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Posts Tagged ‘solaris’

Getting Started with Solaris 10 and ZFS

March 24th, 2007 11 comments

Solaris 10 LogoI’ve been itching to write more about Solaris 10 and ZFS now that I’ve got it working on my budget server. Unfortunately, I’ve been out of town this last week and haven’t had a chance to write much. Before I write up the full install and setup process, I thought I’d give you a little teaser.

You can get started at the Solaris home page. Incidentally, www.solaris.com will redirect you to the page on sun.com, in case you forget the URL. The first thing you’ll want to do is start downloading the x86 install disc image, because this will take a while. From the Get Solaris page you need to select the download option or sign up to have a software kit sent to you in the mail. If you have a DVD drive, I would recommend the compressed DVD image download if you’re running Windows. It comes in four parts, which are heavily compressed. Once you download all four parts, the decompression and disc creation routine will take quite a while. It took about an hour (if I remember right) just to make the image on my 2.4GHz P4 machine. Add burning time on top of that.

Once you have the install disc ready to go, the rest of the process is pretty easy. You can get an overview at “How to Quickly Install the Solaris 10 1/06 OS” and there’s a pretty good Solaris x86 FAQ available from sun.drydog.com as well.

Solaris 10 is Rockin!

March 16th, 2007 5 comments

I’m proud to announce that I’ve got Solaris 10 up and running pretty smoothly on my new AMD-based system. I had some annoying compatibility issues with the first system I tried, so I switched to the ASUS M2NPV-VM motherboard with an AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ CPU. This board has much better support in Solaris 10 out of the box. The onboard GPU (nVidia GeForce 6150) is recognized immediately as is the onboard ethernet. So much nicer to work with…

Asus M2NPV-VM motherboard

There are some other things that I really like about this board. It’s got four USB ports and Firewire on the back. There are also headers for two more USB and one more firewire port on the motherboard. DVI out it also nice.  Check out the expansion options below…

Asus M2NPV-VM motherboard 2

Another thing that works really well for my project is that there are 2 IDE connectors and 4 SATA connectors. I plugged the boot drive and the DVD-ROM drive into the IDE port (as master/slave on one cable). Four SATA ports is the bare minimum for what I want to accomplish, but it will suffice for the next year or so. If I run out of room quicker than that, I’ll add a PCI board or something.

A couple other cool extras that come with this Asus board…

  • Firewire bracket (for the rear openings in a standard case)
  • HDTV video out bracket with component outputs (the 6150 is capable of 1080i)
  • extra IDE cables and a SATA cable

So next up is the physical build process and then Solaris installation. ZFS setup is so easy, it almost doesn’t deserve a post. I’ll see if I can do some rough benchmarks for fun though.

Cheap Solaris Server with ZFS – Round 2

March 8th, 2007 1 comment

The new parts are on order now. I ran into some issues with the previous gear, particularly with the Intel integrated graphics adapter and the onboard LAN. I decided to go with an AMD setup because it’s been reported to work with Solaris 10. I chose the Asus M2NPV-VM motherboard, which even has an entry on the official HCL, even if there are scant details available there. I expect the video and the LAN to be recognized on install so I’ll be disappointed if that doesn’t work out.

The one departure I took was to save $20 and go with GeIL memory rather than the Corsair XMS sticks I was looking at. I’ve been buying Corsair for a couple of years now, but the good reviews on newegg.com convinced me to try the GeIL. The ones I picked come with racing orange heat spreaders, so they have to be fast, right? It’s still DDR2 800 (PC2-6400) RAM and should run at 4-4-4-12 if I push the voltage to 2.1. One of the things I like about Asus boards is the easy tweaking for things like this.

The main reason that I went with this setup was to really try and push the cheapest build possible to get close to 1TB of raw storage. The M2NPV-VM has 2 IDE ports and 4 SATA ports. I’ve got four 250GB SATA drives for storage and a 120GB IDE drive for the boot volume. I’ve also got a spare 250GB IDE drive (in an external enclosure at the moment) so I could potentially hook up 1.25TB of raw storage. That should yield 1TB in a RAIDZ pool (with single parity). So here’s where I am with the gear right now…

  • $84 – Asus M2NPV-VM motherboard
  • $95 – AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+
  • -$10 – combo discount on CPU/MB
  • $84 -GeIL 2x512MB DDR2 800 RAM
  • $70 – Antec SmartPower 2.0 SP-500 ATX12V 500W Power Supply
  • -$30 – rebate on PSU
  • $260 – 4x250GB SATA drives
  • $15 – shipping
  • Free – spare tower case, PS2 keyboard, mouse, SATA cables, Arctic Silver, IDE boot drive, etc.

So $568 total (assuming I can still drive a calculator) for 1000GB of storage. Maybe 1.2TB if I throw in the other drive (I already have a 500GB external – do I really need another one?). I would’ve been closer to $500 if I’d gone with something like the Celeron D or the Athlon 64 (non X2) and a slightly cheaper motherboard (w/ slower, cheaper RAM) but I figured the extra dough will save me some hassle when I’m all through with this. Considering that’s only $100 more than the external 1TB drives, I think I’m doing pretty well.

I think I’ll post some pics this time when I build the server. I always like seeing other people’s builds so I thought I could share mine with the world. In particular, I want to show some pics of the power supply (I know, I know – super geeky) because I really like the modular cable design on this unit.

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ZFS Missing from the Latest Build of Leopard

March 6th, 2007 No comments

According to the caption on this screenshot in Think Secret’s latest Leopard gallery, ZFS is not present in the latest build of OS X 10.5. This is a bit disappointing because I’m excited about the improvements in ZFS. It would be a bummer if the OS X port of ZFS didn’t make it in the final release. I hope that ZFS makes it back into Leopard.

Regardless, I’m going to continue my project to build a Solaris server using ZFS for the shared storage pool. I should be able to post more about that later this week or early next.

Solaris, ZFS, and Why OS X Rocks My Socks

February 17th, 2007 No comments

I’ve been away for a few days, but I’ve actually been pretty busy. One of things I’ve been working on is installing Solaris 10 on a PC at home so I can setup a ZFS pool using four 250GB drives. It hasn’t been too bad, but a few hardware incompatabilities have reminded me why I like OS X. Read more…

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