Sun x4540 in action

So, the x4540 (I still think “Thumper” is a cooler name) has arrived and we’ve got it in action. We managed to dig up some fairly bizarre-looking 240VAC power gear, complete with strange connectors and pre-SNMP PDUs. (I’ll post pictures when I get a chance.)

Overall I’m pretty happy with the unit. The build quality is very good, connectivity (quad on-board gigabit ethernet, iLO, serial console) is nice and expansive and the box seems very fast. There are some caveats, though: out of the box, the server will seemingly display BIOS and POST information to the main video output (a VGA port), but will not show the operating system loading over it — instead, you have to use the serial console. Which, I think, is kind of prehistoric. The server is also quite noisy; much noisier than anything else we have in the server room with the possible exception of the SATAbeasts.

But, those are fairly minor inconveniences when you can see this via top:
load averages: 0.02, 0.02, 0.02; up 11+01:15:33 13:43:40
48 processes: 47 sleeping, 1 on cpu
CPU states: 99.8% idle, 0.0% user, 0.2% kernel, 0.0% iowait, 0.0% swap
Memory: 32G phys mem, 1181M free mem, 4103M total swap, 4103M free swap

And,

[cwaltham@grinder ~]$ df -h | grep pool
pool1 3.6T 286G 3.3T 8% /vol1
pool2 4.5T 30K 4.5T 1% /vol2
pool3 4.5T 30K 4.5T 1% /vol3
pool4 3.6T 29K 3.6T 1% /vol4

16.2 TB usable is very nice, indeed! I am not yet happy with the I/O performance we’re getting out of them as NFS datastores, but — and this is a big but — I’m currently limited by uplink capacity to the Thumper itself. That is, the Thumper is connected to a 24-port Cisco 3500 series, which has a single gigabit uplink to a Catalyst 6500, which in turn has the other NFS filers connected. So far, I’ve only managed to get about 10MB/sec sustained over that link:

grinder_nge1

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