22 January 2006, 18:36 by mark hoekstra

decisions have been made, the pile is divided

click to enlarge

Today is the third day I’ve been playing around with this enormous pile of Sun hardware. Things have come down and I guess the decisions on what goes where are pretty final.

On the pic above you see the once-will-be cluster ingredients. It’s an Ultra2 with one 200MHz CPU, 384MB as masternode and 5 times an Ultra1, 167MHz each and 128MB each. I still had this old 3Com manageable switch with 100Mbit uplink (which will go to the U2, which has 100MBit onboard LAN) and 10Mbit on each port (which will go to the 10MBit onboard LANs of the U1s). Then I also have this Shiva Atom console server. It’s gonna be quite a job to make all cables for that, but when I will, it’ll be one nice little cluster. Slow, but who cares? :D (I just want to play around a little with parallel computing)

Then, the two machines in my closet are two U1s out of the stack, also 167MHz each, but the nicest thing is, these 167Mhz models don’t have a CPU-fan. Both have 256MB, which is ridiculous, but well… I’ll see if I’m gonna change that when I have the cluster running (which can take quite a while, I need time and motivation to get going on that project…).

I made one of my 143MHz-machines a router for my colleague John, I’m installing it right now, it’s got 64MB and an extra 10MBit Sbus-card. And in my collection of Suns, that still leaves me with an U2 with 2×200MHz and 512MB… I guess I’m gonna install Solaris on that one…

In the end I only have left one chassis, an old 143MHz-one, which now is without memory and it already had a crappy CPU-fan, so that one’s for scrap…

Pfffff… I guess I’ve seen enough Suns for now :D time to clean up…

permalink - add to del.icio.us

  1. Goran @ 23 January 2006, 09:01 :

    Congrats on all the sun stuff. I know you’re in the industry But what advice would you give to someone who wants to get some free antiquated hardware from a corporation or company, without having to go dumpster diving.



    P.S. I know you’ve probably seen this, looking at your Sun hardware reminded me of watching it some months ago.




  2. markie @ 23 January 2006, 13:03 :

    Well, I do sell hardware as a part-time dayjob, but most of the stuff I get, I get just like a lot of other people by bidding on auctions and such. For my project of the router and bridge, I collected all the parts from auctions and such, including exotica like an sbus quad HME. Of course, I was able to put the icing on the cake with the parts from this pile, but the project would’ve been a go with or without the pile.

    The only tip I can give you is dare to bid on somehow peculiar lots :-) The U1 and U2 I got myself lately came with unknown specs and a couple of years back, I bought a SGI Challenge with unknown specs. Somehow it’s easier to buy cheap from sellers who hardly have a clue than the ones who do… (no offence or anything) It’s risky of course, but that’s the way I like it somehow. I do ask for info like serialnumbers and amount of ram-modules etc. to see if I can deduct how old a machine is, or what the minimum is I’m bidding on… :-)

    I do dumpster-diving myself if necessary, that way I got a collection of all sorts of cables, connectors and some very peculiar hardware.

    I do search around all kinds of auctionsites to look for stuff I want for the right price. I have been quite lucky in finding ads which’ve been placed in the wrong categories and such (I’m not kidding) and when I bid on something like that, the seller most of the time is happy someone is actually bidding :-)

    To get my hardware I use a combination of everything mentioned, some stuff I buy new, some used, some stuff I save from being thrown away etc… Anyways, good luck!

    Oh, and I did see the NerdTV-episode of Bill Joy and loved it! He and Andy Hertzfeld (and a lot of the other people featured too) really understand imho what it's all about, and that's not the money... I do have this soundbite of Andy Hertzfeld which sums it up quite brilliantly

  3. fouldsy @ 30 January 2006, 21:48 :

    Just come across your pile of Sun gear – like it! I ended up with 4 x Ultra 5’s a month or two back (http://www.fouldsy.com/?p=156) that are sat quite prettily by my desk. Started playing with Gentoo Sparc64 to set up an OpenLDAP server and tie in Samba, Open-Xchange, some kind of content filtering with DansGuardian / Squid, etc. but have kinda got sidetracked! Have OpenLDAP + Samba working quite happily across two of the servers, with a testing box acting as client logging in quite nicely and handling the required profiles + drives.

    Definately a good learning experience, though it’s bad enough on my 270Mhz Ultra 5’s with 128Mb RAM, so wouldn’t be too keen on those Ultra 1’s. Did you get anything sorted with clustering – it’s something I’ve looked over but looks horribly complicated, and I don’t really have any services to try running across it other than master / slave LDAP server.

    But, all good fun and has brought some new ideas in to mind for stuff at work. Nice site too!

  4. Ferret Simpson @ 9 February 2006, 22:12 :

    Now here’s a question. . Where the hell do you get your Quad 100mbit sbus cards? I can never find them on ebay, I check regularly. The Null Modem cable for my clie should arrive tomorrow, so once again it’ll be time to hack in, this time serially, to see if I can get DNS working. If I can, I’m one step closer to a webserver, or something else interesting.

  5. frequent_visitor @ 10 March 2007, 01:57 :

    Hi Mark,

    When you get a chance could you post a picture of one of the fanless Ultra 1s? I have never seen one without a CPU fan before.

  6. markie @ 21 June 2007, 23:31 :

    Oh hi frequent_visitor, it’s by coincedence I read this now, but sure I can show you (I love the question!)...

    here you go:

    fanless sun ultra 1 CPU pic 1
    fanless sun ultra 1 CPU pic 2

  7. ross @ 12 December 2007, 01:53 :

    Hi Mark

    im a 17year old student, i like working with networking and stuff and i would say i have an understanding of it, how it works and such, but when it comes to atchley knowing what i need and what will work well i have no idea :-(

    recently i just set up a network for myself and a block of flats that me and some colleges are staying it, its nothing fancy:
    d-link di-524 (has xbox compatibility)
    sitecom 10dbi omni antenna
    Renasis BA24 500mW Booster Antenna

    this setup covers about 300m diameter from my flat and cost me about £110 altogether

    but i only have a slow Internet connection and was interested in a multiple WAN switch/wireless router to incorporate into it but im having difficulty finding a cheep one, any suggestions?

    there are also about 30+ wireless networks in the flats so interference is a pain in the ass! any suggestions to solve that? i did put it on the channel with the least ones on that band.


  8. cangeek @ 19 April 2009, 14:56 :

    Heyo, a page on this website that doesn’t make me feel pathetic and poor :D
    every PC you have would crush my machines, though for they’re age i will say they are good. This page however, i think i can outdo :D
    for the grand total of $0, i’ve slowly aquired a nice Sun and SGI collection, including a maxed out ultra2, maxed out IPC, IPX, two classics and a LX[old, but cute and sturdy machines]. SGIs include a 1600SW with an AGP adaptorcard, a nearly maxed 320[no OpenLDI card in that], a decent little O2, and a decent Indigo2 and Indy. The rest of your website still makes me feel poor though D:
    oh hay, awsome Captcha! The meaning of life, The universe and Everything!

As mentioned in the Message from Mark's family this site has been made static. This means that it will be no longer possible to comment on his ideas and projects, but that we all can continue to cherish his creativity.

previous: getting along with the pile

next: even more Sun...