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RP zero as server to SGI workstation

Posted: Mon May 21, 2018 1:47 pm
by Halfloaf
Hi,

I'm a hobbyist user of old SGI workstations and software, I currently have an Octane and O2 that I use for some vintage 3D software.

My SGIs are currently served via a Debian install on a spare drive in my dual Xeon 2010 MacPro. In order to reduce my electrical footprint, I thought about setting up a RP zero as a NFS server and remote desktop client for my SGI machines. Currently, there is no planned community support for HTTPS enabled browsers on IRIX and as such the best means to browse the web is via a remote desktop on these old machines.

The SGI's have the usual internet / networking capabilities such as ssh, rdesktop, NFS etc.

Would this be doable?

Re: RP zero as server to SGI workstation

Posted: Mon May 21, 2018 6:25 pm
by epoch1970
Cool, I have fond memories of an O2.
Frankly if you turn the machine into an X Terminal, you want as best networking and IO/s as you can get, and a Pi won't do. Especially not a Pi0.
Something like a PCEngines APU might do (good IO/s, CPU not so much), but that is already more expensive, larger and more thirsty than an RPi.

Re: RP zero as server to SGI workstation

Posted: Mon May 21, 2018 6:40 pm
by B.Goode
Greetings.

I probably can't help in any practical way, but among my many indiscretions I spent some time as a sysadmn for a collection (not a cluster) of Silicon Graphics hardware - a headless 'mainframe' and several desktop workstations - running irix.

The difference in price for the differential in performance is so striking that I would strongly suggest starting out with a top of the range RPi3B+. Apart from anything else it comes with better-than-fast-ethernet networking built in to the hardware.

Good luck!

Re: RP zero as server to SGI workstation

Posted: Mon May 21, 2018 7:35 pm
by Halfloaf
Thanks both, it's a bit of a nostalgia trip thing for me as I dearly wanted to use one of these after school in 1997. So roll on 21 years and a then $48,000 workstation is bought for £50! They are beasts and built like tanks (well, not the O2 so much) and I get a bit of a kick out of firing up a 400Mhz workstation from 1996 and still being able to use IRIX, such a simple and elegant operating system. The idea is to keep using them as much as possible, I hate throwing working vintage stuff away. (My MacPro is my daily driver, but it's just another modern computer :P )

Having looked at the Pi0 is does look a bit underpowered for what I need, though a 3B+ looks like it will do the job nicely as chromium looks well snappy enough. I'll start with one of these as the intention is to mount it in a spare drive bay or in the PCI card cage on the Octane.

I just need to find a way to supply 2.5A over 5V, it may have to be via an external psu. I'm not sure an 80pin SCA SCSI connector will provide that much. I know my SCSI drives pull 1A each but I'm not sure what the limit is on the SCSI backplane.

Having WiFi will also help as I'll want the Pi to serve the SGI with net access, if that is even possible. So BT Router -> Pi -> Octane. A bit like internet sharing on MacOS...? I need to get rid of the Cat6 cable dangling from my ceiling in the lounge...

Re: RP zero as server to SGI workstation

Posted: Mon May 21, 2018 8:04 pm
by epoch1970
Halfloaf wrote:
Mon May 21, 2018 7:35 pm
So roll on 21 years and a then $48,000 workstation is bought for £50!
In one of my first jobs, 1992, the company bought a Tadpole SparcBook at the then insane price of 99k French Francs. About 20k USD at that time, 35k USD today.
A few years later, that machine was used as bookend if not door stop...
All magnesium construction, wonderful machine. SunOS 4 (not Solaris), IIRC.