Brandt & Brandt Computer GmbH

T2000 Experiences

Most recent entry: ALOM SSH support

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Sun has an interesting new offer: They say that we can apply for a sixty day trial of one of their T1-powered Niagara systems.

That sounds great! We will see if we can get our hands on one of those.

Friday, 3 March 2006

I just received an email from Sun: They welcome us to their Sun Fire T2000 Try and Buy Program. Now lets see how long it will take to receive hardware...

Friday, 10 March 2006

The machine has arrived. It is a SunFire T2000 with an eight-core 1GHz T1 processor and 8GB RAM. Each core can process four hardware threads.

Thursday, 6 April 2006

We upgraded the SC (122430-01) and the SCSI-RAID-Controller (122165-01). The SC version is now:

    niagara-sc> showhost
    Host flash versions:
        Reset V1.0.0
        Hypervisor 1.1.0 2005/12/15 11:10
        OBP 4.20.0 2005/12/15 16:48
        MPT SAS FCode Version 1.00.37 (2005.06.13)
    Sun Fire[TM] T2000 POST 4.20.0 2005/12/15 17:19

    niagara-sc> showsc version -v
    Advanced Lights Out Manager CMT v1.1.2
    SC Firmware version: CMT 1.1.1
    SC Bootmon version: CMT 1.1.1

    VBSC 1.1.1
    VBSC firmware built Jan 20 2006, 17:56:19

    SC Bootmon Build Release: 01
    SC bootmon checksum: 1A6E3FF4
    SC Bootmon built Jan 20 2006, 18:08:25

    SC Build Release: 01
    SC firmware checksum: 0856BF03

    SC firmware built Jan 20 2006, 18:08:41
    SC firmware flashupdate UNKNOWN

    SC System Memory Size: 32 MB
    SC NVRAM Version = f
    SC hardware type: 4

    FPGA Version:

There were some problems with the SC, even after the firmware upgrade. telnet sessions froze, and the SC didn't respond to ping.

Overall, we found the SC a bit disappointing:

Even after the firmware upgrade, strange things happen: The first attempt to boot via network results in the machine asking us to file a bug:

    Sun Fire T200, No Keyboard
    Copyright 2005 Sun Microsystems, Inc.  All rights reserved.
    OpenBoot 4.20.0, 8184 MB memory available, Serial #67274234.
    Ethernet address 0:14:4f:2:85:fa, Host ID: 840285fa.

    {0} ok show-nets
    a) /pci@7c0/pci@0/pci@2/network@0,1
    b) /pci@7c0/pci@0/pci@2/network@0
    c) /pci@780/pci@0/pci@1/network@0,1
    d) /pci@780/pci@0/pci@1/network@0
    Enter Selection, q to quit: d
    /pci@780/pci@0/pci@1/network@0 has been selected.
    Type ^Y ( Control-Y ) to insert it in the command line.
    e.g. ok nvalias mydev ^Y
             for creating devalias mydev for /pci@780/pci@0/pci@1/network@0
    {0} ok boot /pci@780/pci@0/pci@1/network@0 -svV install
    Boot device: /pci@780/pci@0/pci@1/network@0  File and args: -svV install
    100 Mbps full duplex  Link up
    Requesting Internet Address for 0:14:4f:2:85:fa
    ERROR: /packages/obp-tftp: Last Trap: Division by Zero
    [Exception handlers interrupted, please file a bug]
    [type 'resume' to attempt a normal recovery]

At this point, the telnet session was gone.

Notice that the machine thinks it's a T200 instead of a T2000. We didn't file a bug for that.

Friday, 7 April 2006

Sun's buzzword CoolThreads is well chosen. This output was captured immediately after powering the T2000 on:

    Sensor           Status  Temp
    PDB/T_AMB        OK        15
    MB/T_AMB         OK        15
    MB/CMP0/T_TCORE  OK        24
    MB/CMP0/T_BCORE  OK        24
    IOBD/IOB/TCORE   OK        23
    IOBD/T_AMB       OK        15

And this shows the output five hours later:

    Sensor           Status  Temp
    PDB/T_AMB        OK        17
    MB/T_AMB         OK        20
    MB/CMP0/T_TCORE  OK        36
    MB/CMP0/T_BCORE  OK        36
    IOBD/IOB/TCORE   OK        35
    IOBD/T_AMB       OK        22

Thursday, 20 April 2006

The T2000 is well suited for resource management experiments. We experimented a bit with zones and the fair share scheduler. The results were convincing:

    # prctl -n zone.cpu-shares -v 5 -r -i zone global
    # prctl -n zone.cpu-shares -v 10 -r -i zone erie
    # prctl -n zone.cpu-shares -v 20 -r -i zone ontario
      2       68  292M  180M   2.2%   1:18:20  56% ontario
      1       68  291M  180M   2.2%   0:58:50  29% erie
      0       90  396M  258M   3.1%   0:38:06  14% global

Tuesday, 2 May 2006

We're approaching the end of our two months with the T2000. Unfortunately, we haven't had enough time to run application benchmarks as planned. There's no doubt that the T2000 performs very well, though.

We won't keep this particular machine. There's one reason why we would prefer a T2000 more recently produced: We heard that the internal disk controller will soon be functional, and the extra controller that now takes one of the PCI-X slots won't be necessary any more.

Sunday, 28 May 2006

Here are some very preliminary results for my investigation on the bzip2smp utility. The OS on the machine was build #31 of Solaris Nevada (aka Solaris 11 Early Access).

For comparison, I used the bzip2 that comes with Solaris:

bzip2, a block-sorting file compressor.  Version 1.0.2, 30-Dec-2001

(I don't think using 1.0.3 would have made much difference.)

I built bzip2smp (v1.0) with Sun Studio 11 using generic options:

        -O -xtarget=ultra -xarch=generic64 -fast

This produced a 32 bit binary. I did not create a 64 bit binary since (a) the Sun provided bzip2 is 32 bit and (b) the bzip2smp utility was developed and tested under Linux. Such software usually has 64 bit problems, and I did not want to get into those. :-)

I created some big files in /tmp using the sequence:

        tar cvf tar /kernel
        cat tar tar tar > big
        cat big big big big > huge

The file big is 87.25 MB, the file huge is 348.95 MB. I could have used /dev/random but I was more interested in something obviously compressible. Everything ran in /tmp, no disk I/O.

I timed the runs using the tcsh builtin, time. I ran both the regular bzip2 and the bzip2smp in parallel. But these are rough qualitative results anyway. I specified the bzip2smp thread count explicitly to avoid having to deal with that strange hyperthreading detection. Here goes:

        bzip2 -c big > big.mono
        109.24u 0.66s 1:49.92 99.9%

        bzip2smp -p32 < big > big.smp
        118.44u 1.34s 0:16.71 716.8%

        Ratio of wall-clock time:  6.58 speedup

        bzip2 -c huge > huge.mono
        434.89u 2.21s 7:17.14 99.9%

        bzip2smp -p32 < huge > huge.smp
        474.47u 3.70s 1:00.31 792.8%

        Ratio of wall-clock time:  7.25 speedup

I diff'ed both resulting files each time to check if they were bit-identical. They were. :-) Incidentally, compressed size for big was 31.92 MB, huge was 127.82 MB. BTW I'd have expected smaller size for huge since it is just 12 concatenated copies of the same data...

The upshot is that bzip2smp seems to be a big win on SMP systems. Even if total time does not scale linearly with the number of available hardware threads, the savings in wall clock time is significant.

I would have expected a bigger speedup factor (the box can do 32 hardware threads) but exploring this will have to wait a bit as we have to send the T2000 back to Sun tomorrow. :-(

Monday, 29 May 2006

The T2000 is on its way back to Sun. Thank you, Sun, for letting us take a close look.

We're looking forward to tomorrow: Denis Sheahan, UltraSPARC T1 performance expert, will be in Munich for a workshop. Denis is the author of a paper in Sun's Blueprint series.

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Yesterday's workshop provided great insight and taught us a lot. Thanks, Denis!

Thursday, 1 June 2006

Pictures from the workshop have been posted.

Wednesday, 7 June 2006

More good news: A future version of the ALOM will bring SSH.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

The T2000 firmware version 6.2.4 has brought SSH support. Find the README with news about other enhancements at SunSolve.

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