Monthly Archives: October 2012

AMD “Piledriver” FX-8350 on OpenIndiana

FX-8350 unboxed

I’ve recently acquired a brand-spanking-new AMD FX-8350 CPU as an upgrade to my Phenom II X6 box. All the recent benchmarks of this CPU seem to fairly consistently point to it being a multithreaded monster. Plus, AMD has dropped the price of the new FX CPUs compared to the original Bulldozer architecture parts – and the icing on the cake is that the upgrade path is as simple as performing a BIOS update on my budget ASRock motherboard, and swapping out the old CPU for the new. Bliss!

So, given that AMD’s Piledriver archtecture might be a bit of an unknown as far as compatibility with Illumos and OpenIndiana goes, how does it fare? Well, the system seems to boot fine and run: here is the CPU as detected by Peter Tribble’s Solview app:

FX-8350 detected by Solview

8 cores, running at 4.0GHz – good. Let’s throw half a dozen VMs its way and see what happens:

VirtualBox VMs and the FX-8350

CPU utilization as measured by Solview is in the foreground. I should mention that this is also with a couple of OpenIndiana Zones running: GlassFish serving up a wiki, and a local BIND resolver.

In the time since I’ve installed the CPU I’ve experienced a couple of system freezes, so I’ve disabled core power saving features in BIOS to see if that changes anything. Yes, this is a new CPU architecture on a development build of an OS, but all in all, it’s working fairly well. Assuming I can iron out any stability issues, the FX-8350 is easily an incredible bargain.

Update 1: After further investigating the system hanging issues, it’s not limited to OpenIndiana, and is also encountered with Ubuntu Linux installed. Further updates to happen as I get to the bottom of this 🙂

Update 2: See here.


HP ProLiant ML110 G7 server – a short review

I’ve recently acquired an HP ProLiant ML110 G7 tower server for evaluating for use in a small business environment, specifically running OpenIndiana. Following are a few short notes regarding my impressions of the box.


Price-wise, for the base spec model, in my case with the Intel Xeon E3-1220 CPU, it’s an incredible bargain (and even more so bearing in the mind the below pros). Consider that even with an 8GB RAM upgrade and dual 1TB drives it’s not that much more than say a well-specced Dell business desktop PC.

It’s built like a tank. Nothing chintzy about the materials, nothing flexes, wobbles, rattles. In short, it oozes build quality.

Access to user-expandable options is super easy, as you’d expect.

There is ECC RAM support – ideal for extra peace of mind when using ZFS storage arrays. On that note, OpenIndiana oi_151a7 installs and runs just fine, with no driver nor hardware issues out of the box. Installing KVM on OpenIndiana, and installing and booting guest VMs poses no problem – it “just works”.

Dual Gigabit Ethernet ports are standard.

A Lights Out Manager is also included as standard. Sadly, the remote console functionality is a paid extra, but the included remote power management and monitoring functionality is quite impressive.

HP Lights Out Management interface


Remote console, remote virtual media and other LOM options are sadly licensed extras. Unless you pay extra for this expect to potentially be making site visits from time to time. Kinda wish HP would just throw this in with the LOM as standard – Sun did, for instance.

There is nothing much in the way of physical redundancy for the server in its base spec.

One review made mention of the ML110’s quiet operation and how it would not be noticed in an office environment. Well, unless your office happens to be on the factory floor of an air conditioning manufacturing plant, you’re going to notice this thing…

Maximum physical RAM capacity is 16GB, which is a tad on the small size.

And although I haven’t checked, extending the warranty out from the standard one year period would probably cost a fair bit.

heliod – Oracle iPlanet Web Server forked as open source

Prior to the Oracle acquisition, I used to be a fan of Sun Microsystems’ web server product, Sun Java System Web Server. It had serious enterprise lineage, a terrific web admin BUI which beat the pants off Apache, and was free, free, freeeee. Needless to say, that all changed once Oracle bungled onto the scene, along with a whole bunch of other stuff.

A little known fact however is that Sun had open-sourced the core of their web server prior to Oracle taking over, releasing it as the Sun Open Web Server. But other than a few headlines at the time of the announcement (such as here) everything went very quiet shortly after – and no doubt I am sure due to Oracle not wanting to advertise the zero-cost availability of the guts of their “re-branded” megabucks flagship web server, now known as Oracle iPlanet Web Server.

So, imagine my surprise to find that one of the original engineers behind Sun Open Web Server (Jyri Virkki) has forked the code open-sourced those three or so years ago and is now actively developing it. Yes, it lives, and is known as heliod web server:

Francois Dion has a great write-up here as well:

Attempting to launch heliod on OpenIndiana oi_151a x86, I was met with the following error:

$ ./bin/startserv parsexml: fatal: open failed: No such file or directory
./bin/startserv: line 63: 12686: Killed
failure: temporary directory  is not writable by user root

This is due to the library/icu package not being present – so install it if it’s missing and it’ll start up fine:

Installing the ICU package on OpenIndiana

$ ./bin/startserv &
[1]	3692
dave@mymachine:/opt/heliod/https-testserver$ heliod Web Server 0.1 B03/08/2011 21:59
info: CORE3016: daemon is running
info: HTTP3072: http-listener-1: http://mymachine:80 ready to accept requests
info: CORE3274: successful server startup