Sparc architecture support?

Status
Not open for further replies.

jazzslider

Cadet
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
2
Hello!

I've been researching FreeNAS as a possible replacement for OpenSolaris on my organization's NAS hardware. The machines are Sun Fire 480R's, which use the sparc64 CPU architecture as opposed to the more common i386 or amd64 architectures.

FreeNAS's hardware requirements document (http://doc.freenas.org/index.php/Hardware_Requirements) states that FreeNAS supports the same hardware configurations as its underlying OS, FreeBSD. Since FreeBSD has a sparc64 version I assumed I'd be able to find a FreeNAS image supporting sparc64 as well …however, there doesn't seem to be one on the downloads page.

Is it not possible to run FreeNAS on sparc64-based hardware?

Thanks!
Adam
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
18,681
It's unsupported.

FreeNAS is essentially a very nice wrapper around FreeBSD, offering a web-based GUI and other tools to optimize FreeBSD as a NAS platform. There is very little that FreeNAS does that FreeBSD cannot be made to do with only modest effort. However, making FreeNAS support every possible platform FreeBSD supports is a dicey proposition, because there are so many little caveats and gotchas in the implementation differences between systems.

You may wish to consider running FreeBSD and just dealing with the configuration through the shell. FreeBSD is a competent server operating system. But it'd be good to consider why you're switching from OpenSolaris, which is also a fairly competent server operating system.
 

jazzslider

Cadet
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
2
Thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I've definitely considered just going with FreeBSD on its own and configuring the NAS functionality manually; I just wanted to make absolutely certain that we couldn't just use FreeNAS instead and save ourselves some time.

As far as OpenSolaris goes —my understanding is that Oracle has discontinued long-term support for it. We really can't afford to run our NAS on an OS that isn't going to get any more security updates moving forward. We did look at OpenIndiana, the community fork of OpenSolaris, but it doesn't feel quite mature enough yet for production use. Personally, I'd love it if we could just install Linux on this box, since that's what we use for almost everything else we do —but every distribution I've tried has had hardware incompatibilities with this particular Sun Fire.

So, FreeBSD seems like the best option at this point; it's got a great reputation, appears to be compatible with the hardware, and supports all the functionality we'll need.
 

louisk

Patron
Joined
Aug 10, 2011
Messages
441
You could (with a little hacking) do your own build of FreeNAS as a sparc64 build. I don't see a reason why it shouldn't work. You might have to tweak some of the kernel modules for hardware support, but shouldn't be anything major.
 

jgreco

Resident Grinch
Joined
May 29, 2011
Messages
18,681
The devil is in the details. Of course it'll "work", but any assumptions built into FreeNAS about endian issues, communicating with hardware/drivers/etc., reporting, etc., may pop up. Look to all the minor problems that people who install the i386 version seem to have, and then think about figuring that out, on your own, on a software build no one else has, on a platform no one else has used with FreeNAS.

It'd be a delightful thing to hack on, but proposing it as a solution for an organization's NAS needs? Most organizations are not looking to run their NAS on what would be a pre-alpha-grade project.
 

louisk

Patron
Joined
Aug 10, 2011
Messages
441
Not to mention that typically one wants new(er) hardware when spinning up a new project. If its something for home to hack on, it sounds like a great project, and I'm sure you would learn more than you would expect. For work, the time you would spend on it would be much more expensive than buying a TrueNAS, let alone some cheap rackmount server with 10-20T of SATA.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top