Newbie to FreeBSD on SPARC - questions about Sun hardware

Gavin Atkinson gavin.atkinson at
Mon Jan 11 23:27:13 UTC 2010

On Mon, 11 Jan 2010, Kaya Saman wrote:
> Actually I am not that much interested in the performance benefits between x86
> and SPARC; but more between OpenSolaris and FreeBSD on SPARC as I will be
> running either one on a Sun V480 server.

It's quite hard to say with any certainty.  I'd personally say that on my 
old Ultra 5, Solaris is a little faster, especially for IDE disk access.  
On my V480, I can't tell any difference in speed between FreeBSD and 
Solaris.  However, it's probably very dependent on the exact workload: 
something entirely CPU bound or I/O bound probably won't be any faster or 
slower whatever the OS is.

> The issue I am facing is purely down to software and administration. I mean
> the best example I can provide is that BSD has the packages I want at least
> for x86 which I've seen: that are Cacti, Munin, and awstats (should also be
> there for SPARC too) but then Solaris has zones which allow me to allocate a
> separate virtualized OS contained within the master OS or global zone. BSD on
> the other hand has jails and as from going onto the jails list apparently I
> can actually assign interfaces to various jails which is what I was going to
> do if I used Solaris Zones.

Briefly (and again, personal opinion):

Solaris Zones win over FreeBSD Jails (but if you're not using the extra 
features like resource limiting then there's probably no real difference).

Solaris hardware monitoring (failed PSU, etc) wins over FreeBSD (I'm not 
sure if FreeBSD supports any "fan failed" type stuff)

FreeBSD ports win over OpenCSW or Blastwave, by a *long* way.

FreeBSD community wins over Solaris community (I've had a lot of 
experience with both!).

At the end of the day, Solaris is always going to win on the level of 
hardware support, but from a day to day management point of view I'd say 
FreeBSD and it's ports win hands down.


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