Setting up the Sunfires, a.k.a. thumpers

Using Serial Console on a Sunfire

We have set up the ILOMs to respond on both serial and over ssh on the management network. They’re named sunfireN-bmc (for similarity with the others, rather inaccurately). Once logged in, run “start /SP/console” to connect to the serial console; to get out, feed a newline and then ESCape and open paren. (It’s the strangest escape sequence I’ve ever seen, but that’s what Sun chose.)

Drive Enumeration Order

The labels on a sunfire are not in agreement with Linux’s enumeration order, though the pointers in the bottom left corner (“ATTENTION!”) for boot disks are accurate. Linux enumerates the drives thusly:

ab af  t  x ar au aj an  l  d  d  h
aa ae  s  u ag av ai am  k  o  c  g
 z ad  r  v ap at ah al  j  n  b  f
 y ac  q  u ao as ag ak  i  m  a  e

Please note the curious reversal of au and av. I am not sure why.

Booting from USB Mass Storage Devices

The sunfire BIOSes are bad at what they do. They can in fact boot from USB media, but they do not have a separate option in the boot selection screen available by F8. Instead, you must enter Setup (via F2) and use the Boot menu’s Hard Disks option to promote the USB device over the actual hard disks, and ensure that the boot order is set to use hard disks first. It’s ugly, but there it is.

Installing a Sunfire, the Debian Way

These notes pertain to Jessie; they are probably relatively time-invariant.

  1. Do a Debian install

    1. using eth0 as the primary interface

    2. Use sdy and sdac as the root devices Currently, we use a md mirror and LVM

    3. Just before rebooting, grab a shell and:

      chroot /target
      grub-install /dev/sdy
      grub-install /dev/sdac
  2. Adjust networking

    In /etc/network/interfaces,

    allow-hotplug eth0
    iface eth0 inet dhcp
      pre-up ifconfig eth0 mtu 9000

    Then run:

    ifdown eth0 && ifup eth0
  3. Now add some packages and make some changes:

    apt-get install sudo deborphan vim strace tcpdump
    adduser localadmin sudo
    usermod -L root
  4. Install Ganglia reporting tool:

    apt-get install ganglia-monitor

    Modify /etc/ganglia/gmond.conf:

    cluster {
      name = "Trinidad"
      owner = "JHU ACM"
      latlong = "unspecified"
      url = "unspecified"
    udp_send_channel {
      port = 8649
      host = bigbrother
  5. Install OpenAFS and Kerberos tools:

    apt-get install openafs-client openafs-krb5 krb5-user
    • Our kerberos realm is “ACM.JHU.EDU”, note the lack of “trinidad”.
    • Our AFS cell is “”, note the lack of “trinidad”.
  6. While that’s going, you may as well make the machine serial-friendly:

    • Replace the contents of /etc/default/grub with:

      # Don't forget to run update-grub
      GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
      GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="console=tty0 console=ttyS0,9600n8 rootwait"
      GRUB_TERMINAL="console serial"
      GRUB_SERIAL_COMMAND="serial --speed=9600 --unit=0 --word=8 --parity=no --stop=1"

      And then run update-grub as the comment says. :)

  7. Fetch the kerberos keytab for this machine into /etc/krb5.keytab:

    chmod 400 /etc/krb5.keytab
  8. Install Ceph.

    The Ceph debian maintainers seem to have given up on having their packages in the official repository; experimental is (as of Nov 2016) two major versions behind. Therefore, you’re going to need to add deb jessie main to /etc/apt/sources.list. You may also need to install apt-transport-https because, well, debian. In any case, once you’ve done that, you should just be able to apt-get update && apt-get install ceph. Then copy the keyring and ceph.conf from an authoritative source.

  9. Install ZFS (note: as of this writing, sunfires 1 and 2 are installed by route a, and sunfires 0 and 3 have been reinstalled via route b)

    1. To get the packages from ZoL’s archive, run the following commands. Note that ZoL no longer supports this archive.

      dpkg -i ./zfsonlinux_2~wheezy_all.deb
      apt-get update
      apt-get install spl-dkms # (It's OK not to do this first except that it wastes time below)
      apt-get install zfsutils zfs-dkms zfs-initramfs
      sed -ie "s/ZFS_MOUNT='no'/ZFS_MOUNT='yes'/" /etc/default/zfs
      sed -ie '/\$remote_fs/ s/$/ +zfs-mount/' /etc/insserv.conf
    2. The necessary packages are also available from jessie-backports. In order to effect a changeover, you’ll need to remove the current zfs packages, then enable jessie-backports[#]_ in /etc/apt/sources.list (you will need main and contrib), and finally:

      apt-get update
      apt-get install zfs-dkms zfs-initramfs # (Have patience...)

      After, you’ll need to adjust the config as stated.


      Do note that there is presently (Nov 13 2016) a bug in these packages that prevents dkms from building them properly. While the bug persists, you will need to create some symlinks:

      ln -s /var/lib/dkms/spl/ /var/lib/dkms/spl/
      ln -s /var/lib/dkms/spl/ /var/lib/dkms/spl/

      and then dkms install -m zfs -v (and have more patience).

  10. Create some zpools:

    zpool create -o ashift=12 \
                 stor raidz /dev/sd{a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,i,j,k} \
                      raidz /dev/sd{l,m,n,o,p,q,r,s,t,u,v} \
                      raidz /dev/sd{w,x,z,aa,ab,ad,ae,af,ag,ah,ai} \
                      raidz /dev/sda{j,k,l,m,n,o,p,q,r,s,t} \
                      spare /dev/sdav cache /dev/sdau
    zpool export stor && zpool import -d /dev/disk/by-id stor
    zfs set checksum=fletcher4 stor
    zfs set compression=lz4 stor
    zfs set atime=off stor
    zfs set xattr=sa stor
    zfs create stor/osd
    zfs set recordsize=1M stor/osd

    Land a crontab to keep scrubs going on a regular basis. Try to balance them, temporally, across the different sunfires so that we don’t experience the whole cluster scrubbing at once:

    0 0 15 * * /sbin/zpool scrub stor
  11. Prevent updatedb (the worker for locate) from traversing the ceph backing stores: In /etc/updatedb.conf, add /var/lib/ceph to the excluded path list (PRUNEPATHS).

  12. Create some OSDs:

    OSDIX=`ceph osd create`; echo ${OSDIX}
    zfs set mountpoint=/var/lib/ceph/osd/ceph-$OSDIX stor/osd
    ceph-osd -i ${OSDIX} --mkfs --mkkey
    ceph auth add osd.${OSDIX} osd 'allow *' mon 'allow rwx' -i /var/lib/ceph/osd/ceph-${OSDIX}/keyring
    ceph osd crush add osd.${OSDIX} 10 host=`hostname`
  13. Update /afs/ and release the volume, then run /etc/init.d/ceph start