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Re: Hardware question (urgent)

On Mon, 27 Nov 2000, Andreas Tille wrote:

> We have got a certain promotion offer which includes:
>   2 x 400MHz UltraSPARC-II CPUs, 2MB E-cache
>   2048MB memory
>   4 x 36GB 10000RPM UltraSCSI disk drive (hotswap)
>   Sun StorEdge DVD-ROM 10 drive
>   2 x 360 Watt Power supplies

sounds like a very nice toy :)

> We want to use this as server for dynamic web content using Zope
> and PostgreSQL as well as ftp server.  The question is:  Does Debian
> GNU/Linux support RAID features on this system.  The salesman claims
> to be responsible only for Solaris and I'm on my own with Linux.

I wouldn't expect you to have any problems using the 2.2 software raid support.
i haven't heard of anyone doing it on sparc hardware, but i can't think of any
reasons it should break, either. it's a pretty straightforward thing to do, it
doesn't depend on any fancy disk or controller hardware behaviour.

> Anybody has a similar system running or has experiences with RAID.
> I was assured that dualprocessor Suns run best under Linux before.

on the other hand, i'd be wary of expecting equivalent or better performance
from Linux as from Solaris, at least under 2.2. Solaris is famous for good
scalability. Sometimes this means that the damn thing is just too bloody heavy
in the single processor case -- the Solaris kernel architecture certainly makes
a lot of non-lightweight decisions (a recent simple example would be the
poll(2) behaviour discussed on l-k; another would be the whole Solaris LWP
flap and the concommitent *absurd* context switch times). 

But 2.2 has some fairly serious issues with lock granularity in the network
code.... upshot is, 2.4 runs a hell of a lot more smoothly on multiprocessor
systems than 2.2 does (it was a user-noticable change on my friend's dual pII).
I don't know what the state of 2.4 on sparc64 is, but i wouldn't want to commit
to Debian/SPARC unless i was sure the kernel was cool. But if that's good, i'd
go for it and bet on being able to work out everything else.

You can always consider the Debian/Solaris stuff :)

Solaris isn't that bad. I mean, it sucks and it's a pain in the ass. But it's
the most civilized thing that's not Linux :) you could be stuck running AIX or
HP-UX ... (double-ugh)

I'd buy the system, give Debian a fair shot, and know you can always suffer and
fall back on Slowlaris if you must.

Ari Heitner

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