Wednesday, November 22, 2006

T2000 vs bison

This wasn't a benchmark, or even meant as a test, but it was an interesting number nonetheless.

I installed bison today. As I have 3 different families of sytems (Sparc Solaris 8; Sparc Solaris 10; x86 Solaris 10) I have 3 copies of /usr/local, so build on 3 different systems. Anyway, after building bison (and the T2000 allows a very parallel make that some builds can take advantage of) I ran a make check.

The results were quite interesting. My sub $1000 Opteron 146 system took 107s. An old V880 (750MHz US-III) took 529s. The T2000 took a whopping 794s. This really isn't looking good.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Cheap sparcs and constrained configurations

I've recently been looking through the Sun server range, both to get some systems for present needs and to try and map out what is likely to meet our needs in the next year or two.

In some areas there are good matches and obvious choices. For example, theX2200 makes a phenomenal compute node, and the X4500 (aka thumper) is a phenomenal data storage machine.

But there are other areas where the choice is less obvious, or where what I actually want is a small variation to the configuration that Sun don't do. Here are some examples of the sort of things I want to do but that aren't available:

  • A machine at the lower end of the range, such as the X2100, V210, or V125, with redundant power
  • Much larger internal disk drive capacities, such as 300G drives in the V240 and similar, and 500G SATA drives in the T1000; these SAS drives really aren't helping
  • Some new machines with full-height PCI slots so I can use my old PCI cards and connect old peripherals
  • Something like an X2100 with 4 500G drive bays on the front (would make a great fileserver appliance)
In other words, more configuration flexibility, and less of the one size fits all mentality.

Things get especially problematic when you start looking at entry level sparc systems. Yes, application availability often means that we have to keep looking at sparc servers. And the available configurations aren't encouraging. The biggest issue is actually around disk, where the newer systems (T1000, T2000, V245, even the V445) are poorly provided for in terms of internal capacity and performance. In many ways, the V245 is a hugely retrograde step down from the V240. I really don't want to have to buy a SAN an FC cards to attach the machines to it, just to have enough space to load an application on them.