The Sun Netra X1 is an entry-level, that is, inexpensive and minimally equipped, SPARC server. It's small, a rather shallow 1U rackmount system. The Netra X1 is primarily intended to provide network services like DNS, web, mail, authentication and minimal database features. It's a stripped-down unit, about as close to a plug-in-and-go toaster as you can get from Sun.
- Production dates: 2000-2002. Officially replaced by the similar, but less appliance-ish Sun Fire V100.
- Application architecture: sun4
- System architecture: sun4u
- Processor: 1 UltraSPARC-IIe at 400 or 500MHz, socketed.
- RAM: 4 DIMM sockets, PC133 SDRAM, ECC. Maximum installed RAM appears to be 4GB.
- Graphics: None.
- Floppy: none.
- Hard Drives: 2 bays for standard 3.5" quarter-height IDE disks.
- Audio capabilities: None.
- Expansion: None internal.
- External ports:
What the Netra X1 did, and what it can do now
The Netra X1 was designed to be a cheap, easy-to-manage drop-in server that could be managed remotely. It was precisely the sort of machine that could be squirreled away in a comms closet and largely forgotten, and would keep on ticking, doing its job until time_t rolls over. It still does this well. I can hardly think of a better stick-it-in-and-forget-it DNS server, web proxy, time server, or similar light server.
So, what operating systems can it run?
Its native OS is Solaris. They shipped with Solaris 8, and that's the earliest version that really works right. They will run Solaris 9 and 10 as well. Indeed, Solaris 10 may well be one of the strongest choices for an OS on them. Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD and OpenBSD are also supported, and all are pretty good choices. Since they lack any kind of removable storage, you'll have to boot them over the network to do the OS installation. This should be easy enough for all supported OSes.
Finding one, and how much you should expect to pay.
Lots of these were sold, and they were never terribly expensive. Even well-configured, they sold for around $1200 new. Used, prices are probably in the double-digits these days, more often than not. This is one of the easiest Sun machines to get, though not necessarily the best way to go about learning Sun hardware, because of its appliance-like nature.