X4150 Frustrations

Posted on June 2, 2008

I thought this was funny… taken from the latest Driver/BIOS CD:

           Sun Fire X4150 Remote Firmware Update procedures


NOTE: To update the BIOS and SP for the Sun Fire X4150, the onboard CPLD *MUST* be updated first.
      This necessary update adds required functionality to allow the BIOS fo function with the new range of Intel Processors. 

Procedure to Update the CPLD:

7. Once the firmware is uploaded, you will be asked to remove AC power for 10 seconds to allow the CPLD to be loaded. 

Spiffy… a “remote” procedure that requires the removal of AC power. So this is only really a “remote” proceedure when you have an APC MasterSwitch or similar PDU.

The latest Sun offerings continue to greatly irritate me. Quad-Core AMD’s are finally available, and their SunFire X4440 is impressive, offering 4 AMD sockets in 2U, allowing for up to 16 cores per system with as much as 64GB of RAM, and to make things even more sweet, they have a promo whereby a fully stocked X4440 can be had for only $13,400. But, alas, it still has onboard NVIDIA GIgabit Ethernet interfaces which I still dislike, and while the Product Notes mention both LSI MegaSAS RAID Controllers and Sun StorageTek (read: Adaptec) RAID Controllers there isn’t any mention of which one is included nor is it clear when buying saying simply “HBA RAID Card”. On the upshot at least it has ILOM, a real SP, as opposed to the X4150’s which still only have the worthless ELOM.

Read my lips Sun… NO MORE ADAPTEC. NO MORE NGE. NO MORE ELOM. Please, oh please please please. These things are for workstations, not enterprise class servers. Its bad enough that there aren’t 3.5″ Drive options, given that we’re limited to only 146GB drives in a 2.5″ form factor, but I’m hoping that will wash out in a year when we get >300GB 2.5″ 10K RPM SAS disks. Stick with LSI MegaSAS, with E1000g and with ILOM.

I’ll simply note, as a share holder… Sun gives away all its software and produces systems inferior to Dell and IBM. Um…. thats really bad. I am 110% behind Open Source software, no one should question that, but Sun moving all software behind that model was based on an assumption that its server sales would increase to make up the difference and software would increasingly push hardware sales. I’m nervous. We’ve got to concentrate on superior systems with vastly superior management solutions that are integrated more tightly. Right now Sun’s software stack is too fractured, from software deployment to identify management, its a big hodge podge, not an integrated stack.