Subject: Re: ES40, ES45, etc. support?
To: NetBSD/alpha Discussion List <port-alpha@NetBSD.ORG>
From: Greg A. Woods <>
List: port-alpha
Date: 06/16/2004 19:40:17
[ On , June 16, 2004 at 22:39:34 (-0000), r.o.s.s wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: ES40, ES45, etc. support?
> The chances are 100% once you arrange access or send us a development
> system.

I sure wish I could!

> If neither is possible, I've done a number of ports just by
> taking a shot at it and having someone else boot test kernels. That
> works as long as the new box is not wildly different in some way.

I'm assuming the ES45 and ES47 aren't all that different from the ES40
-- from the specs the big changes seem to be in which CPUs and memory
types are supported and how the IO buses are connected.  That's just
guess-work from the marketing specs though!  :-)

> > Has anyone tried booting NetBSD on more modern and larger AlphaServers?
> Not me. Why are you asking about these? Do you have any?

No, unfortunately I don't have any such shiny Alpha hardware, though I
wish I did! -- all I have right now is just my apparently trusty old
AS4000.  The next ES40 or newer that sells for the same price as I got
my AS4000 for though will be _mine_!  ;-)

However I have a client who is considering building an "enterprise-
class" server using some kind of 64-bit SMP hardware.  I'd like it very
much if that hardware could run NetBSD (1.6.2_STABLE ideally)
(esp. since that's what all their current i386-based servers run).  They
don't really need blindingly fast CPUs, but they do need lots and lots
and lots (i.e. well in excess of 4GB) of fast RAM and they need really
good I/O throughput and of course some future expandability on all
fronts too.

They would probably do well with an older AS8200 or AS8400 that should
run NetBSD (like the ones I see constantly on eBay), but I'd like to
give them the option of choosing newer/new hardware too (despite the
fact they are rather price sensitive this project might be high-profile
enough to get them to expend some of their capital budget on big shiny
new hardware -- the HP www configurator says they'd need to spend
somewhere between $175-250Kusa for what they want and that's more than
they have spent in the same department on hardware and support for the
past three or four years in total :-).

Now if I could find a local reseller or dealer who could loan us a
system on-site for "testing" for a couple of weeks then I could
certainly make it fully accessible for porting!  I don't know if there'd
be additional money available for porting though (and probably not up
front).  The business case would be to compare with the T.C.O. of True64
licensing over the expected lifetime of the server (i.e. including
future CPU upgrades for an ever increasing user base).

The only real NetBSD-capable alternative for them might be some kind of
AMD64 Opteron system, but I'm very wary of those systems and I'm not
sure I or they are anywhere near ready yet to run 2.0-beta.  (the
non-NetBSD options are of course limited to True64 on modern Alpha, IBM
AIX on some big RS/6000, with perhaps Solaris on an E-class Sun server
and HP/UX and on the big HP servers sitting at the bottom of my
preference pile and IRIX not even making the cut any more :-)

						Greg A. Woods

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