New Dogs, New Tricks – Thinking About Sun SPARC Enterprise Server Configuration

James Hsieh, OPL Engineering


In my many years of working with Sun equipment (I started off with an old Motorola-based Sun 2/50 server), each new generation of systems never ceases to impress with how much more functionality we can cram into ever smaller and smaller packages.  It's not just speed and performance (though that certainly is important) – it's things like domaining, fault management, and administration of system resources.

Take for example Sun's landmark E10k server, introduced just over a decade ago in 1997.  It was Sun's first example of a system with the ability to divide system resources up into hardware domains, and use an external service processor to manage resources and provide advanced hardware diagnostics in the event of a hardware failure.  It also took up a fairly hefty footprint in terms of space, power, and cooling (not to mention you could hear the fans for quite some distance).   

Just a decade later, we are now putting many of those same hardware and domaining capabilities into servers that are as small as 6 RU (rack units) in space.  This is the new Sun SPARC Enterprise M4000/M5000/M8000/M9000 server line.  These servers are a great achievement in technology.  It means we can bring these capabilities to people who never were able to have them because of space, size (and of course, cost).

These capabilities, however, have always caused a bit more complexity when it comes to configuration.  Because you can carve up the hardware resources in different ways between different domains, you've needed to follow rules with regards to placement of things like CPUs, memory, and IO.  With the new capabilities in the smaller packages, we now have people who have never been presented with a system with such flexibility – and configuration rules.

A big part of my role at Sun, working for Sun's Systems Group, is understanding what issues are being faced working with the Sun SPARC Enterprise servers.  And I've seen plenty of people struggling with the flexibility in configuration that these servers provide.  So I am working (along with a few friends and the crack Sun BluePrints technical writing staff) to publish a Sun BluePrints article to help take some of the challenges out of the configuration of the Sun SPARC Enterprise M4000/M5000/M8000/M9000 servers.  We're well along in the task, and we hope to have something out for your reading pleasure soon.  Keep checking back with us!

--James

Comments:

Might was an understatement, but educational, like the pic though
chuck

Posted by Chuck on September 24, 2008 at 11:30 AM PDT #

Thanks for your information, i have read it, very good!

Posted by ed hardy clothing on November 01, 2009 at 08:54 AM PST #

well sun's E10k server is really tunes very fine with all the latest routers and operating system, it was a very good innovation which will really calls for a rapid technological changes,using the external service processor is a better way and it will work surely.

Posted by french mastiff on February 10, 2010 at 05:17 PM PST #

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