Monthly Archives: February 2015

The SUN SUNFIRE X4600 M2 Server

Every once in awhile I get to go crazy and build something fun at home. This time it’s a new virtual machine setup, as my older one only has 32 GB ram and is getting pretty close to it’s limits. So, time to build something bigger, and cheaper, than I currently have. Plus, it’s a good way to play with new virtualization technologies.

So… I am now the proud owner of a SUN SUNFIRE X4600 M2 Server.
x4600m2front

x4600m2back

Specs are as follows:

Model: SUN SUNFIRE X4600 M2
CPUs: 8 qty: (AMD Opteron 8384 Quad Core – 2700 MHz – 32 cores total).
RAM: 176 GB’s Ram. (44 qty: 4GB PC2-5300P DDR2-667 RAM ECC REG CL5 Samsung)
DRIVES: 4 qty: 146GB SAS
WEIGHT: 95 Lbs.

biosx4600m2

Currently, there is only 172 GB of ram installed on the machine, I hope to get it to it’s max of 256 GB of ram within the next week or so.

It was an interesting thing getting this running well, and while others may not ever need the information I provide, I will share what I have learned about the machine. This machine has 8 “8-DIMM Split Plane CPU Modules” in it. In essence, mini-blades that all look like ONE machine and not 8 when turned on. Sounds cool, but it wasn’t as easy as just turning it on of course.

splitmodule

I was lucky enough to have a friend named Mike help me get some of the bugs worked out. The first bug we encountered was that the machine was seeing only 2 of the 8 modules. So it turns out that the x4600m2 is rather picky about things… every two modules had to be exactly alike, and the ram in each of those two modules had to MATCH in pairs. After pulling all the modules out, and re-arranging the ram to be exactly the same in pairs of modules and matching dimms by pairs in paired modules… things got more interesting.

Still, it wasn’t seeing everything correctly… So on the far right side on the back of the box is a pinhole to reset the cpu’s… pushing that in with a paperclip while restarting the machine made it see everything just right finally.

The second issue we ran into was that older iloms don’t tend to work well with newer browsers, and neither Oracle or the browsers care to really fix that issue, since it’s older equipment. I did figure out how to get past that and wrote about that here: How to make newer firefox browsers work with older Sun iloms. With that fixed, it’s now time to play with the machine more and see what other issues I can find.

The third and final issue for the month however might end up being my power bill…. LOL 🙂

All in all, I am pretty happy with the purchase. By the time I max out the ram at 256 GB I will have a grand total of about $500 in the setup. Not bad for a virtual machine host, 32 cores at 2.7 Ghz and 256 GB ram… I should be able to create a “few” vm’s in the test environment with it I think. 😉