SUMMARY: Gigabit ethernet on Sun V880

From: Doug Yatcilla <>
Date: Fri Oct 05 2007 - 10:30:23 EDT

There were nine helpful folks who sent quick replies.

First, Sun has a hardware compability list at

There is a section devoted to networking that currently has over 200
entries.  The advice was to make sure the device is certified to work
with Solaris.

Confusingly, Sun also seems to have another site with hardware
compability info:

A few described specific copper ethernet NICs they were using such as
Sun GigaSwift (qge and ce) interfaces.  Here is a link to one:
There are lots of third party vendors offering cards like that.

Two folks were using SysKonnect (SKGE 98XX series was mentioned once.)

Nobody who replied to me was using the built-in 1000Base-SX fiber
interface.  One reply said the fiber interface has support for jumbo
frames which might be missing from a copper-based NIC.  But, another
said the fiber NIC (gem interface) required excessive CPU in order to
drive it.

I thank everyone for their advice.  I plan on pursuing the plan laid
out by Steve Edberg who told me about his success in using an Intel
PRO/1000 MT Dual Port NIC in a V880 (Manufacturer Part# PWLA8492MT;
$162 from  Solaris sees it as the e1000g interface.

The advantage of the e1000g is that it is supported by the GLDv3 aka
Project Nemo network driver framework.

So, I could maybe use link aggregration (LACP) or IP multipathing
(IPMP) to use both GigE interfaces the Intel card provides.  I also
have some newer AMD64 based Sun servers that also have the e1000g
interface built in, so having the same interface in the V880 might
make life easier.  

Getting link aggregation to work properly is something I have not been
able to actually accomplish, though, and might be the subject of a
future Sunmanagers question!

In addition to Steve, thanks to Barry, Sandor, Scott, Francisco, Ric,
Joe, Will and Tim.


Orginal message follows:

I have an old Sun V880 running Solaris.  Up to this point, we have
been using the built-in fast ethernet/100Base-T copper ethernet
(which shows up as the eri0 interface with ifconfig.)

I recently discovered that the V800 also comes with a built-in
1000Base-SX fiber ethernet interface (I had mistakenly assumed it was
for connecting additional, external FC-AL disk drives.)

I don't know anything about 1000Base-SX and have only used CAT-5
cables for ethernet.

As far as I can tell, I would need to buy a GBIC SFP Transceiver
(about $150) and fiber cable ($50 for 10ft!) in order to connect that
port to our gigabit ethernet switch (a Linksys SRW-2048)

These days, it seems that copper gigabit ethernet is cheap and
everywhere.  As much as I doubt it, could I just get a commodity
PCI gigabit ethernet card ($20-$30 or so) and use it on the V880?

If not, I guess Sun sells more expensive copper gigabit cards.

My question is do you think it be cost effective to use copper or
fiber based gigabit ethernet in this case?

Does anybody use gigabit ethernet with V880s or Sun servers of that
vintage?  Any problems?

Thanks for your advice.

sunmanagers mailing list
Received on Fri Oct 5 10:30:41 2007

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