AMD Processors
Decrease font size
Increase font size
Topic Title: My new dual socket server / workstation, Sun X2200 M2
Topic Summary: Dual socket server
Created On: 08/21/2008 11:19 AM
Status: Read Only
Linear : Threading : Single : Branch
Search Topic Search Topic
Topic Tools Topic Tools
View similar topics View similar topics
View topic in raw text format. Print this topic.
 08/21/2008 11:19 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
Arwen
Lurker

Posts: 16
Joined: 08/21/2008

I was in the market to replace old workstations and servers. All run ether Linux or Solaris. I wanted
something that would both last 5 years and be usable in 5 years. My old boxes were noisy, so I
started using remote X and or thin client, with the noisy part in my home data center, (aka spare
bedroom).

What I found that met my requirements and desirable features is the Sun X2200 M2 server, 1U
rack mount. That kind of suprised me. Lots of other vendors came very close, and many exceeded
specific catagories, (like more disk slots). But, only Sun had the minimum. So far it's working out
fine, though I have yet to give it the "use it alot for months" test.

This is what I got from a package deal;
- dual, quad core Opterons, 2347 HEs, (1.9Ghz, 55 watts per socket)
- 8GBs of 667Mhz DDR2 memory, (2 x 2GB per CPU socket), 12 memory sockets empty
- 4 x 10/100/1000 Ethernet
- network management port, shared with "eth1" above, has built in remote KVM via web Java,
also has remote mounting of CD-ROM images
- serial management port
- 2 x 8 lane PCI-E full height, (or optionally 1 x 16 lane PCI-E full height, customer replacable)
- 2 x 3.5" SATA disk slots with disk mounting bracket, no disks, (also supports SAS disks with optional
controller)
- guarenteed to run Solaris x86 & Linux x86 & x64
- 1 U rack mount
- 6 USB, (2 front and 4 rear)
- video
- DVD / CD-ROM bay, un-populated

Here is my shopping list of features needed or desired;

- dual socket that supported quad core AMD CPUs, (but initially could be dual cores)
- at least 4 DIMM slots per CPU socket, and only half used for initial minimum 4GBs
- 2 PCI card slots
- 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 1 x 10/100 Ethernet, (or another Gigabit Ethernet)
- network management port, with remote power on / off
- at least 2 hot swap SATA disk slots, 3.5" form factor, prefer SAS slots with HW RAID-1
- no bundled disks, (I tend to use enterprise quality disks, not consumer grade)
- no bundled OS or applications, (which usually raises the cost)
- run Solaris x86 & Linux
- Not too much of a power hog
- rack mount 1U
- not too expensive
- no DVD / CD-ROM, (or optional)

Downside of the Sun X2200 M2, (in highest first order);
- Linux and Solaris x86 do not support RAID-1 on the built in SATA controller from N-Vidia. That
said, it appears someone wrote Linux tools that do work, but not currently part of the standard
Linux distrobutions. Sun does support a LSI PCI-E SAS card in it for RAID-1 under Solaris x86.
- Fans sound like a vacum cleanner on steriods until the speed controls kick in via BIOS. Then
quite reasonable sound levels, (meaning I could watch T.V. while it was loading the OS).
- The default IP for the network management port was not what it should have been. Nor was it
DHCP. Eventually went in to the serial management port and put in the final static IP.
- Internal SAS RAID-1 disk option is single port, not dual port per disk.
- No redundant power supply option. Not that my home has that cability, but it would be nice in
case one power supply died. Perhaps I will buy a spare.

For those interested, my remote X is a "fit-PC" paper back book sized PC. It's quiet, low power (5
watts), and is currently running Gentoo. Runs XDCMP pretty fast.
My thin client is a SunRay 1, (Sun Ray Server Software is available from Sun for download).

-------------------------
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, ME

Edited: 10/30/2010 at 11:52 PM by Arwen
 08/23/2008 01:08 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
MU_Engineer
Dr. Mu

Posts: 1837
Joined: 08/26/2006

Originally posted by: Arwen
Downside of the Sun X2200 M2, (in highest first order);

- Linux and Solaris x86 do not support RAID-1 on the built in SATA controller from N-Vidia. That said, it appears someone wrote Linux tools that do work, but not currently part of the standard Linux distrobutions. Sun does support a LSI PCI-E SAS card in it for RAID-1 under Solaris x86.


You can use Linux software md RAID instead of the NVIDIA BIOS RAID. Both are software RAID anyway and md is more flexible than BIOS RAID. I'm not familiar with Solaris.

- Fans sound like a vacum cleanner on steriods until the speed controls kick in via BIOS. Then quite reasonable sound levels, (meaning I could watch T.V. while it was loading the OS).


That's normal in most systems I've seen. My CPU's fan runs at full blast for a second until the BIOS POSTs then quiets down. If it's that much of a problem, use a third-party fan controller that connects to the fans on one end and a Molex connector on the other, completely bypassing the BIOS fan speed control.

- The default IP for the network management port was not what it should have been. Nor was it DHCP. Eventually went in to serial management port and put in the final static IP.


BIOS misconfiguration?

- Internal SAS RAID-1 disk option is single port, not dual port per disk.


You have plenty of PCIe x8 slots; you can put a third-party controller in there.

- No redundant power supply option. Not that my home has that cability, but it would be nice in case one power supply died. Perhaps I will buy a spare.


I'd only worry about redundant PSUs if you separate branch circuits (which you said you don't) or need to have a certain level of availability. Otherwise, replacing a PSU isn't that big of a deal and good ones don't up and die often. If what's on the server is critical stuff, perhaps you should get a second server and use that as a "hot spare."

-------------------------
 08/23/2008 09:09 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
Arwen
Lurker

Posts: 16
Joined: 08/21/2008

Yes, I can and have used Linux MD RAID-1. It's working fine for me in another system, (RedHat EL 4.x).

You are not the first person to down play the N-Vidia RAID. Others state that it has so much inter-action with CPU that
some people claim it's not H/W RAID. The LSI PCI-E SAS card is clearly H/W RAID. I've used other products from Sun
that have a LSI H/W RAID controller and they perform as H/W should, off-load OS & CPU.

One big reason to use a H/W RAID card is that whence the 2 disks are configured as a RAID-1 pair, I can load any
OS on it. Currently that would be Solaris 10 x86 and Gentoo Linux and they would not need to worry about the
other's mirroring scheme. Besides, the LSI SAS card I am looking at, LSI SAS3442E-R supports internal disks and
4 external disks.

As for the fans, I'll leave them alone for the moment. Whence it gets moved to my spare bedroom, it won't be a problem.
Had to wait til I got the remote serial console working, so I won't need local video on it.

-------------------------
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, ME
 08/23/2008 09:10 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
Arwen
Lurker

Posts: 16
Joined: 08/21/2008

I forgot to mention that my "fit-PC" is also AMD. It's a Geode LX-800 processor running at 500Mhz.

> For those interested, my remote X is a "fit-PC" paper back book sized PC. It's quiet, low power (5
> watts), and is currently running Gentoo. Runs XDCMP pretty fast.

-------------------------
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, ME
 08/24/2008 09:52 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
MU_Engineer
Dr. Mu

Posts: 1837
Joined: 08/26/2006

Originally posted by: Arwen
You are not the first person to down play the N-Vidia RAID. Others state that it has so much inter-action with CPU that some people claim it's not H/W RAID.


If the NVIDIA RAID you're talking about comes from the chipset (MCP), then it is not hardware RAID as it has no I/O processor. That's not the problem. The problem at least with the consumer NForce MCPs is that they are not able to handle very much disk I/O bandwidth. My RAID 5 got about 60 MB/sec read speeds and 15-20 MB/sec write speeds when attached to the onboard SATA ports with the NVIDIA SATA controller. That figure jumped to about 120-125 MB/sec reads and 60 MB/sec writes when I put in the PCIe HighPoint controller. The problem is endemic in NVIDIA chipsets as newer NVIDIA products (550/570/590, 650/680i, 750/780/790i) have demonstrated.

The LSI PCI-E SAS card is clearly H/W RAID. I've used other products from Sun that have a LSI H/W RAID controller and they perform as H/W should, off-load OS & CPU.


Yes, that should be a hardware card.

One big reason to use a H/W RAID card is that whence the 2 disks are configured as a RAID-1 pair, I can load any OS on it. Currently that would be Solaris 10 x86 and Gentoo Linux and they would not need to worry about the other's mirroring scheme. Besides, the LSI SAS card I am looking at, LSI SAS3442E-R supports internal disks and 4 external disks.


I didn't know you wanted to do a dual-boot using the same array. MD isn't very good for that. HW RAID is a better choice in that case.

-------------------------
 08/27/2008 05:12 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
Kab
Senior Member

Posts: 1349
Joined: 02/03/2007

MU_Engineer, The nVIDIA MCP used with their 780a and Ge8200 lineups provide quite reasonable SATA II RAID performance now. In a RAID 5 configuration, Random Read is approximately 85 MB/s whilst write is near the 50 MB/s mark from memory. That's the same as a non-RAID setup on a AMD SB750 based motherboard though. The 500-series and the rest of the 700-series MCP's do however suffer from problems as you mentioned. They mainly suffer severe IDE port problems and incompatibilities.

Arwen, AMD will have a Sempron based 4 - 8 W TDP at near 1 - 1.6 GHz coming out very soon. Final specifications are not yet released though. It is only for mini-ITX and very possibly nano-ITX setups but it will be replacing our Geode NX 1500 Thin Client setups, the motherboards are also far better. It is very near official launch now. Just thought you may be interested to know.
Here's an older report pointing to it: http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/c...ano_Chips_Rumours.html
 09/02/2008 12:49 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
Arwen
Lurker

Posts: 16
Joined: 08/21/2008

Kab: Thanks for the confirmation on the nVIDIA MCP chip, (I belive it's a 500 series), is not H/W RAID.
That AMD Sempron low power CPU sounds interesting. Whence I get things cleaned up, I may want a faster, (but still low power), thin client to take advantage of the faster backend.

MU_Engineer: Also, thanks for the confirmation that the nVIDIA MCP chip is not H/W RAID.

This makes my decision simpler. I just need to select which of the 2 LSI RAID cards to get;

LSI SAS3041E-S - 4 internal SAS / SATA II ports, 4 lane PCI-E. Guarenteed by Sun to be supported by Solaris 10 x86 and Linux.
LSI SAS3442E-R - 4 internal, 4 external SAS / SATA II ports, 8 lane PCI-E. Same chip set, (I think that is the 1068), as used by Sun in other servers.

Plus I then have to decide which SAS drives to get. A pair of Seagate 146GB 15K RPM drives, or twice as large, (and twice the expense), Seagate 300GB 15K RPM drives.

-------------------------
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, ME
 09/21/2008 10:49 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
Arwen
Lurker

Posts: 16
Joined: 08/21/2008

I got the new disk sub-system in;

- LSI SAS3442E-R - 4 internal, 4 external SAS / SATA II ports, 8 lane PCI-E, built in RAID-0 & RAID-1
- 2 x 3.5" Seagate 146GB 15K RPM SAS drives, latest generation Cheeta 6

These things are fast. A single drive can sustain reads about 160MBps, (outer tracks). This is faster than SATA-I speed, (1.5Gbps), can handle.
And if I used the LSI card's RAID-0 between the 2 drives, I got reads of 320MBps! Compared to an older 160GB SATA drive, these things are
2 to 3.5 faster.

It's nice to see several CPU cores pegged at 100% usage during disk performance tests and backups.

This is all internal to the server. Simply plugged in the LSI SAS card, wired it up to the disk bays, (which
already support SAS disks), put the disks in the supplied SPUDs, (Sun disk brackets), and away I went.

Note that SAS disks require a SAS controller. But by SAS controller specifications, controllers and disk backplanes
also must support SATA disks.

Now for the bad news;

$600 - 2 x Seagate ST3146356SS 146GB SAS drives
$200 - LSI SAS3442E-R PCI-E RAID card
$80 - 1M internal SAS X SFF-8484 to 4 SATA
--------
$880 - Total

Well, I can't complain about local disk speed now.

-------------------------
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, ME

Edited: 12/20/2009 at 03:41 PM by Arwen
 04/17/2009 03:31 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
Arwen
Lurker

Posts: 16
Joined: 08/21/2008

Well, I have been using my new server / workstation for about 6 months, and time
for an update.

- The hardware has been rock stable.
- Gentoo Linux works great on it. Slowest package to compile, OpenOffice, compiles
very fast.
- It's pretty hard to get more than 1GB of memory used, for what I do with it.
- Power reduction via power now daemon works great.
- LSI RAID-1 SAS controller and 2 x 15K RPM SAS disks are FAST!


As an experiment I ran some "dd if=/dev/random bs=16k of=/dev/null" processes
to see how the power now daemon would respond. Since the "dd" process is basically
un-ending, 1 should peg 1 CPU at full speed. And that's what I saw. 1 CPU went from
1Ghz to 1.9Ghz, (max for the 2347HEs I have installed). Then 7 more got all my
CPUs up to 1.9Ghz and stayed there.

Next I ran more of the "dd"s to see how far I could take it. Well, about 1,200 of
these the server was noticably sluggish. But that's far beyond what I expected of
Linux. The task handling has definantly improved since 2.4 kernels which is where
I did my last serious test.

Oh, and "pkill" works wonders. 1 second and all 1,200 of the "dd"s were gone and
my box returned to full speed.


A few months ago I added a LSI 2Gbps Fibre Channel controller card, (for backups
to SAN attached tape drives). This is also fast, though limited by my 1Gbps SAN
switch and slower tape drive, (DLT1).
The linux device driver, (MPT), also supports TCP/IP protocols over Fibre Channel.
Don't have much of a use for that yet. My SAN switch also supports IPoFC, so I can
manage it in band, (IP over FC), or out of band, (IP over Ethernet).


Now I just have to wait til the new Shanghai processors are available in low power
models at higher speeds.

-------------------------
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, ME

Edited: 12/20/2009 at 03:57 PM by Arwen
 07/19/2009 04:16 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
davidpettersson
Junior Member

Posts: 1
Joined: 07/19/2009

Originally posted by: Arwen

Well, I have been using my new server / workstation for about 6 months, and time
for an update.

- The hardware has been rock stable.
- Gentoo Linux works great on it.
- It's pretty hard to get more than 1GB of memory used, for what I do with it.
- Power reduction via power now daemon works great.
- LSI RAID-1 SAS controller and 2 x 15K RPM SAS disks are FAST!

(...)


I was happy to read this post and see that someone else was satisfied with the box. Thanks for the review, Arwen -- I think I will purchase it too.

However, I will probably be getting dual SATA_disks, but my dealer tells me that I need to purchase official Sun disks as (1) it is the only way for me to get hold of the brackets and (2) that the firmware has been adapted to Solaris (ie. write cache has been disabled)).

Does anyone have any idea if it is possible to buy the box without disks and simply plug-and-play in third-party SATA disks? I am guessing that even with Linux software raid the performance would be decent.

Any ideas/toughts/feedback would be most appreciated!

-------------------------
--
David Pettersson
 08/05/2009 04:55 AM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
vab
Junior Member

Posts: 1
Joined: 08/04/2009

David:


Both "facts" your dealer gave you are wrong. The X2200M2 comes with disk brackets, and you can use any SATA disk drive, no special firmware needed.

However, you should stay away from Samsung drives, since certain models (like the HD103UJ 1TB drives I have) don't play well with the onboard nVidia SATA chip. The disk will work fine, then it'll suddenly freeze up and no longer be recognized in the system. After a power cycle, it's back again -- until the next freeze.

Sun OEMs HGST disks, they work just fine.


Regards -- Volker
 11/06/2009 03:31 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
Arwen
Lurker

Posts: 16
Joined: 08/21/2008

davidpettersson:

On the subject of disks, Sun would prefer to sell you their highly marked up
disks. If I am not buying for work, I try hard to avoid Sun's disks due to cost.

In my case I was able to order a diskless server and it came with the proper
brackets for any standard hot-swap 3.5" SATA or SAS disk. (Note that some
models of WD Raptor 3.5" disks are not designed for hot-swap, only direct
cabling.)

For this server, it uses standard Sun SPUD brackets. Not the cheapest
around, but very available even off E-Bay. I got one off E-Bay with 2GB
disk, (which I never used, only wanted the bracket).

-------------------------
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, ME
 11/06/2009 03:46 PM
User is offline View Users Profile Print this message

Author Icon
Arwen
Lurker

Posts: 16
Joined: 08/21/2008

Several weeks ago I got an external SFF 8470 x4 SAS to 4 eSATA cable for my
LSI SAS3442E-R disk controller. My main goal was to use it for connecting
external hard drives for backups. Not an easy cable to find.

All my new external storage will have at least dual interfaces, eSATA and
USB. I find eSATA much more reliable, plus much faster.

This method works great. Higher speed than USB, ease of USB. In my case,
I have no eSATA capable external devices that are low enough power to be
USB bus powered. For example the following all require external power
even when used with USB;

- Seagate FreeAgent Pro 750GB
- Thermaltake external hot-swap case for 3.5" and 2.5" disks
- Plextor DVD+-R(W)/CD-R(W) half height in external case

Note that even though my disk controller is a SAS, (Serial Attached SCSI),
it supports SATA devices directly. (For my card, that's both 1.5Gbps and
3Gbps speed.) It's part of the SAS standard.

-------------------------
Arwen Evenstar
Rivendale, ME

Edited: 01/22/2010 at 11:24 PM by Arwen
Statistics
112018 users are registered to the AMD Processors forum.
There are currently 0 users logged in.

FuseTalk Hosting Executive Plan v3.2 - © 1999-2014 FuseTalk Inc. All rights reserved.



Contact AMD Terms and Conditions ©2007 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Privacy Trademark information