  17. #17
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    sunfreeware.com will be your friend solaris is not THAT much different than a BSD os. I just sold my sun box recently though.
    Nick Twaddell
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  18. #18
    how does Solaris rank security wise? Is it a secure OS for servers?

    also will I be able to run most stuff on Solaris (Sparc): BIND, Apache, ProFtp, etc? Am I going to run into compatibility issues b/c of Sparc?

  19. #19
    cool.. I'm a "Junior Guru Wannabe"

  20. #20
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    its secure, bind, apache, proftpd, mysql and anything else you might want to run will run on solaris


    Originally posted by Inspector Gadget
    how does Solaris rank security wise? Is it a secure OS for servers?

    also will I be able to run most stuff on Solaris (Sparc): BIND, Apache, ProFtp, etc? Am I going to run into compatibility issues b/c of Sparc?
    Nick Twaddell
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  21. #21
    ok... also in terms of price, so far the V120 and V210's seem reasonably priced actually.

    I'm going to start a separate thread though to figure out exactly what I need.

  22. #22

  23. #23
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    how does Solaris rank security wise? Is it a secure OS for servers?

    It's as secure as the systems administrator makes it.

    No o/s is totally secure from a default install (OpenBSD try to get the nearest to that).. so there is always some work to do to lock it down and patch it up.

    also will I be able to run most stuff on Solaris (Sparc): BIND, Apache, ProFtp, etc? Am I going to run into compatibility issues b/c of Sparc?

    No.. most stuff compiles quite cleanly for solaris/sparc nowadays, and you have the option of sunfreeware binary packages, and even Solaris8 onwards ships with a load of add-on packages on some of the supplementary CDs.
    Paul Civati
    Rack Sense Ltd UK Managed Services Provider
    Views expressed are my own and not those of the company.

  24. #24
    i love the Sun 240'rs. For the price they screem. We run oracle portal 10g on these and they handle a 400 user system load.

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