Computer Biology 101

I know there were those who hated the experience of dissecting frogs (image removed from blog) in high school biology. Not me! When I was finished, I was more than happy to help the pretty, but squeamish, cheerleader with hers. Sadly, that did little to improve her scientific understanding, and even less to make her appreciate the ever-helpful geek assisting her. Indeed, I have always liked taking things apart. If only I was better at getting them put back as a functional whole.

When I first joined Sun a quarter century ago, we were expected to field-strip a Sun 2/170 blindfolded, add a multi bus card, load the OS, and deliver it to a demo in record time. Okay, maybe we weren’t blindfolded… That first year was rough for me, because documentation was incomplete and we were forced to beg the service engineers to introduce us to the innards. Heaven help us if we ever forgot to wear a static wrist strap, or stripped a thread!

I hope you didn’t miss our big announcement of next-generation Oracle SPARC servers last week. I have good news for you: you can field strip (in a sense) one of these new servers and learn a great deal about what makes it work, all without getting your hands dirty, or worrying about breaking something.

Go to the OLL (Oracle Learning Library) site and check out the “virtual dissections” available to you: Oracle’s SPARC T5 and SPARC M5 Server Technical Insights. While you are at it, be sure to provide your comments. Our goal with OLL is to create a community of users who give feedback so that we can do more of what works. You might want to look around the site in general: there is a lot of good stuff there.

—Kemer

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Kemer Thomson
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