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#1 2014-09-09 22:40:05

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
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Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

One popped up on eBay fully functional. I jumped at it. Not super cheap, but looks like in good condition. Should arrive next week.

The reason I have a particular interest in the WGS 9150, other than its general rarity, is that it is the machine closest to Wormhole, the ancestor prototype of the "big Apple server project" prior to Shiner and the ANS.

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#2 2014-09-09 23:27:20

mcdermd
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From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 946
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

cool

You'll have to post some pics and impressions.


Daily Drivers: 27" iMac 2.8 GHz Quad-Core i7 (Late 2009), 21.5" iMac 2.7GHz Quad-Core i5 (Late 2013), 11" Macbook Air 1.6 GHz i5 (Mid-2011)
See the restored heroes here.

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#3 2014-09-10 02:30:40

Mk.558
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Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

I'd be especially interested in a quick review of AIX. Never seen it in RL.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#4 2014-09-10 03:34:07

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Mk.558 wrote:

I'd be especially interested in a quick review of AIX. Never seen it in RL.

I assume you mean AIX on the ANS. Under the hood, it's System V with BSD extensions, which is nice because you get the best of both worlds. What people most remember about AIX, though, is smit -- the configuration tool. It's typical IBM corporate overengineering, but it works well and lets you do many tasks from a nice menu. ANS AIX added the AppleTalk stack and AFP-over-TCP. You could even remotely send jobs over AppleTalk from a Mac. It was rather cool.

I was an AIX system administrator in my former job all the way back to 3.2.5, and the main Floodgap server is also AIX, but running on a relatively modern POWER6. The ANS ran Floodgap from the first day I got the domain in 2000 until I finally retired it in 2012.

My ANS stuff has its own page.

Wormhole, though, was supposed to be the original "Apple big server." A few people have seen Apple's original 601 server in the flesh, running NetWare, and apparently it sucked. It was described as "a weird PPC 601 in a Quadra 950 case prototype." Anyone who's seen a 9150 will immediately recognize the similarity. Wormhole died a rapid death due to tepid response and the next attempt was the 604-based Shiner, this time with IBM AIX, which became the ANS. However, my suspicion is Apple just recycled the hardware design for the 9150 and had it run Mac OS instead.

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#5 2014-09-10 08:08:17

LCGuy
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From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-13
Posts: 807

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

ClassicHasClass wrote:

NetWare

That would be the reason why it sucked smile (sorry...my high school's network was all Novell....and it sucked. This much.) I will say though...while I know that Novell was popular on PC networks back in the day....given that it is Apple, I am surprised that they chose NetWare for it and not something a bit more Mac friendly.

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#6 2014-09-10 11:31:52

Mk.558
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Registered: 2014-07-08
Posts: 160

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Perhaps it might be prudent to move this to a new thread I suppose. ANS/AIS/WGS discussion thread  perhaps.

I'll have to dig around that site. Floodgap I know only because of the gopher proxy.


SE/30 Cap Replacement http://tinyurl.com/mjf24zs
Classic Mac Networking v3.1 http://applefool.com/se30/
"Linux assumes you know exactly what you are doing." -oboedad55, ubuntuforums.org

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#7 2014-09-10 13:37:01

ScutBoy
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Registered: 2014-05-25
Posts: 156

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

In that timeframe, NetWare was "it" as far as small/medium office networking was concerned. LanManager/Windows networking was in it's very early stages, and Appletalk had basically no way to deal with non-Apple machines. Not having a high-speed interface like ethernet until relatively late in the game didn't help.

Novell at least tried to acknowledge that Macs could and should be able to network with other machines. There wasn't anything else that was "Mac-friendly" smile

After saying all that, I will totally agree that NetWare for Mac sucked, and NetWare in general was a pain to deal with. wink

I think the interesting story from this period would be how Novell, with a commanding installed base of NetWare, and a pretty good directory service in NDS got their lunch eaten so thoroughly by Microsoft. I don't necessarily mean from a technical standpoint, but how from the business side Novell didn't react better and ended up sinking into relative oblivion in the space of less than 10 years. Of course, with Microsoft basically building in the technology for free in the product, it's pretty hard to compete, but I think the "fall of Novell" would be an interesting business analysis.

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#8 2014-09-10 15:28:54

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

I didn't hate NetWare, though I didn't like it much. Heck, I stole lots of software off my friend's university's unprotected NetWare server. smile smile smile

But it wasn't very Mac-like, and it wasn't a good choice if you had to junk MacOS in the first place.

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#9 2014-09-10 16:15:11

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 524

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

So what do you plan on doing with your 9150 when you get it? I suppose on one hand it's a... unique piece of history in its own way, but on the other you'd have to work pretty hard to find a worse machine for running a "real" OS on.

(I'm sort of curious  how the WGS 9150 compared to the A/UX-based WGS95 in practice. Sure, the CPU's a lot faster, but Apple's own literature for the WGS95 showed the A/UX-based Appletalk server scaling massively better than their MacOS-based server solutions. When you consider how much of the MacOS ran in emulation back then it's hard to imagine it exactly qualifying as a giant step forward.)


Flap Different.

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#10 2014-09-10 18:40:19

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

No, the 9150's going to be a museum piece. Unlike the ANS 500, which serves a purpose (and had to temporarily take over for the POWER6 when it blew its backplane a few months ago), I agree there's not a lot useful for it to do, though I also mention for the record I'm the dweeb doing my household DNS service with a NetBSD IIci. I was thinking about MkLinux, though. Never played with it much. Maybe MachTen, though I already have that on a number of machines.

I think your assessment of the AWS 95 vs the WGS 9150 is spot on, myself, which is the reason the ANS existed in the first place.

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#11 2014-09-11 16:53:48

Eudimorphodon
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Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 524

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

It's sad that the MkLinux.org website finally seems to have gone the way of the dodo. I'll miss their groovy dancing penguin GIF.

(Oh, wait, I can grab him off of archive.org. The website was still there in February... last "MkLinux News" item was from 2009.)

I know there was at least partially working support for NuBus Macs in Linux 2.4 (and possibly 2.6?); an old version of Debian might be a possibility on it. You need to get to get your hands on an AWS 95 and come up with some sort of Appletalk performance benchmark slapdown pitting AppleTalk Pro on A/UX against whatever server software came on the WGS 9150 and Netatalk running on Debian on the WGS 9150 hardware. That would be a totally worthwhile way to spend a long, long weekend! wink


Flap Different.

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#12 2014-09-11 22:55:55

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

I'll miss their groovy dancing penguin GIF.

Thomas Carlson's also got you covered. Fortunately it looks like lots of people mirrored the pre-DR2 release, so it won't be lost to the ages.

I strongly suspect some of the work on the OSF/1 A/UX was reused in MkLinux. They were both Mach, and they both involved OSFRI.

I was doing some digging on codenames and it looks like the Green Giant was the codename for the WGS 9150, so Wormhole was likely the name for the NetWare port. Now, NetWare 3.0 did have Portable NetWare, and it was deployed by other OEMs, so I'm betting it was a port of that; it would have been the easiest path to market.

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#13 2014-09-13 08:31:26

volvo242gt
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From: Duvall, WA
Registered: 2014-05-22
Posts: 404
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Hmmm, maybe just use it as a PowerMac 9100/120, since it seems that server duties are covered...

-J


68K: Q650 48/1.2G/CD
modern: Mac Pro 2.8GHz 8-core 6GB/500G/DVD-RW, A1150 MBP 2GHz CD, 2GB/80G/DVD-RW
Pre-Mac: ][+, //e
other: iPhone 6s 128GB Space Gray

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#14 2014-09-13 17:51:22

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Well, it's an /80 ... but I have many NuBus G3 cards hanging around.

I think I have the story of Green Giant and Starbucks figured out. The unit should be here on Monday and I plan to test a few theories when it comes.

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#15 2014-09-18 05:45:06

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Picked it up and got it to the house. It's incredibly dirty but appears to have mostly survived the trip except that the NuBus video card was loose inside the case (!) and one of the plastic snaps holding the motherboard seems to have broken. It powers on, but makes no bong, though I really just need to get it on the workbench and give it a shakedown. It's not too badly yellowed.

However, I would like to point out a real server moment. Today, I had to install a PCI serial port card in the POWER6. I told AIX I wanted to install the card. It said slot such-and-such was open. I said okay. It said that the activity light was enabled over the correct slot and to insert the card. I took off the side of the running machine, located slot such-and-such with the blinking orange activity light, removed the spacer and inserted the card. I told AIX the card was inserted. It said okay, turned the activity light off, powered the card on and configured it. Now there is /dev/tty0 and /dev/tty1. I put the side back on. The server was running the entire time doing its normal tasks.

I can't think of any Apple server, even the Xserve, that was at this class of hardware configurability while fully up and loaded. The ANS at least had hotswappable SCSI bays, but you couldn't touch the logic board, and the AWS 95 and WGS 9150 don't even have that.

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#16 2014-09-18 07:41:13

mcdermd
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From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 946
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

All I've seen that on is Sun gear. I've also seen hot-swapping redundant CPU cards on big Cicso gear. That's nerve-wracking.


Daily Drivers: 27" iMac 2.8 GHz Quad-Core i7 (Late 2009), 21.5" iMac 2.7GHz Quad-Core i5 (Late 2013), 11" Macbook Air 1.6 GHz i5 (Mid-2011)
See the restored heroes here.

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#17 2014-09-18 16:15:54

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Actually, as long as the slot is powered down, it's probably no greater risk. But try doing that on consumer grade hardware.

Anyway, the serial card works and can ... send SMS. smile http://www.floodgap.com/iv/2332

I'm going to clean and test the WGS this weekend. It's an interesting board on the inside.

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#18 2014-09-18 17:13:57

bbraun
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Registered: 2014-05-29
Posts: 1,064
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Activity light on a specific slot?  Being able to physically identify logical devices?  What madness is this?  I can't even map a logical disk to a physical disk on the xserve.  In fact, I figure I'm doing pretty well if I can even map a logical machine to a physical machine with the one and only machine blinky light.

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#19 2014-09-18 18:53:31

Eudimorphodon
Member
Registered: 2014-09-02
Posts: 524

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Way back when I "admined" (IE, rebooted when it overheated and crashed, which was depressingly often during the summer thanks to the overcrowded closet it lived in.) an old telephone switch that ran Windows NT of all things that had a huge chassis with about two dozen *ISA* slots in it; I spent an few minutes one afternoon thumbing through the paper manual and discovered that it was apparently possible to hot-swap the PBX interface cards in it. (Apparently the backplane wasn't completely dumb, or possibly even completely ISA.) That's actually the only X86 server I've touched that had that feature; granted I've only rarely dealt with things much bigger than 2U commodity servers, of which the whole selling point is it's cheap, so cheap you're supposed to achieve uptime by scaling horizontally instead of trusting it to be reliable. tongue


Flap Different.

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#20 2014-09-18 21:26:13

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

True; this was a $10,000 server when I bought it and it was already two years old! (As fully configured.) Yes, every PCIe and PCI-X slot on it has an activity light and you can tell the operating system or ASMI to identify them or have the backplane power down individual slots. You can change out the cache battery on the battery-backed RAID while it's running, too; just warn the operating system first! About the only things that aren't swappable are the (of course) running power supply, the CPUs (though you can swap to another spare core) and the RAM. 'Course, when the backplane blows, you're screwed (as happened a few months ago).

On the other hand, the ANS was also a $10,000 server ...

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#21 2014-09-20 03:57:23

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
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Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

It lives!

First was the cleaning. These are the actual pictures from the eBay auction. The machine was quite grimy. It took me three hours and most of a roll of paper towels to get all the dirt off.

ew9150-1.jpg

ew9150-2.jpg

I then took some light steel wool to it to take a little of the yellow and some of the deep marks out.

2334.jpg

Then some more cleaning, recabling et voila.

2336.jpg

I panicked when it would still not power on. PRAM battery was good. No bong, no guitar chord, no video on the NuBus card or the onboard video. Then I looked at the programmer and reset buttons -- they were smushed in. I removed them. STRUMMMM!

I also finished my story of Wormhole, Green Giant and Starbucks, plus the NetWare on Mac that never was, and I think the references all match up now. Plus, pictures of the inside! Visit the link, discuss here!

http://www.floodgap.com/retrobits/ans/9150/

Last edited by ClassicHasClass (2014-09-20 03:59:58)

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#22 2014-09-20 04:31:19

cc333
Member
From: North S.F. Bay Area, CA
Registered: 2014-05-23
Posts: 562

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

I want that CD-ROM bezel!!!!!!

Nice machine, by the way!

c


Main Macs: Early '09 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 13"
Secondary Macs: Early '08 Mac Pro, Mid '12 MacBook Pro 15"
Playthings: Mac SE/30, 3.0 GHz Mavericks-based HackServe, Many others....
Desired: Lisa, Kanga PowerBook G3, Apple IIc, Apple II, Spare parts, etc.

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#23 2014-09-20 05:28:53

ClassicHasClass
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From: Electron Alley
Registered: 2014-05-26
Posts: 1,083
Website

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Thanks!

Sorry about the image hosting errors -- fixed.

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#24 2014-09-20 08:04:02

LCGuy
Administrator
From: Sydney, Australia
Registered: 2014-05-13
Posts: 807

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

Great example of a great machine smile

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#25 2014-09-20 15:50:54

mcdermd
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From: Corvallis, OR
Registered: 2014-05-12
Posts: 946
Website

Re: Achievement unlocked: Workgroup Server 9150

The Velcro cable guides were apparently added by the previous owner.

I think those are factory. My Q950 has them too.


Daily Drivers: 27" iMac 2.8 GHz Quad-Core i7 (Late 2009), 21.5" iMac 2.7GHz Quad-Core i5 (Late 2013), 11" Macbook Air 1.6 GHz i5 (Mid-2011)
See the restored heroes here.

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