SUMMARY: estimates on managing a Sun e15k

From: danix <>
Date: Mon Apr 29 2002 - 13:51:55 EDT
Sorry for the delayed summary.
The short answer seems to be that managing a e15k (or 10k) requires special
knowledge, and the investment in training/support would be well worth it.

Thanks to Mike Salehi, Andrew Caines, Chris Price, Hichael Morton, Buddy 
Lumpkin, Todd Wilkinson, Mike Penny, among others.

I asked:
> I have to confess I've never worked with a box this large before. So I 
> have two questions:
> 1) How different is sysadmin on this box from any other
> (smaller) Sun?  
> Would you recommend that I look into training/support resources?
> 2) If you had to estimate a rough # of hours to admin one of
> these boxes on a
> weekly/monthly/yearly basis (your pick), what would that number be?
> Thanks.

You definately should take the training, they are VERY different. But they do not take too much administration. I have 5 of them and once they are configured they go.
> So I have two questions:

I count three.

> 1) How different is sysadmin on this box from any other (smaller) Sun?

Very, very different. 

At some levels, it's just like managing many Sun boxes running Solaris. The OS is the same and you have the same admin issues. At the hardware level it's a very specialised beast and there is a whole extra layer of hardware, software and management.

If you've already played with things like DR, multipathing, clustering and the like, you'll have a head start on some of the concepts.

If you're familiar with other systems like some mainframes, the IBM SP/2, etc. then you you may be familiar with the idea of managing the "frame" and well as the systems built on it.

> Would you recommend that I look into training/support resources?

Do not touch anything without both. Sun will insist you have some SunPS service to get it working. Use it well. Consider paying for extra SunPS support until you are comfortable with a variety of operating conditions.

> 2) If you had to estimate a rough # of hours to admin one of these 
> boxes on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis (your pick), what would that 
> number be?

Impossible question to answer since none of the real dependencies are addressed.

Ideally, there will be little overhead for managing the `extras'. You need to manage the SSP, so there is one extra system to consider.

If you _plan_ your architecture for current and future demands, avoid illogical processes being implemented, manage your resources (hardware, support, admins, etc.), then you should have a nice HA environment for your nodes and lots of happy users and customers.

Schedule enough time for environment and process testing. Practice dealing with hardware failures, resource reallocations, etc. Before anything goes into production, you need to have your environment properly working.

If you don't do the above, you'll have a very unpleasant and expensive time.

	The E15K can be a single machine of 128 procs
or a number of smaller machines at 4 procs each (I believe). This is the way the E10K was configurable.

	So I guess the question to ask is how would you
configure the E15K? 32 seperate 4 processor systems or 
1 128 proc system, or something in between?

	Once you determine how your 128 potential procs will be 
sliced, you will can base your admin time on how much time 
you spend looking after 4+ proc machines now.


The E15K does have several applicable hardware classes as well as Veritas and Disksuite type classes.

I stongly recommend that you put the box under a Sun service contract! 
The contract covers everything Sun that is in or attached to the E15K as a peripheral.  (Array have their own contracts in some cases.)  You will need to figure out the level of service needed.  

I do not know about the warranty service on the E15Ks but I know it is an 8 or 9 return call for the workstations.  

Hope this helps,

Well, I have experience with the E10K, I assume both systems are around the same complexity. Here's my $.02

The E10K has features that require a very good understanding of Solaris. To use Dynamic Reconfiguration you need to understand device drivers and how to get *ALL* I/O off a board before trying to remove it from the system. For disk I/O this means understanding all about AP (Alternate Pathing), vxdmp (Veritas Dynamic Multipathing) or possible third party stuff (EMC Powerpath comes to mind). For Network I/O this might include AP, or IPMP.

Generally speaking there is some knowlege to gain about the SSP (System Service Processor) which basically creates domains, monitors the fans and power on the E10K, powers up boards, etc..

This functionality is integrated now as a board on the frame, and I don't think it still has the same name, but I guarantee there is still a ton to learn about this ...

Take any senior (very good) solaris admin and send them to the class (preferably considering the investment) and they should do fine.

>1) How different is sysadmin on this box from any other (smaller) Sun? 
>Would you recommend that I look into training/support resources?

         Speaking from and E10k you only want senior admins working on it
         I would send people to training BEFORE you buy and as part of your
         evaluation of the E15k.

>2) If you had to estimate a rough # of hours to admin one of these 
>boxes on a weekly/monthly/yearly basis (your pick), what would that 
>number be?

         That all depends on what you define as an admin.  Some people say OS
         only that means applications  ( web servers, applications, DB's, 
utilities ) are
         managed by other folks.  If you just mean the box again what are 
you using
         it for.  How much planned outages are you going to have, how much 
         are you going to have as part of a system.  What are you 
         steps?  For example I work in a very regulated environment.  It 
takes 1 admin
         a full 20 hours of work.....20 hours of work not including peer 
review just to
         deploy a system...that includes an Ultra 10 that might be part of 
the regulated
         environment just to meet government regulations.  That's 20 hours 
of work does
         not included helping someone do something else sitting in on a 
meeting, working
         with vendors or anything and one, which pretty much mean 1 full 
week for an admin
         to deploy a system.  Take you environment and figure all that 
in.  Don't forget SUN
         will insist on doing the hardware basic OS deployment of the 
system and you
         will probably pay 15 to 75k for it as well.

         To answer you question I can setup and E10k and never work on it 
again, if we
         didn't have to change or manage the environment.  That number is 
really up to
         you.  However my comment in question #1 I think is a really 
important step
         for anyone planning on making a major investment in technology 
like this,
         whether its HP,IBM or even Unisys.  Go to the training before so 
you have an
         idea of what to expect.  You may find you don't need it :)

-Todd Wilkinson
sunmanagers mailing list
Received on Mon Apr 29 13:58:34 2002

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