VOGONS


Sun Microsystems Sparc 5 to the Max

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First post, by Intel486dx33

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It was a Saturday morning in 1990's and I was on my way to the local computer store.
I stopped by an old friends warehouse in Silicon Valley who was a computer liquidator reseller.
He would purchase computers from companies that went out of business in Silicon Valley.
He had all kinds of neat stuff in his warehouse.
When I was in computer education school a fellow student introduced me to this guy.
At first I was just interested in old PC stuff. He had allot of UNIX computers too that I knew nothing about.
Eventually I would get into UNIX computers and purchase some from him.

He had HP 9000, Next, SGI, Digital, Sun Microsystems, etc.
All kinds of neat stuff from dumb terminals to desktops and workstations.

So this day I stopped by his warehouse to say "hello" and browse around.
He said he had a new load of Sun Microsystems computers. I asked him if he had any "Sparc 5"
and he said "Yes" to my amazement as these were still very popular computers to have.
So he showed me two Sparc 5 that were fully loaded with ram and cards.

So I said "I'll buy them"
I did not even ask how much I just knew I wanted them.
He gave me a great deal and I took them home.

They were loaded with Color frame buffers ( Video cards )
lots of ram ( 256mb I think )
and two empty harddrive sleds which I populated with two 9gb SCSI drives.

I hooked these up to my Dual Sun 20-inch monitors and began to load these with Solaris 2.6
These worked great and were my favorite computers for a long time

Here are some Photos:
Date around 2003

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Last edited by Intel486dx33 on 2021-06-04, 10:50. Edited 4 times in total.

Reply 1 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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More photos:

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Reply 2 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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Even more photos:

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Reply 3 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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Some more photos:

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Reply 4 of 37, by matze79

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Welcome to the Sun Club 🤣

Nice Machines

https://dosreloaded.de - The German Retro DOS PC Community
https://www.retroianer.de - under constructing since ever

Co2 - for a endless Summer

Reply 5 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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matze79 wrote on 2021-06-04, 10:49:

70D99F91-1E49-41A1-96CA-5CB9A0ADD937.jpeg

Welcome to the Sun Club 🤣

Nice Machines

Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s.
I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for some of the Windows NT admins.
They hired a computer education consulting company to teach a Solars 2.6 class.
The consulting company brought in some Sun Blade 1’s which was the first time I saw these computers.
They were a new product from Sun Microsystems that had just came out.
Of course I had to benchmark it and regression test it while taking the Solaris class.
I think they had Intel Pentium 500mhz CPU’s.
128mb of ram and two hard drives.
We setup disk mirroring on these workstations and then began to hammer it.
X86 Solaris held up well and it did not crash or break.

Reply 6 of 37, by BloodyCactus

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very cool. I had a pizzabox sparcstation5-110 i spent years looking for a 170mhz cpu for that, never found one. It sat next to my HP C240 with its PA-Risc cpu that was really neat. Liked Solaris much more than HPUX ha! 😀

--/\-[ Stu : Bloody Cactus :: http://kråketær.com :: http://mega-tokyo.com ]-/\--

Reply 7 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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BloodyCactus wrote on 2021-06-04, 12:17:

very cool. I had a pizzabox sparcstation5-110 i spent years looking for a 170mhz cpu for that, never found one. It sat next to my HP C240 with its PA-Risc cpu that was really neat. Liked Solaris much more than HPUX ha! 😀

Yeah, I think the 170mhz CPU came in the Sparc 5.
I had an HP Class workstation on the floor next to the Sparc 5 in the photo.
I like both HP 9000 and Sun computers.
It was a Great time in Silicon Valley back in 1990’s
That’s when the UNIX computer companies dominated Silicon Valley. ( HP, Sun, SGI ).
They had big computer campuses everywhere.

The main old HP headquarters campus was purchased by Apple which they demolished and built the the New Apple Space ship campus on the lot.
And Facebook is now in the old Sun Microsystems campus.

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Reply 8 of 37, by megatron-uk

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-06-04, 11:02:
Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s. I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for […]
Show full quote
matze79 wrote on 2021-06-04, 10:49:

70D99F91-1E49-41A1-96CA-5CB9A0ADD937.jpeg

Welcome to the Sun Club 🤣

Nice Machines

Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s.
I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for some of the Windows NT admins.
They hired a computer education consulting company to teach a Solars 2.6 class.
The consulting company brought in some Sun Blade 1’s which was the first time I saw these computers.
They were a new product from Sun Microsystems that had just came out.
Of course I had to benchmark it and regression test it while taking the Solaris class.
I think they had Intel Pentium 500mhz CPU’s.
128mb of ram and two hard drives.
We setup disk mirroring on these workstations and then began to hammer it.
X86 Solaris held up well and it did not crash or break.

Not quite.

The Sun Blade desktop line were all UltraSPARC based and replaced the earlier UltraSPARC based Ultra desktop series (which itself replaced the earlier non-UltraSparc based desktop line, including your SPARC Station 5 and the like).

The UltraSPARC Blade desktop line itself didn't last long and was soon replaced by a new amd64 based Ultra desktop line shortly after. Sun invested heavily in the then-new AMD Opteron and it gave them a big road in to the x86 arena/Linux with the Fire series servers and the Ultra desktops, both of which were needed to replace the aging UltraSPARC architecture.

No-one I know seriously invested in Solaris/x86; if you wanted Solaris you generally wanted SPARC. If you wanted x86 hardware with a supported Unix platform by then you would tend to buy RedHat.

Then Oracle came along and pi$$ed off all of the long time Sun customers (like I was) by dropping all of the interesting stuff and continually Changing the licensing terms of everything else... And then we all moved to cheap Dell/HP boxes with Linux. The rest is history.

My collection database and technical wiki:
https://www.target-earth.net

Reply 9 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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megatron-uk wrote on 2021-06-04, 15:56:
Not quite. […]
Show full quote
Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-06-04, 11:02:
Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s. I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for […]
Show full quote
matze79 wrote on 2021-06-04, 10:49:

70D99F91-1E49-41A1-96CA-5CB9A0ADD937.jpeg

Welcome to the Sun Club 🤣

Nice Machines

Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s.
I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for some of the Windows NT admins.
They hired a computer education consulting company to teach a Solars 2.6 class.
The consulting company brought in some Sun Blade 1’s which was the first time I saw these computers.
They were a new product from Sun Microsystems that had just came out.
Of course I had to benchmark it and regression test it while taking the Solaris class.
I think they had Intel Pentium 500mhz CPU’s.
128mb of ram and two hard drives.
We setup disk mirroring on these workstations and then began to hammer it.
X86 Solaris held up well and it did not crash or break.

Not quite.

The Sun Blade desktop line were all UltraSPARC based and replaced the earlier UltraSPARC based Ultra desktop series (which itself replaced the earlier non-UltraSparc based desktop line, including your SPARC Station 5 and the like).

The UltraSPARC Blade desktop line itself didn't last long and was soon replaced by a new amd64 based Ultra desktop line shortly after. Sun invested heavily in the then-new AMD Opteron and it gave them a big road in to the x86 arena/Linux with the Fire series servers and the Ultra desktops, both of which were needed to replace the aging UltraSPARC architecture.

No-one I know seriously invested in Solaris/x86; if you wanted Solaris you generally wanted SPARC. If you wanted x86 hardware with a supported Unix platform by then you would tend to buy RedHat.

Then Oracle came along and pi$$ed off all of the long time Sun customers (like I was) by dropping all of the interesting stuff and continually Changing the licensing terms of everything else... And then we all moved to cheap Dell/HP boxes with Linux. The rest is history.

Huh, Maybe you are right. I could have swore it was an Intel Pentium III based computer running x86 Solaris.
I thought the Sun Blade 100 and 150 came in Intel and Sparc CPU models.
I know some Sun webservers came with an Intel Xeon CPU’s running Solaris x86
And Sun sold allot of these Intel based thin webservers. They were very popular.

Reply 10 of 37, by Caluser2000

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megatron-uk wrote on 2021-06-04, 15:56:
Not quite. […]
Show full quote
Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-06-04, 11:02:
Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s. I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for […]
Show full quote
matze79 wrote on 2021-06-04, 10:49:

70D99F91-1E49-41A1-96CA-5CB9A0ADD937.jpeg

Welcome to the Sun Club 🤣

Nice Machines

Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s.
I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for some of the Windows NT admins.
They hired a computer education consulting company to teach a Solars 2.6 class.
The consulting company brought in some Sun Blade 1’s which was the first time I saw these computers.
They were a new product from Sun Microsystems that had just came out.
Of course I had to benchmark it and regression test it while taking the Solaris class.
I think they had Intel Pentium 500mhz CPU’s.
128mb of ram and two hard drives.
We setup disk mirroring on these workstations and then began to hammer it.
X86 Solaris held up well and it did not crash or break.

Not quite.

The Sun Blade desktop line were all UltraSPARC based and replaced the earlier UltraSPARC based Ultra desktop series (which itself replaced the earlier non-UltraSparc based desktop line, including your SPARC Station 5 and the like).

The UltraSPARC Blade desktop line itself didn't last long and was soon replaced by a new amd64 based Ultra desktop line shortly after. Sun invested heavily in the then-new AMD Opteron and it gave them a big road in to the x86 arena/Linux with the Fire series servers and the Ultra desktops, both of which were needed to replace the aging UltraSPARC architecture.

No-one I know seriously invested in Solaris/x86; if you wanted Solaris you generally wanted SPARC. If you wanted x86 hardware with a supported Unix platform by then you would tend to buy RedHat.

Then Oracle came along and pi$$ed off all of the long time Sun customers (like I was) by dropping all of the interesting stuff and continually Changing the licensing terms of everything else... And then we all moved to cheap Dell/HP boxes with Linux. The rest is history.

Was it a gradual shift over to Red Hat or a "fuck it" let's get out of her kind of thing?

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.

Reply 11 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-06-04, 18:41:
megatron-uk wrote on 2021-06-04, 15:56:
Not quite. […]
Show full quote
Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-06-04, 11:02:
Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s. I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for […]
Show full quote

Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s.
I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for some of the Windows NT admins.
They hired a computer education consulting company to teach a Solars 2.6 class.
The consulting company brought in some Sun Blade 1’s which was the first time I saw these computers.
They were a new product from Sun Microsystems that had just came out.
Of course I had to benchmark it and regression test it while taking the Solaris class.
I think they had Intel Pentium 500mhz CPU’s.
128mb of ram and two hard drives.
We setup disk mirroring on these workstations and then began to hammer it.
X86 Solaris held up well and it did not crash or break.

Not quite.

The Sun Blade desktop line were all UltraSPARC based and replaced the earlier UltraSPARC based Ultra desktop series (which itself replaced the earlier non-UltraSparc based desktop line, including your SPARC Station 5 and the like).

The UltraSPARC Blade desktop line itself didn't last long and was soon replaced by a new amd64 based Ultra desktop line shortly after. Sun invested heavily in the then-new AMD Opteron and it gave them a big road in to the x86 arena/Linux with the Fire series servers and the Ultra desktops, both of which were needed to replace the aging UltraSPARC architecture.

No-one I know seriously invested in Solaris/x86; if you wanted Solaris you generally wanted SPARC. If you wanted x86 hardware with a supported Unix platform by then you would tend to buy RedHat.

Then Oracle came along and pi$$ed off all of the long time Sun customers (like I was) by dropping all of the interesting stuff and continually Changing the licensing terms of everything else... And then we all moved to cheap Dell/HP boxes with Linux. The rest is history.

Was it a gradual shift over to Red Hat or a "fuck it" let's get out of her kind of thing?

I never got into redhat.

Reply 12 of 37, by Caluser2000

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-06-04, 19:01:
Caluser2000 wrote on 2021-06-04, 18:41:
megatron-uk wrote on 2021-06-04, 15:56:
Not quite. […]
Show full quote

Not quite.

The Sun Blade desktop line were all UltraSPARC based and replaced the earlier UltraSPARC based Ultra desktop series (which itself replaced the earlier non-UltraSparc based desktop line, including your SPARC Station 5 and the like).

The UltraSPARC Blade desktop line itself didn't last long and was soon replaced by a new amd64 based Ultra desktop line shortly after. Sun invested heavily in the then-new AMD Opteron and it gave them a big road in to the x86 arena/Linux with the Fire series servers and the Ultra desktops, both of which were needed to replace the aging UltraSPARC architecture.

No-one I know seriously invested in Solaris/x86; if you wanted Solaris you generally wanted SPARC. If you wanted x86 hardware with a supported Unix platform by then you would tend to buy RedHat.

Then Oracle came along and pi$$ed off all of the long time Sun customers (like I was) by dropping all of the interesting stuff and continually Changing the licensing terms of everything else... And then we all moved to cheap Dell/HP boxes with Linux. The rest is history.

Was it a gradual shift over to Red Hat or a "fuck it" let's get out of her kind of thing?

I never got into redhat.

You should've you would have learnt something. My first dedicated Linux system was a HP slimline P2000MMX system running RH 7.3 with all the bloat removed. I mucked around with that for a number of years before I transferred to Linux as my daily driver. And that was that.

Instead of distro hopping I decided just to concentrate on one and get to know that well.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-06-08, 00:21. Edited 1 time in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.

Reply 13 of 37, by comp_ed82

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Very nice pizzabox photos there, OP 😀

I wish I'd taken photos of my SparcStation ELC (an integrated B&W monitor based Sparc4 designed to boot off of networks or external drives) before I lost the machine in a storage snafu.
I never actually ran SunOS or Solaris on that machine; the easiest OS to get up and running on that system was, oddly, OpenBSD.
It was actually my daily for a few months in the late 90s before I decided I wanted a color monitor machine to daily on.

Reply 14 of 37, by Intel486dx33

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comp_ed82 wrote on 2021-06-04, 19:54:
Very nice pizzabox photos there, OP :) […]
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Very nice pizzabox photos there, OP 😀

I wish I'd taken photos of my SparcStation ELC (an integrated B&W monitor based Sparc4 designed to boot off of networks or external drives) before I lost the machine in a storage snafu.
I never actually ran SunOS or Solaris on that machine; the easiest OS to get up and running on that system was, oddly, OpenBSD.
It was actually my daily for a few months in the late 90s before I decided I wanted a color monitor machine to daily on.

I had a Kodak DC290. ( 2 mega pixel ).

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Reply 15 of 37, by Caluser2000

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Screen shot of my Red Hat 7.3 setup back in 2014:

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There's a glitch in the matrix.

Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.

Reply 16 of 37, by megatron-uk

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Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-06-04, 17:34:
Huh, Maybe you are right. I could have swore it was an Intel Pentium III based computer running x86 Solaris. I thought the Sun B […]
Show full quote
megatron-uk wrote on 2021-06-04, 15:56:
Not quite. […]
Show full quote
Intel486dx33 wrote on 2021-06-04, 11:02:
Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s. I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for […]
Show full quote

Hey, I remember those Sun Blade 1’s.
I was working for a company in Silicon Valley and they setup a Solaris training session for some of the Windows NT admins.
They hired a computer education consulting company to teach a Solars 2.6 class.
The consulting company brought in some Sun Blade 1’s which was the first time I saw these computers.
They were a new product from Sun Microsystems that had just came out.
Of course I had to benchmark it and regression test it while taking the Solaris class.
I think they had Intel Pentium 500mhz CPU’s.
128mb of ram and two hard drives.
We setup disk mirroring on these workstations and then began to hammer it.
X86 Solaris held up well and it did not crash or break.

Not quite.

The Sun Blade desktop line were all UltraSPARC based and replaced the earlier UltraSPARC based Ultra desktop series (which itself replaced the earlier non-UltraSparc based desktop line, including your SPARC Station 5 and the like).

The UltraSPARC Blade desktop line itself didn't last long and was soon replaced by a new amd64 based Ultra desktop line shortly after. Sun invested heavily in the then-new AMD Opteron and it gave them a big road in to the x86 arena/Linux with the Fire series servers and the Ultra desktops, both of which were needed to replace the aging UltraSPARC architecture.

No-one I know seriously invested in Solaris/x86; if you wanted Solaris you generally wanted SPARC. If you wanted x86 hardware with a supported Unix platform by then you would tend to buy RedHat.

Then Oracle came along and pi$$ed off all of the long time Sun customers (like I was) by dropping all of the interesting stuff and continually Changing the licensing terms of everything else... And then we all moved to cheap Dell/HP boxes with Linux. The rest is history.

Huh, Maybe you are right. I could have swore it was an Intel Pentium III based computer running x86 Solaris.
I thought the Sun Blade 100 and 150 came in Intel and Sparc CPU models.
I know some Sun webservers came with an Intel Xeon CPU’s running Solaris x86
And Sun sold allot of these Intel based thin webservers. They were very popular.

You are talking about the 1, 2 and 4U Fire systems, the first (V20, V40) and second (X4100 etc) generations of those were mainly x86 based and most of the options were Opteron - though you could indeed have a Xeon version of some of them; but the Opteron systems were definitely their main sellers in that range.

You could get SPARC Fire servers, but they had become incredibly niche by then; usually big RAM requirements compared to the equivalent x86 systems or jobs that worked better on hundreds of (relatively slow) threads (data processing, e-commerce etc).

Whilst you could indeed get Solaris x86 on those Fire systems if you wish, by the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century no-one in their right mind would do that unless they were forced to use Solaris for homogeneity with existing Solaris infrastructure.

My collection database and technical wiki:
https://www.target-earth.net

Reply 18 of 37, by megatron-uk

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The original Netra line was mainly SPARC based (I inherited the syadmin duties of a pair of Netra T1's fronting an E3500 and an E450 in my first full time Unix adminstrator role).

I believe that the Netra name gradually got turned in to something that meant a telecoms grade server.

I think most of those later Netra systems were mainly rebadged Fire X-series servers with PSU and cooling requirements modified to meet the needs of the communication industry (no reliance on 110/230v AC, for example).

My collection database and technical wiki:
https://www.target-earth.net

Reply 19 of 37, by Caluser2000

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I was in a Sun forum at one time and the guys said Sun was so embarrassed that Solaris ran better on x86 hardware than their own.

I've got a complete Sparc edition of Solaris 8.

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Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-06-08, 00:21. Edited 2 times in total.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.