The Sun Fire V210 is an entry-level to lower-midrange 1U rackmount server produced by Sun Microsystems. It was introduced in 2004, and is still in production as of 2007, though the improved Sun Fire V215 has technically replaced it.
- Production dates: 2004 - 2009.
- Application architecture: sun4
- System architecture: sun4u
- Processor: one or two socketed UltraSPARC III-Cu processors, 900-1500MHz. Most have 4MB of L2 cache, though the low-end 900MHz option has only 2MB.
- RAM: 4 184-pin DIMM slots per CPU, NUMA. (Similar to AMD Opteron). Uses standard PC2700 DDR SDRAM, but expects registered ECC DIMMs. Base configuration is one 512MB DIMM. Maximum configuration presently is 8x 4GB modules, for up to 32GB.
- Graphics: None. One PCI-X slot is available.
- PCI graphics options: PGX32, PGX64, XVR-100, Expert3D Lite, XVR-500, XVR-600. The XVR-1200 is too long to fit in the slot.
- Floppy: None. It is possible to connect a USB or SCSI floppy drive externally.
- Hard Drives: Two internal 80-pin SCA bays, Ultra320 SCSI. Standard option is one 36GB 10000 RPM disk. 73, 146 and 300GB SCSI options are available, too, in 10k or 15k rotational speeds. Any SCA SCSI disk should work.
- Optical drive: One internal slimline ATA device, typically a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM, though CD-RW and DVD-RW drives are available as well.
- Audio capabilities: None.
- 1 PCI-X 64-bit/133MHz expansion slot
- External ports:
- 2 USB 1.1 ports
- 4 RJ45 gigabit ethernet ports, each connected to a Broadcom PCI-X NIC.
- VHDCI 68-pin port for Ultra320 SCSI.
- 1 DB9 and 1 RJ45 RS-232 serial (460kbit/sec). The RJ45 is used as the console if no frame buffer is installed.
- One RJ45 serial and one RJ45 Fast Ethernet for the onboard lights-out management controller.
What the Fire V210 is designed for
The Fire V210 is designed as a low-profile, high-throughput server for small to medium businesses. Its quad gigabit ethernet ports and high-speed CPUs make it an excellent network server or compute node. NFS, web, web applications, DNS, authentication, scientific calculations or render-farm work are all good uses for the V210. Equipped with an XVR-500 or XVR-600 graphics card, it can also serve as a poor man's visualization server. Its high-speed disks and integrated Ultra320 SCSI also makes it a rather effective file server, especially when used with any of the various external disk cages sold by Sun, Dell and others. It's a quite powerful server, all around, generally competing with the high-end 1U offerings from most other vendors.
What operating systems will run on it?
The V210 ships with Solaris, nowadays version 10, but originally Solaris 9. 8 will also run, but earlier versions would be limited to the serial console only. Linux is the only free OS (other than OpenSolaris) which supports the UltraSPARC III CPU - Ubuntu Server is currently the best-supported distro, though Gentoo is a strong choice also.
Finding one, and how much you can expect to pay
This is a modern machine, still in production, but is one of the oldest designs that Sun still sells new. As such, you can sometimes find one used, usually from a corporate fire sale, rather inexpensively. Usually though, you can expect to pay only slightly less than Sun's full asking price, typically 3-5k for a solid configuration. If you're buying new, note that Sun charges inordinate amounts for RAM and disks - these are the place to pinch pennies. Compatible RAM and disks are available quite easily. Be careful of the warranty and service contract terms, though.
All in all, this probably isn't a machine that's apt to show up in an enthusiast's collection just yet - but then, you might get lucky. It's pretty much like most 1U servers, save for the SPARC CPUs, and will handle just about anything you might want to use such a server for. It's a good way to get high rack density for compute nodes, too, if you need SPARCs. (For example, Mathematica or certain 3D rendering apps).