Subject: Re: rack-optimised i386 machines
To: Petar Bogdanovic <>
From: Steven M. Bellovin <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 02/11/2005 15:09:08
In message <>, Petar Bogdanovic writes:
>I can imagine, that this question was asked a few times already. Even 
>so, my google investigation was not very lucky.
>Could somebody recommend rack-optimised i386-machines (for serving 
>purposes), with hardware, which is largely supported by NetBSD 2.0? If 
>you know a specific model, great. If you know a brand, even better. The 
>problem is always, that you see a lot of nice (and cheap) hardware, but 
>at the same time, you never know, how dmesg is going to look like. When 
>you want to buy a notebook, the whole thing gets easier - go into the 
>shop and ask the guy to let you start the machine with a live-cd.. but I 
>don't really know, how this should work, when you want to test any other 
>(more expensive) hardware.

With a couple of caveats, I think that most server machines will work 
well.  You don't have the graphics adapter to worry about; that solves 
one big problem.  If the disks are IDE, they're probably safe, too, but 
watch out for S-ATA disks.  RAID is probably a separate can of worms 

The big problem is likely to be the Ethernet adapter, especially since 
I'm seeing a lot of motherboards with vr interfaces.  They work, but 
not especially well, I think, under NetBSD.

Some vendors of such boxes actually support BSDs, including NetBSD.  
Iron Systems (I seem to recall hearing good things about them) is one 
such vendor.

		--Prof. Steven M. Bellovin,