Sun Microsystems Computer Collection

I have been interested in Sun technology for years. I have used Sun boxes for email, dns, ssh and web servers, as well as firewalls. I have used them as development platforms for C, C++, Java, perl and bash shell scripting. I have also used them for database servers running Oracle, MySQL and PostGreSQL, as well as Quake 2 clients and game servers. I have administrated these servers running Solaris 7 thru Solaris 10.

I've collected quite a few boxes, appliances and parts. It's funny how expensive Sun technology is when it's new and how dirt cheap it can get when it's obsolete. Unlike my vintage S-100 bus computer, these boxes don't have any real value after a certain point, probably because Sun made so many of everything. Some boxes that used to cost tens of thousands end up costing $25 to $75 as scrap. How cool is that!!

One of my favorite sources for Sun stuff used to be the Boeing Surplus Store in Kent, WA. Unfortunately, they closed to the public in December 2007. And while they still run a virtual auction website, they don't sell the cool Sun technology on the auctions anymore; they found a company that buys all the good stuff under contract. So now it's either Craigslist or eBay.

I got some other Sun boxes from a Denver based consultancy that was on the verge of bankruptcy. They were selling off most of their technology assets to pay their employees' salaries. I felt compelled to help out :-) I bought a lot of monitors, servers, workstations and parts for near firesale prices. The company is now completely bankrupt. (I guess they ran out of hardware...)

Overall, the Sun boxes have always proven to be strong workhorse machines. Even full of dust and in hot and cold climates, they keep running. I've had some boxes (running Solaris) up for over a year without a reboot. They make a great platform to learn about enterprise computing technology and administration as well as learning about computer architectures that ARE NOT PC BASED. I was very pleased that these boxes would not boot Windows :-) 64 bit Unix all the way!

I have recently sold off most of my Sun equipment. I'm down to 7 boxes now. I've recently become interested in Apple technology and am needing some funds to buy a Mac Mini and a Macbook Air. We already have an iMac, an iPad and a Macbook Pro, plus 3 iPhones. I will always keep a few Sun boxes around to handle the basics, but the newer Apple technology is intriguing to me and I want to learn more about it.

Click images for larger versionsDescriptionManual
E250 on top, 220R underneath. I got the E250 from my current work. Our IT department donated it to me. I ended up maxing out the RAM and putting some faster procs in it. This was a solid box. no link
Bunch o' Suns: Several Ultra 2s, Ultra 10s, Ultra 60s, an Ultra 5 and a couple of D1000 StorEdge SCSI drive arrays. Underneath is a Tatung clone and couple of E3000s. Those E3000s were really cool boxes. Commercial grade components, assemblies and plastics. The hot-swap nature of the architecture was very interesting to study and tinker with. no link
My Cooper B-Line Rack. I originally got the frames for free from my old work (they ordered the wrong size for the data center layout and forgot to return them in time, so they were gonna throw 3 of them away! I grabbed all 3.) I ended up ordering some doors for it to completely seal it for use in the garage and basement. It has a filter on the bottom and a fan on the top to draw air through the filter. It did a great job for me for years. no link
Front bezel kit for 220R, 420R, 280R. Anyone who's ever worked around these Sun boxes know how easy it is to break these. I ended up ordering 4 new kits from Sun one year to clean up some boxes I bought from the Boeing Surplus Store. no link
More Suns: Some CRT monitors, E250, an Ultra 60, some 280Rs, 420Rs, a 220R and a couple of A5200 StorEdge Fibrechannel FC-AL drive arrays. The fibrechannel arrays are really cool. They had a touch screen LED management module on the front that let you change various configuration parameters for the array's operation. These units were originally connected to the E3000s and worked great. The problem with these, however, is they gobbled a lot of power, even at idle, and the unit weighs over 100lbs when loaded with drives. Plus, I had about 12 x 18GB FC-AL drives, which was a lot of energy to get almost 200GB of online drive capacity running, compared to a single 750GB SATA drive using today's technology. Still, it was very cool and taught me a lot about that kind of tech. no link
Last Rack Config: From the bottom up, there were 2 APC MasterSwitch PDUs, 2 CyberPower 1500AVR UPS, 3 x 220R Servers (max'd out configs), a D1000 Disk Array, a firewall and DSL router, some Intel boxes running Solaris Intel and OpenSuse Linux, an 8 port KVM and a 24 port switch. This config powered my home and Internet presence from my basement in Denver and my garage in Seattle. no link

Page created November 22, 2009