SUMMARY: NFS server.. which is the best sun

From: Mark (
Date: Fri Apr 21 1995 - 05:52:52 CDT

My original question:
> From mark Wed Apr 5 22:24:45 1995
> Subject: NFS server.. which is the best sun
> Date: Wed, 5 Apr 1995 22:24:45 +1000 (AEDT)
> I want to make a NFS only file server, no user logins. I want
> to get a sun with a couple of presto boards and fill each of
> the two scsi buses to build a large file server. Typical
> disk config will be 10 - 15 gig.
> What would be the best sparc model for this, bearing in mind I
> want to keep costs down. List a few and the relative speeds
> if you would.

I had a number of replies, 50% pointing to the Network Appliances FAServer.
Unfortunately I'd already studied this option, but didnt mention it to see
what the consensus was. Because of the excessive cost here in Australia,
($55k) I can't see us getting one. As a system admin sure I'd love it, its
set and forget, but I was looking at something a touch cheaper. I tried direct
buying it but they wouldnt go outside the established channels. Fair enough.
Lost a sale tho :) Maybe in a year or two when we grow to double our current

Another NFS niche machines is the Auspex range, but word of mouth tells me
they want your first born to aquire their hardware. A bit too steep and high
end for our requirements.

One solution is a build-it-yourself approach, i.e. buy a RAID chassis, (I
can source one for $5k), and populate it with the required disks (10G in my
case) drop it on a Sun 5 or so and you have a reasonable machine with enough
disk space to do your work in. Estimated cost is around $20k, something a bit
more approachable for the people that sign the checks.

A few replies queried the environment, and again I wanted to get a varied
response so I neglected to specify too much detail, actually we have 5 main
database servers and about 15 other unix hosts, not a terrible load to have
on one central nfs server. All are on the one subnet. Virtually all our 40
users are information hungry so the network can become fairly busy.

The technical specs of what I think will do the job are:

SPARCStation 4 or 5, 64MB ram, Prestoserve board if possible, a RAID 5
chassis and disks to populate it. I'd configure the kernel up the wazoo
to give maximum buffers, run Solaris 2.4 and remove all logins except
administration ones. Backup could be handled via simple rsh to a tape
server each night. I could probably gzip the tar on the fly as NFS isnt
that cpu intensive. If the SCSI bus (populated only with the RAID and
boot drive) proves to be a bottle neck I can put in another scsi board
and move some drives into another RAID chassis. My main problem right
now is to centralise a large amount of data and take it off the crash
prone machines.

Some important points to note is not to mix and match too much, especially
with drives. I plan to have one or more standby drives for the RAID so if
one fails I can cold or hot swap it and let it handle the RAID fs rebuild.

Later if possible I want to make a NFS only network by installing another
ether card in as many machines as we can afford and having them mount their
disks down that cable, thus the only packets going along it would be
NFS. Telnet, rlogin, X and ftp would use the normal wire. This approach
can be expanded as you can afford cards. Wiring is not a problem here,
running another coax would take 15 minutes in my case.

In closing I'd say buy the FAServer ( if you can swing it
in the budget, otherwise the raid-on-a-sun approach is cost effective as


Thanks to:
From: don@alaska.opensys.COM (Don Lenamond)
From: Dave Fetrow <>
From: Boyd Fletcher <>
From: Dan Stromberg - OAC-CSG <>
From: (Glenn Satchell - Uniq Professional Services)
From: (System Administrator - David Rossman)
From: (Mumford)
From: (Jim Hendrickson)
From: Paul Caskey <>

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