The first of three sun V20zs was decommissioned tonight. These were all surplus, and they sat for probably a year until I actually got around to dispositioning them. I think the machine failures of my sparc sun hardware were lining up. The sparc 2 I had been using as my gateway router failed due to bad cache, and I had replaced it with an ultra 5. The dual 50MHz sparc 20 was already long in the tooth, and a drive was starting to fail. I needed some place to land a new mail server, and I figured I’d create a virtual one, so I could collapse it to another VM host when the time came.

It served well while I got faster and more capable machines online. I even ran Xen on it for a time until I got newer x2200m2s online. Although the Opteron 250s in the v20z were 64-bit with a whopping 8GB of RAM, they didn’t support hardware virtualization, so I was paravirtualized only.

I recall the I/O under Xen PV being decent, with times comparable between bare metal and a DomU. Build times for NetBSD-6.0 were a little over 2hrs on bare metal, and under 2hrs on a Linux DomU running under NetBSD Dom0. Obviously I/O bound, and some help from Linux’ FS caching subsystem doing a better job than NetBSD. 🙂

The service processor (remote management module) on the v20z was an embedded PPC running Linux, with an oddball CLI on it. I still had to deal with stupid PCisms like having to attach to the console and go to BIOS to change settings, but it was definitely an improvement over run-of-the-mill PC hardware.

One of the two remaining V20zs is running Joyent’s SmartOS system, primarily for fiddling with ZFS on a pile of SCA drives. The other V20z is unpowered and will be examined before being added to the stack later this week to see if it has any 2GB DIMMs to donate to the SmartOS cause. (and maybe get a dmesg and openssl benchmark.)

The V20z was an example of PC architecture taking a step up into serverhood, with the first generation Opteron kicking Intel while it was floundering with the Pentium 4. These machines still seem to be plenty fast to me, and one of the reasons I’m ditching them is that I’m finally getting a handle on just how much more CPU power newer systems have, not to mention power efficiency gains. I/O continues to be a sore point, and these are still SCA systems, so they are not trivially upgraded to SSDs. My kill-a-watt measurements showed 230W idle, and 275W while active.

Heh. The second system on the kill-list has only four 512M DIMMs. It will head onto the ice floe tomorrow after a disk yank and SP reset. But not before yanking 4GB of RAM from the first system to put into the remaining V20z. 🙂

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