SunFire V100 Server

Welcome to Scott’s SUN SunFire V100 UltraSPARC Server page. I decided, after finding a dearth of information online about getting started with one of these machines, that I would make my own little V100 repository on the web for people looking to get some help with SUN’s most basic UltraSPARC server.

The SunFire V100 is an entry level, 1U, One Way, 64-bit UltraSPARC II RISC server that can use processors up to the UltraSPARC IIi 650MHz. PC133 memory up to 2GB max (512MB x 4 slots of 1.) The V100 can hold either one or two UltraATA 100 (PATA – Parallel ATA) hard drives. Note: Due to legacy IDE controller technology of 28bit addressing the SunFire V100 cannot address hard drive space greater than 137GB. Larger drives will be seen as 137GB drives. This is a hardware limitation and cannot be overcome in software.

The SunFire V100 is an excellent introductory server for someone needing a basic UNIX server and is a great way for learning about SUN hardware and the Solaris operating system. Linux, NetBSD and, of course, Solaris are popular options on the V100 although Solaris must be by far the most popular alternative. Solaris runs natively on this hardware and is available as a free download from SUN.

The V100 is not designed with expansion in mind and therefore has no PCI or other expansion slots. The only available locations for expansion are in the upgrading of the existing hard drive, the addition of a second hard drive and the addition of additional memory. No additional controllers or features may be added. The resulting mainboard (motherboard) is extremely spartan, clean and easy to work with. The chassis is mostly empty and one of the easiest servers you could ever hope to work on.

The only difference between the V100 and its big brother the V120 is in the hard disk subsystem. The V100 uses PATA technology allowing you to install two lower performance legacy IDE hard drives (UltraATA up to 137GB) while the V120 allows you to install two SCSI drives (Ultra2 SCSI 80MB/s.) The V120 also doubles the official memory cap to 4GB. The two servers share a form-factor and chassis. (According to the V100 System Board documents from SUN, the V100 equipped with the UltraSPARC IIi (a.k.a. UltraSPARC IIe+) processors can access up to 4GB of memory while the older UltraSPARC IIe processors are limited to 2GB.)

The SunFire V100 is the update of the popular SUN Netra X1. The SunFire V120 is the update of the SUN Netra T1 AC2000.

If you are new to SUN hardware you might be surprised to find that the V100 does not have ports for a keyboard, mouse or monitor. Accessing the V100’s console can be done through either the Lights Out Management (LOM) or Serial ports. However, these ports use RJ45 connectors instead of traditional serial connectors so a special console cable must be purchased or built.

Overall the V100 is inexpensive when purchased used (it has not been available new for some time), light weight, quiet, relatively “green” with low power consumption and low heat dissipation needs and very easy to work on. It is the perfect machine for many small businesses and UNIX enthusiasts looking for an entry into the enterprise UNIX RISC server market.

Working with the SunFire V100:

Resources:

18 thoughts on “SunFire V100 Server”

  1. Hi there

    I have just purchased a V100 – 548MHZ but states it is an UltraSparc IIe – surely this is a IIi? I think the V120 also in boot states it has a IIe but that surely is not possible (not a IIe+…)

    Did you reckon I could stick in 4x1GB sticks and have them fully addressed?

    Many thanks!
    Ed

  2. Ed, I believe that it is a IIe+ designated as IIi but gets shows as IIe. The speed only matches the IIe+.

    If you have the faster/newer procs then yes, in theory you can go to 4GB of RAM. It is not officially supported, however.

  3. Jut to confirm.
    Bank.
    #0 512MB
    #1 512MB
    #2 1GB
    #3 1GB

    Managed to get the V100 up to 3gb (had not enough RAM for trying 4GB sure it would be OK though).

    However after the upgrade initially was getting MMU errors and a refusal to boot to the disk. However a few reset all and this seems to have clared that problem and now boots fine!

    Looks like the Flapjack is going to live for a good while longer 🙂

  4. As for OS:

    Solaris 10
    Flawless Install

    Debian 5.0.4 Lenny SPARC
    installs OK

    Centos 5 SPARC
    hangs at Booting Kernel…

    Free BSD 8.1 SPARC
    installs OK

    Open BSD SPARC (v4?)
    installs OK

    Have not tried the Fedora 12 distribution but believs it is OK as well

    Apparently past v7.04 Ubuntu has problems…

  5. Yeah, Solaris 11 didn’t exist yet at the time. I’m told that Solaris 11’s next build will not support this hardware so don’t be surprised if that breaks in the future. Solaris 11’s final release is going to be CoolThreads and the Fujitsu Sparcs exclusively according to my Oracle rep.

  6. Have you tried installing a ssd in a v100. I thought since it’s tougher to find a small ide drive that mabe a ssd might be the way to go. I got a v100 and a ssd I pulled from another machine when I got a larger one but so far I can’t get it to boot. Solaris 10 will load but on reboot it complains about the drive label.

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