Oracle Sun SPARC Servers

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This page present must-have in hands information when installing Funtoo on SPARC servers, this also completes notes about some details to know when installing a Funtoo box on a SPARC machine (see Funtoo Linux Installation on SPARC). Aside some well-known project like Debian or Aurora, Linux distributions dedicated to the SPARC machines are not very common, Solaris remaining the system of choice especially for reasons useless to mention :)

Note

Did you know that Ubuntu and Gentoo GNU/Linux were the only two distribution certified by Sun to run on their UltraSPARC T1 machines? Ubuntu ceased to maintain a SPARC branch some years ago, leaving Gentoo alone in the race.

Before introduction of very low power x86 CPU like the Intel Atom or its AMD counterpart, SPARC machines were an architecture of choice for having a low-power server at home and older machines are quite common on eBay for a couple of dollars. Just to illustrate:

  • An old UltrSPARC II CPU (very common on machines sold on eBay) pumps only 17W. Of course this is only for the CPU alone it does takes into account the chipset and other machine components.
  • A Sun T1000 server with an octo-core UltraSPARC T1 processor capable of handling 32 concurrent hardware threads pumps only 200W at the plug (6W/thread).
  • A SPARC T3 server with 4 SPARC T3 CPU (16 cores per CPU, each core being able to handle 8 hardware threads) pumps 2400W at the plug (4.7W/thread)

Note

Sun opened the design of their UltraSPARC T1 and T2 CPUs and put them under the GPL/Licence, more information at OpenSPARC. The same happened for the OpenBoot environment which has been placed under BSD licence terms (CoreBoot.org host a copy of it through a subversion repository)

Hardware

Servers

Sun Fire V280

Sun Fire T1000

Workstations

Also classified as servers in this article because very popular to be used as low-power consumption servers:

Sun Blade 100/150

Sun Blade 2000

= Sun Blade 2500 (red)