Angelo DiNardi

Doin' shit on the web since 1995.

Oh Solaris!

20 January 2009

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.