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Solaris Machine Shut Down After 3737 Days of Uptime 409

An anonymous reader writes "After running uninterrupted for 3737 days, this humble Sun 280R server running Solaris 9 was shut down. At the time of making the video it was idle, the last service it had was removed sometime last year. A tribute video was made with some feelings about Sun, Solaris, the walk to the data center and freeing a machine from internet-slavery."
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Solaris Machine Shut Down After 3737 Days of Uptime

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  • This is news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fished ( 574624 ) <> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:44PM (#43175837)

    I work at a Very Large Company (who must remain nameless.) We've got Solaris boxes that were last rebooted in the 90's. Yes. Really. Running Solaris 2.6, even.

  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:58PM (#43176001)

    Did they power it back up again after shutting it off? Just to see?

  • Netware 3.12 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slaker ( 53818 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @04:59PM (#43176019)

    One of my clients had a Netware 3.12 machine on site that operated continuously about about 16 years. It was retired unceremoniously when they moved to a new location, but that machine did not in all its life have a hardware fault or abend.

  • Re:Uptime fetish (Score:4, Interesting)

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:12PM (#43176163) Homepage Journal

    The old adage holds true: Iffen ain't broke, don't fix it.

    If the machine is in an area where security is important, certain security patches might be needed. But that's no certainty. Other patches - well, with an uptime of 10+ years, adding a stability patch which causes downtime seems rather counter-productive.

    Then, experienced sysadmins, which you clearly are not, know that like the most dangerous time for an airplane is during takeoff and landing, the most dangerous time for a server is during shutdown and start. Stiction on old drives, minor internal power surges during boot that doesn't affect a running system, and much else can cause problems.

    Oh, and there are also services that you may want to provide 24/7 with no downtime at all, so help you cod. You even mention one such in your nickname. But I have strong doubts whether you truly have kept that service up and running 24/7, even with failovers, if you install patches and reboot just to install patches and reboot.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:32PM (#43176395)

    That's why Opensolaris even existed in the first place. So people couldn't be gouged for documentation, critical security updates, and support. I used Linux a lot before using Solaris for about 4-5 years exclusively as an OS in a couple projects. The main reason for this and I think a lot of people's favorite thing about Solaris is the ZFS filesystem. All the cool stuff it does, it's probably the best filesystem ever made so far and I really like it.

    However my happy Solaris experience ended there, this coming from a Slackware user. The packaging system was crappy (had to go to some sunfreeware site to get the most basic things), The default services for Lamp on solaris 10 i think it was did not work properly.. You then had to get this thing called coolstack, which enabled a stable lamp enviornment, which evolved into some "webstack' bastard. That and the damn 'service contract' you needed to get critical security updates. The actually OS updater for critical patches caused a complete system reinstall a few times. This I could never figure out or even question anyone because you needed a 'service contract'. It was just madness. To be honest Sun is/was just as bad a Oracle as far as that shit went - The only difference between sun and oracle is that sun also made amazing hardware that seems to run forever.

    So coming full circle, if Linux ever got ZFS or some such badass equivalent filesystem then it would be a perfect world for me. unfortunately I think license restrictions prevent this (though i hear freebsd partially supports ZFS now due to a difference licence)

  • Re:Uptime fetish (Score:4, Interesting)

    by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @05:40PM (#43176475)

    It's not like Sun has issued very many Solaris 2.6 patches in the last few years...

    Besides... Many Solaris patches simply didn't require a full reboot. In fact, unless you are changing the Kernel, there was no reason to because it just takes longer. Then there is the mission critical system that is on an isolated network that you take a "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" approach. Who cares what patches are on or not? The system just needs to work, day in and out, sans patches.

    Windows users amaze me with all the "got to reboot the box" they put up with. Install software? Reboot! Install new drivers? Reboot! Things start to slow down for unknown reasons? Reboot! I simply don't believe that it should be necessary to reboot a box very often. Reboots should not be required unless you are changing hardware and have to actually power it off or need to change parts of the memory resident portions of the operating system (i.e. the booted kernel image). Windows is getting better about this, but you still need to reboot it way too often for all the "recommended" patches to get installed.

  • Re:This is news? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Grog6 ( 85859 ) on Thursday March 14, 2013 @06:42PM (#43177037)

    Amazingly enough, in my experience, two days in a truck is not nearly as bad as a few weeks in an extremely temperature-controlled, vibration free room.

    The drives will weld to the platter if there's no vibration or movement after "spinning themselves flat" over many years' time.

    Apparently, all the micro-projections on the surface of the heads and disks get worn off over time, making the disk and heads Extremely flat; they stick like glue when the air barrier between them escapes over time.

    Thermal changes and ambient vibration are apparently enough to keep things 'fluid', and not as likely to stick.


  • Re:Uptime fetish (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <> on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:00PM (#43177193) Homepage

    Then, experienced sysadmins, which you clearly are not, know that like the most dangerous time for an airplane is during takeoff and landing, the most dangerous time for a server is during shutdown and start. Stiction on old drives, minor internal power surges during boot that doesn't affect a running system, and much else can cause problems.

    On the other hand, I worked on a system for the US Navy that controlled Trident-I missiles... we rebooted both of our main computers every six hours to ensure that we could reboot them when needed - and the first one after midnight included an extensive hard drive self test to make sure it was working to spec. The gentleman down thread has it right, the answer to 100% uptime is redundancy and failover or switchover, not relying on nothing ever going wrong.
    In addition, you seem to be unclear on the difference between a reboot and power cycling... In the latter case, if you're worried about stiction and power surges, that's an indication that you should have been thinking about replacing the machine for quite a while rather than hoping nothing ever goes wrong. Because eventually, something will - and when that happens, now you've potentially got two problems... the one that brought the machine to it's knees, *and* the undiscovered ones because you've never rebooted or cycled power.

  • Re:Oracle sucks. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Thursday March 14, 2013 @07:41PM (#43177487)

    I will say that AIX is pretty good as well. In general, unless there is a show-stopper patch, or one installs a driver like EMC PowerPath that requires a reboot due to the hooks in the kernel, one can keep AIX up for a long while, only really bothering to update and reboot when the latest tech level is released, and if there are no security specific issues, even that can be ignored, although it is wise to keep up on new firmware stuff just in case.

  • by Almost-Retired ( 637760 ) on Friday March 15, 2013 @12:11AM (#43179603) Homepage

    I'd differ with that. I was fresh on the job, just 2 or 3 months, long enough to get the feeling I would be the scapegoat. The owner came in, and a deal the GM had made in a bar 2 weeks back hadn't worked out, and as the 3 of us were walking to the back of the garage to look at what we had, The GM tried to say it was all my idea.

    Wrong, I skipped out in front, spun around and said this stops right here and now, I was just following orders. The owner looked at the GM, looked at me, gave a barely perceptible nod, and started walking again. I didn't get pushed to take the blame again, but I did get pushed in every other way it seemed.

    Owners didn't get to be owners without a sense of who's right and who's wrong in boss/employee differences. Tell the truth even if you lose, because if you lose, that job was looking for somebody to do it when you walked in. I'd a hell of a lot prefer to stand my ground if I'm right, and admit it if I'm wrong, and I've done quite a bit of both in my 78 years. Honesty has paid off handsomely several times.

    About 2 years later another situation came to a boil, and I was the first one called to the owners office when he arrived. He wanted to know what it would take to fix it. I said 2 things, the gear these people are using is just plain worn out, its been on the road non-stop for at least 5 years, I can't get parts because the parts bills aren't being paid. I need 10 grand in parts, and I can't get a P.O. for more than $200 a month, COD. Hell of a way to run a train. Besides that, the technology has moved on. Its time to upgrade.

    His next question floored me, he wanted to know if he needed a new GM. I had to say it looked like he was, at the end of the day, the biggest roadblock to making things run smoothly. Then he had another dept head paged, 3 all told in the next 30 minutes. Years later he said they all agreed with me, so we had a new GM by the next morning. That and $150,000 in new gear put out the fire. That GM didn't work so well either after a couple years, but that's another story I am not directly involved in. The 3rd one is a pussy cat and we sometimes get into very noisy arguments even now, just to entertain the troops. He's a decent man, a motivated manager, but in a war of wits with me on technical stuff, he is unarmed and knows it very very well.

    Bottom line to this story is that I had already proved my worth from the 1st day on the job because they had about half the gear packed up to go back to the factory shop, expected 2 to 3 grand each for repairs with a 2 week turnaround time. I canceled that, unpacked them and handed in parts orders at about 10% of that per machine. All were back in service inside of 10 days, half that waiting on FEDEX or UPS.

    So it was a question of who was worth more to the person who owns the place. I stayed there 18+ years, have now been retired for 11 years, and the owner and I are still friends.

    Cheers, Gene

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito