So since we CSH sys admins are getting rid of old stuff we’ve got laying around (anyone want a Sun E3000 server?) I grabbed one of the Sun Netra T1 150‘s we had. It’s a nice little machine (1U of solid metal) with a 440Mhz UltraSPARC-IIi processor and 1 Gig of RAM. So I figured what the hell, let’s install Solaris on this thing, it is a SPARC!

Now you have to understand, this thing only had the following connections to the world:

  • 2x Serial Console ports
  • 2x Ethernet (10/100)
  • External SCSI
  • 120v Power
  • 2x SCSI hard drives

Yeah. Makes it a little hard to get anything installed. I ended up first trying to do a network install of Solaris 10 from a Ubuntu linux machine I have. An evening of failure later and I still can’t get the Netra to net boot. I had done this before, by the way. I set up a “Jumpstart” server for CSH before to install these Netras years ago when we got them. It was running Solaris 10 since Solaris has nice tools for setting up a net install server.

I said to myself, “Self, why the hell don’t you just use a Solaris machine to install this other solaris machine!?” Realize though, CSH has gotten rid of most of it’s Solaris machines – since it’s arcane and a general pain to administer compared to Linux or even FreeBSD. So I picked Tonka, the CSH web server, to give this a quick test from. I ran the server setup script and in about 10 minutes I had my netra net installing from it. It was late and the version of Solaris that the disk image on Tonka was of was a few years old so I decided to kill it and try again the next day with a newer image.

So today I said to myself, “Self, don’t risk doing something stupid on Tonka, install Solaris 10 x86 on a VM and net install from that on to the Netra.” I wasn’t going to argue with myself so that’s what I did. It took me all afternoon to install Solaris since apparently VirtualBox on my Windows7 machine (it has a lot of RAM) and my Linux desktop machine didn’t want to actually do bridged networking or actually run the solaris install. Enough wasted time, and I just did the install on my MacBook Pro (4 gigs of RAM is nice for VMs). I set up a net install server on the VM and installed the Netra.

So now I have a Netra running Solaris 10 with an amazing 9+4 gigs of disk space. I’m still deciding what to do with it. Right now, I’m generally just figuring out how to actually set up a Solaris machine from scratch. I know enough to generally administrate Solaris when I have to, but it would be good to know more.

I might get around to posting some more of my Solaris explorations down the road. Since this thing has ZFS I might look in to an external SCSI caddy and use it as a backup server. It’s a thought.