about:XIN.at

 

IBM logo

This is my personal weblog at XIN.at. I am the creator of the XIN.at server and most of itsXIN.at, IBM PC Server 704 content, such as this WordPress weblog. All of this is being hosted on quite an ancient machine from the 90ties, to prove that such an old industrial/business server can still handle modern applications and content. This was born as a hobby project, and it has taken many years to fully complete the server, which now houses components from Austria, Germany, Canada, the U.K. and the USA.

So, the machine running all this is one central and important element. It’s an IBM PC Server 704 with four Pentium PRO 200MHz processors, 2GB FPM-DRAM, old SCSI storage hardware, good old Matrox Millennium II graphics cards and other PCI 2.0 compliant hardware, etc. If you want to know all the details, check out this link: [XIN.at server system information]German flag. This page documents a large part of the server build in a chronological order, showing most of the work and upgrades done on the machine.

Most of the stuff on this weblog will be clearly technology-related, you might find commentary on different tools, operating systems, hardware etc. here.

 

Enjoy your stay!
-the GAT

 

 

Full hardware system specifications of the IBM PC Server 704 “Zenit/XIN.at”:

  • System board based on the Intel AP450GX reference board, Intel 450GX Orion chipset
  • 4 × Intel Pentium PRO™ 1MB 200MHz processors
  • 16 × 128MB = 2048MB Parity FPM-DRAM augmented by IBMs memory board ECC (IBM ECC+P)
  • 2 × Adaptec AIC-7880 SCSI controllers onboard
  • 1 × Adaptec AHA-19160 SCSI controller
  • 1 × IBM ServeRAID-II SCSI RAID controller (IBM Viper+Rattler, IBM PowerPC 403GCX, 4MB EDO-DRAM Cache)
  • Matrox Millennium II PCI 4MB graphics card
  • 3Com 3C905CX-TX-M, 10/100MBit NIC
  • Intel PRO/1000 GT, 10/100/1000MBit NIC
  • Adaptec AUA-5100 USB2.0 card, PCI 2.0 5V compatible
  • 1 × Seagate Cheetah 10k.3 34GB/10.000rpm/U320 SCSI-3 HDD @ AHA-19160
  • 12 × IBM 9.1GB SCSI-2 7200rpm HDDs (RAID-5 Array with 3 hotspares) @ IBM ServeRAID II
  • Plextor PX-40 TSI 40x SCSI CD-ROM @ AHA-19160
  • Seagate 04106-XXX 125M / 12/24GB DDS3 Streamer @ AIC-7880
  • APC SmartUPS SMT2200I

Some information about the software working on the box:

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server SP4
  • Apache web server, SSL/TLS enabled
  • PHP, SSL/TLS enabled
  • MySQL 5
  • Gene6 FTP server, SSL/TLS enabled (FTPS/FTP+ES)
  • MDaemon Pro, SSL/TLS enabled (including Hashcash, proper DK/DKIM and SenderID/SPF setup)
  • AnGeL IRC bots
  • Kerio Winroute Firewall
  • FreeSSHD
  • Networx monitoring tool
  • PRTG network & hardware monitoring suite
  • AnalogX Atomic Timesync server
  • IBM ServeRAID monitor

 

Legal notice:

According to Austrian media law and amendments (“Mediengesetz”), §24/1/4 as well as §25/1-2/4-5 I hereby publish my name and residence as well as the editorial policy of this weblog.

  • Michael Lackner
  • A-8600 Bruck an der Mur, Austria

Editorial policy: XIN.at (including wp.xin.at) is a private, technology-oriented website without any commercial background and without any services offered in return for payment. The website discusses modern technologies in the sectors hardware and software. XIN.at is politically and economically independent.

I reserve the right to take legal action against any misuse of the information provided here.

All interactive contents (comments) posted by users of this weblog have to conform to all Austrian laws in effect. The publishers of all such contents are responsible for their own publications, XIN.at can not be held liable for what users are posting on this website. I will however do my best to remove all content that is in clear violation of any Austrian or international laws. In addition, users have to implicitly agree to have their contributions released under a free [CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 International License].

Furthermore, XIN.at can not be held liable for any external content linked to on this website, where external is defined by services which are not hosted locally on this server and which is not accessible under the www.xin.at or wp.xin.at domains.

Contact:

You can contact me by commenting on this page. The comment will be public of course. Alternatively, you can join the IRC channel #guests on [ircs://www.xin.at:6697] or [irc://www.xin.at:6666] in case your client does not support encryption.

If you wish to drop me an email, please post somewhere here first asking for email contact and enter a real email address of yours. It won’t be published of course, but I can write you then. If you wish to reply to me with an encrypted mail, I do support PGP/GnuPG. You can obtain the following public key beforehand:

GPG key: [0x5705E744].

Key fingerprint: 157D 4069 68E3 B7B0 D813 A48E 1B02 54BF 5705 E744

If you do send me an encrypted message, please attach your own public key in encrypted form too. Thank you.

Licensing:

CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 about:XIN.at by The GAT at XIN.at is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

  12 Responses to “about:XIN.at”

  1. I read about this thing: http://www.sandyflat.net/digerati/gatewayalr9000/alr%20fact%20sheet/index.htm
    Can’t remember where, it might have been your site %-)

    • Ah yes, the ALR Revolution 6×6, a living legend. That is, if there is still a person on this planet who’s running one of those. Needs its own HAL driver because of the twin 450GX chipsets connected by a HSI bridge. Basically two front side busses. Also confirmed to work with six Pentium II Overdrive 333MHz processors (Oh how I would LOVE being able to use those!).

      If I was able to go back to 2006… the year I got my own server… Ah, I could set so many things right… First, get that ALR machine, second… Use UNIX instead of Windows… but ah… :roll:

  2. hallo du,
    bin nur zufällig auf diese site gekommen und falls der server noch lebt
    und du wieder einmal gezwungen bist die batterien zu erneuern.
    schreib dir die batterie daten und abmessungen der USV auf, ruf
    in feistritz bei bären batterien an und erkundige dich nach equivalenten
    FIAMM typen. die kosten net die welt.
    lg.

    • Hey Swash,

      Since you’re from Austria, I’ll answer dual-language. ;)

      English:

      Jo, da Server lebt no, sunst hättest do eh kan Comment obsetzen kennan, wal da Blog rennt jo ah auf der Kistn. ;) “C:” hot schon a bissl an HDD Controllerschodn, owa a noglneie 15k SCSI Disk mit weniger ols 10 Betriebsstundn liegt bereit, muas mi nur amol aufraffn des Sys ummezuklonen…

      Danke für’n Tipp auf jeden Foll! Die Batts san noch wie vur ok, owa i schätz daß i se in 2-3 Johr wui werd tauschn miassn. Immerhin lafn’s meistens bei 30°C wos, jetzt grod sans 27°C. Donn werd i den Rotschlog amol beherzign und bei Bären Batts onruafn. Wal de APC Dinger san anfoch teia, und so guat sans dafia holt ah ned… Oiso donkschen! :)

      English:

      Yeah, the server is still alive, you wouldn’tve been able to comment here if it wasn’t, because the blog is running on that very machine. ;) “C:” already has a defective HDD controller chip, but a brand new 14k SCSI disk with less then 10 operating hours of is already waiting to replace it, only need to get over my laziness to clone the system over…

      Thanks for the hint anyway! The batteries are still ok, but I guess I’ll have to replace them in 2-3 years time, because they are running at temperatures around 30°C mostly, 27°C right now. I’ll follow your advice and call Bären Batterien then. The APC batteries are quite expensive after all, and they aren’t that good either. So thanks! :)

    • sorry… aufschreiben solltest dir die batteriedaten und die abmessungen der batterien und net der USV …
      mei föla ;) … lg.

      • Ah, hob i eigentlich eh so glesn auf die Schnölle (wal klor, wos g’mant wor). :) Owa dawal hoff i, daß die Batts zur Obwechslung anfoch amol NED verrecken die nächsten Johre… schen war’s holt scho! ;)

  3. That server looks great. I would love to see BeOS run on it.

    • Hey KP3FT,

      Interesting for you to say “BeOS” and not something like OpenBSD or some other UNIX or something… My only BeOS experience comes from several versions of the Haiku OS, which gave off a nice, smooth vibe. But it also seemed to be much more like a personal desktop oriented system, not so much a server? Despite multi-threading and all… Back when I tested it, hm.. Not sure if there even was an x86_64 version of Haiku available.

      Or do you mean “just for fun”? I can tell you one thing for sure: You don’t wanna run this monster as a personal desktop machine. It sounds a bit like a large civilian airplane during takeoff! Ugly smilie

  4. Hello and greetings from Texas. I ran across you web site by accident while I was doing a google search for “IBM PC server 704”. I have one myself. I must have bought it on ebay around about year 2000. Think I paid maybe $325 US dollars for it plus $100 or so dollars for shipping.

    Recently I’ve been thinking of parting it out. Basically gutting the whole thing and saving the case to make a super server similar to your “Taranis” project, which by the way is very impressive.

    If your interested I’d be happy to talk with you about any or all the parts. I see you’re looking for hot swap power supplies. I just checked mine and all 3 do have the “HS” on them. I’m not sure how much shipping would be from Texas to Austria though. Maybe $40 or $50 US dollars. I’m assuming y’all have DHL or Fedex there because I wouldn’t trust the US postal service.

    The specs on my PC server are:
    4-PPro 200 256 meg cache
    1 gig ram
    12-4.5 gig hardrives
    I have a serveraid card, I’ll have to check to see which one it is
    A cheap PCI 32 bit soundcard that works
    Also a PCI 32 bit USB card that I actually got to work under win NT 4

    I’ve replaced NT 4 server with various Linux distros. Think I started with red hat 6, 7, 8 and maybe 9. Damn small Linux worked from a CD. I can’t remember what I ended up with. I’ll start it up here in a little while to see what’s on it.

    Everything still works even after 20 or so years. It’s amazing to me. IBM built a rock solid box for sure. Too bad the technology is so outdated.

    If you’re interested, please let me know. The parts I’ll let go for cheap. $5-$10 whatever. It’s the shipping that’s gonna hurt. Too bad you’re so far away.

    Regards,
    David

    • Hello David,

      Interesting, you’re the second person (in many years!) who asked me about this, and both of you showed up at almost the same time. :)

      USPS is usually fine as long as the stuff is VERY well packaged. But I can also accept DHL. Fedex is problematic here I think (not sure whether they have local package depots) and likely far too expensive anyway.

      The most interesting parts would be the HS power supplies, the memory riser card + RAM and that ServeRAID card (if it’s a ServeRAID II). Maybe even the CPUs so I’d have a matched quad for emergency replacements.

      Is that email address that you specified when posting your real one? I guess yes (looks like it)? Then I can send you an email too if that’s ok. :)

      Oh, and thanks for your offer!

      Edit: Ah, and thanks for complimenting the “Taranis” array. ;) It took me more than a year to slowly accumulate all the parts and to finally build it. After all the trouble I had with it, I’m glad it’s finally running smoothly. Let’s just hope it’ll survive our summer here as well, ’cause I don’t have an AC. ;) Hm, I wonder how hard it will be to adapt the 704 chassis for using a modern RAID system tough, backplanes and all… If you’re really going to do that, and if you’re going to document that as well, please post a link then! I’d be interested to seeing that come together!

      • Michael,

        Yes the email at yahoo is good. It’s fine if you’d like to use that. I saw the other offer for parts too. When it rains it pours. 10 or 12 years ago there were a lot of spare parts on ebay but that all dried up. I did see a complete system there about a year ago but the guy wanted like $2000 for it with 2 CPS, 512 meg of ram and only a couple hard drives. Didn’t sell.

        I think I downloaded and archived article from around ’97 that listed a new PC 704 going for $50,000. Imagine that.

        I don’t think the ServeRAID card I have is a ServeRAID II. I think it’s a ServeRAID 3L or 3H. The FRU# is 76H6875. There’s also a part number on it too of 55H4486 but that doesn’t seem to bring up any info. There’s one on ebay here:

        http://www.ebay.com/itm/IBM-76H6875-ServerRaid-PCI-RAID-Controller-Card-TESTED-/200533839412?hash=item2eb0bf8e34:m:mrcplC4eCkyK9PPsrmTNPdQ

        that looks just like mine. Says it has the same FRU#. If you like I can take a picture of mine and send it to you.

        Used to be able to go to IBM’s web site and find everything for a PC 704, drivers, manuals, setup info, etc. But now I can’t find anything. In a box here somewhere I have a CD I ordered from IBM that has the ServeRAID drivers and I believe the program that ran under win nt 4 to setup a raid 5 arrary and everything.

        If you’d like the the memory riser card + RAM and the CPU card that’s great. I always wanted to upgrade the CPUs to the 1 meg cache ones but when they were available on ebay they cost more than I was willing to spend. At one time I even thought about using 4 PPro 333 mhz overdrive CPUs until I found out that they didn’t support SMP.

        Somewhere on a hard drive, CD or maybe a floppy I have the original ebay add for my 704 plus all the drivers, etc. I just haven’t been able to find it yet.

        Regards,
        David

        • Hi again,

          I took the freedom of editing your post, just for moving it down so it’s a reply to mine, not a new comment. I hope that’s ok. :) I’ll send you an email then, so you have my contact information, address and everything. We can talk about the shipping / payment details there.

          As for the hardware: I got the server in its minimal configuration off eBay for just 1€. Had to invest several hundreds for upgrades though. Memory was still cheap back then, but the upgrade CPU boards weren’t. Needed those to be able to run the 1MB CPUs. Plus new drives, third PSU and so on and so forth, to make it as powerful as possible.

          Oh, and the Pentium II Overdrives at 333MHz do support SMP, but officially only 2-way. Unofficially they can do 4-way as well, it’s just not supported by Intel. A User managed to run six of them in SMP on an ALR Revolution 6×6 which uses two interconnected i450GX chipsets (so, three CPUs per chipset, thus not exceeding the 4-way limit). That box needs a separate HAL as well, for Windows NT/2k at least.

          Unfortunately the CPU boards of the 704 have their own firmware, and they seem to have a CPUID whitelist flashed into them. So you can only use processors the CPU riser “knows” about as far as I understand the boards. I don’t think that the Overdrive CPUs will work at all in the 704. At least I never found any proof for the opposite.

          Best, Michael

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