Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1



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Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Spendius » Sun, 20 Aug 2006 00:52:04 GMT

I've solved my "blinking spanner LED" problem, now I have
a brand new 400-MHz Netra that I would like to use to
install Oracle. But I'll need space: I only have a 20-gig
disk, and would like to know what is the simplest manner
to add disk space to this machine (as I said I know *nothing*
about Sun/Solaris configuration, and I wonder if there's a
way to plug a disk to this netra as easily as you plug an
USB external disk box to a PC...).

On the back of this machine I have 4 RJ-45 entries (A LOM,
B SERIAL, NET 0 and NET 1) plus 2 USB ports.

What advice could you please give me ?

Once again thanks for you help,

Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Tim Bradshaw » Sun, 20 Aug 2006 01:14:25 GMT

With a suitably recent Solaris you could use a USB disk, but they would
be very slow as it's some antique USB implementation, and there are
other reasons not to do this.

The internal disks are just IDE though, so you can install a pair of
replacement disks.  The controller won't handle anything bigger than
120GB so beware of that.


Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Richard B. Gilbert » Sun, 20 Aug 2006 03:18:18 GMT

Oracle recommends a minimum of five disks.  That's actual physical 
disks, not partitions, logical volumes, or any other such substitute. 
You can get away with fewer but performance could be terrible, or worse, 
under significant load.  They also make recommendations concerning how 
to lay out those five disks.  You need to be familiar with those 
recommendations if you are going to install and use Oracle!

I'm not familiar with the Netra but a quick bit of research tells me 
it's a small rack mount server with space for two internal disks.  It 
looks as if your only option for attaching additional disks is USB. You 
could give it a try but, if I wanted to do anything serious with Oracle 
(and why would you pay Oracle's outrageous prices if you weren't 
serious), I'd consider a box with at least a little more I/O capability. 
  Specifically, I'd be looking for something that would support at least 
two SCSI busses!! The disks on a Netra are SCSI but there appears to be 
no means of connecting an external disk to the bus. A gigabyte or more 
of RAM would be nice. If you expect a large number of concurrent users, 
two gigabytes of RAM would be even nicer.

Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Tim Bradshaw » Sun, 20 Aug 2006 06:19:37 GMT

On 2006-08-18 19:18:18 +0100, "Richard B. Gilbert" 
< XXXX@XXXXX.COM > said:

Well, you might want to *learn* Oracle.  Speaking as one who is 
currently running 4 replicated LDAP servers and associated 
infrastructure on some zones on a single machine, which is itself 
actually a VMware instance, all sitting on a single SATA disk on some 
generic windows box, I can see lots of reasons for running on HW which 
is other than what you'd use for production.  In particular it's tens 
of thousands of pounds cheaper.

They're not SCSI, they're IDE in an X1.  I suspect the maximum memory 
is 2 or 4GB - I have 1280M in mine.  An X1 with enough memory and some 
80-120GB disks should be just fine for learning Oracle.


Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Richard B. Gilbert » Sun, 20 Aug 2006 09:57:49 GMT

"Serious" hardware is available for far less than "thousands of pounds". 
  If you don't insist on new, state-of-the-art, hardware you can get 
"Enterprise" hardware for hundreds of dollars.  See, for example:
which is an auction for an Enterprise 250 currently going for GBP 150.

There's an Enterprise 4000 going for $200 US.

Neither of those is "tens of thousands of pounds". Either will support 
enough disks to run Oracle as recommended.

The best way to learn Oracle might just be to "do it right"!  Having the 
hardware that allows doing it right allows you to compare the behavior 
of the recommended layout versus the "low budget" two disk layout. 
(Assuming that you can generate a "realistic" load.)

Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Tim Bradshaw » Sun, 20 Aug 2006 11:40:20 GMT

On 2006-08-19 01:57:49 +0100, "Richard B. Gilbert" 
< XXXX@XXXXX.COM > said:

I meant the HW you might want to run a production system on, which 
probably isn't something 6 years old you bought of Ebay.


Both of these (especially the E4k) are large, hot, noisy machines.  Not 
the sort of thing you want sitting in your back room or by your desk, 
and not the sort of thing people will really appreciate putting in a DC 
environment while you play with them (well, not the sort of thing I'd 
appreciate).  An X1 is a 1u box, which is (relatively) quiet, cheap to 
run, and which can easily be found space for.

By the way, that E250 has *no* disks and they don't say what the memory 
or processor config is, but I bet the answer is `small'.  Things like 
3500s / 400s are probably just as cheap as an E250, even with memory & 
some small disks, but that's because no one wants something that hot, 
slow and noisy any more.  If you look you'll notice that the 1u boxes 
keep their value rather well cf the huge machines, and that's exactly 
because they're useful for things like this.  A few weeks ago there was 
a non-trivial SF 4800 config for sale on ebay (12CPU? & enough memory, 
though probably no storage) for something like 5k.  But who would 
*want* it?

Of course before doing a real deployment you want to test on 
semi-realistic hardware (I have more-or-less quit jobs because people 
refused to fund reasonable dev/qa environments, meaning that most 
testing was done on the live system, with resulting appalling business 
risks), but before that there's a stage where you want to find out how 
to drive the installer, what patches you need, how to write scripts to 
drive the system, what the commands are, blah blah.  That stuff just 
does not need huge iron in most cases (Cluster software is often an 
exception because you need the fibre disks etc).

I mean, really: I deal with big machines & enterprise software, but 
I've got an X1 (playing with zones and ZFS), an ultra 2 with an antique 
FC array (VxVM etc), and some U5s (Oracle, general playing) in front of 
me. The only unusual thing about them all is that they have memory 
configs which would have been considered very large when they were 
current production kit (and I suppose large IDE disks in some of them). 
 All these machines are useful for learning stuff or have been in the 
relatively recent past.  To argue otherwise is, frankly, just silly.


Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Richard B. Gilbert » Sun, 20 Aug 2006 12:45:12 GMT

im Bradshaw wrote:

The Netras don't appear to support a CD/DVD drive. That means a network
install which, in turn, requires a "real" system acting as a server. A
Netra would make a great second machine but hardly a great first machine.

I have a small collection of Ultra 10s myself; I bought them in order to
be able to set up NIS and NFS servers and clients and practice stuff I
had learned in a Sysadmin course I took about three years ago. I used
the "biggest" Ultra 10 to install Solaris 10 a few weeks ago.

If I had a choice between learning Oracle on a Netra or on an Ultra 10,
I'd use the Ultra 10. Two of mine have SCSI cards installed and I have
enough small SCSI disks (2GB-4GB) lying around that I could install
Oracle and set up a small database using the recommended layout.

Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Richard B. Gilbert » Tue, 22 Aug 2006 08:05:42 GMT

That seems like a pointless exercise!  What would you connect it to? 
AFAIK there's no IDE controller in those boxes.  And there's no way to 
connect a SCSI CD/DVD drive even if you could find one!  I suppose you 
could connect a USB drive but would the system boot from a USB device?

Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Doug McIntyre » Tue, 22 Aug 2006 13:53:42 GMT

"Richard B. Gilbert" < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > writes:

Netra X1 is IDE??


System Configuration:  Sun Microsystems  sun4u
Memory size: 1024 Megabytes
System Peripherals (Software Nodes):

ide, instance #0
            Driver properties:
                name='target2-dcd-options' type=int items=1 dev=none
                name='target0-dcd-options' type=int items=1 dev=none
                name='dcd_options' type=int items=1 dev=(135,0)
                name='pm-components' type=string items=3 dev=none
                    value='NAME=ide-controller' + '0=Device D3 State' + '3=Device D0 State'

Not that it needs the SCSI CD-ROM, but if you've worked in Sun/SGI/HP gear
for any sort of time, you probably have one already? Or PCs in the
olden days, as SCSI CD-ROMs were all there was at first. 

CD-ROM's are so slow though, so much easier working with ISO images
to do liveupgrades, or if initially, do a network install off your
jumpstart server. 

Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Tim Bradshaw » Tue, 22 Aug 2006 15:21:29 GMT

On 2006-08-21 00:05:42 +0100, "Richard B. Gilbert" 
< XXXX@XXXXX.COM > said:

The X1 is IDE: you can run a CDROM instead of one of the disks.  It's 
horrible because you need to have the top off the box, but it's doable 
(I've done it).


Re: Simplest way to plug disks on a Netra x1

Postby Richard B. Gilbert » Tue, 22 Aug 2006 20:40:40 GMT

OK, so there's a way to kluge it!  Neither the SCSI bus, if present, nor 
the IDE bus, if present, has any external connectors.  So you take the 
cover(s) off the machine, use a splitter cable to power the drive and 
connect it to an internal bus. . . .

It seems a lot easier to jump start it.

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