SUMMARY: DNS on an SS2 ?

From: John Horne (
Date: Tue Nov 24 1998 - 06:21:30 CST


Well, another intruiging bunch of replies regarding running a DNS! The
original question was:

> I have been told by one of our managers that the central DNS service can
> run on a Sparcstation 2 (that's a 2, not a 20). It has 32MB RAM, and a 420
> (ish) MB disk. Whilst the disk is obviously too small, he insists that
> lots of sites are running their central DNS servers on SS2's. The system
> is running SunOS 4.1.3 because the disk is too small for Solaris 2. It
> has 32MB of swap.
> Are you ? That's the question.
> I requested a new Sun Ultra (probably a 1/170 since we alread yhave these,
> or a newer equivalent), with 128MB memory (at least), and 4GB disk space.
> The memory is because if this thing is going to cache the data for the
> University then we obviously need more than 32MB. The disk space is so
> that I can set up operational/backup procedures, accounts for the network
> staff (they need direct access to it), some development space, etc, etc.
> Our service is not only for the University as a whole, but also runs
> bootp, and the DNS service for some external colleges. I, therefore,
> suspect we should be running a 'reliable' service; which I don't really
> see on such a small SS2.
I received 35 replies. Of that:
   19 said 'Yes you can do it' or 'Yes we do it now'.
   13 said 'No, it's too low a spec system' or in some cases 'NO WAY!!'
    3 said 'We did, but don't now' (using a higher spec system), or
           'You could, but we don't'.

Thanks to you all.

The *overall* impression was that (a) could you run a DNS on an SS2? - there
seems to be a definite yes; (b) would you want to? - the answer seems to be
'no', not if I/you didn't have to. Sites *are* doing it, and with absolutely
no problems at all. Other sites reported problems running the DNS on *much*
larger systems, and replied with a definite no. In my case I want the system
to allow the network people to maintain/upgrade BIND, develop scripts, etc
for its maintenance, use CDE, etc, etc. So something with a bit more poke
than an SS2 would be nice.

Obviously the above figures must be read with regard to all those who, for
whatever reason, didn't reply. This wasn't a survey; if it had been then the
breakdown of figures may have been very different.

I think everyone agreed that 32MB and a 420MB disk were a bit inadequate.
Again some sites were using similar, but as they said it was a very cut down
system with nothing else going on (perhaps bootp). The relative cost of
memory and disks should allow us to get a bit more of both.

The issue of Y2K and SunOS 4 was raised and is important - were going
through the scenario of checking all the systems for Y2K problems. So
running Solaris 2.6 (probably 7) is required - I'd rather do this than patch
2.5.1/SunOS 4.

A few people mentioned that the Ultra was way over-spec. That is true, but,
and again as some of you are wise to!, you have to ask for these things and
then see what you get! The Ultra would have been nice, and would have
probably been used for more than just the DNS, hence it wasn't a totally
unreasonable request.

In our case I have been told that I will be using an SS20, 96MB memory, 2GB
disk space. Oh well, not quite the Ultra I wanted...
Bootp will initially be supported, but may be moved to an NT system. DHCP
will/is currently on the NT, and will stay there.

That's it. Hope it helps anyone in a similar situation, but remember you
*must* weigh up all the pro's con's in terms of what you are expecting form
the system.


John Horne E-mail:
Academic and Information Services Phone : +44 (0) 1752 - 233914
University of Plymouth, UK Fax : +44 (0) 1752 - 233919

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