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2 posts

Wannabe Geek

Topic # 95892 16-Jan-2012 12:25
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I have a customer that runs an very very old Sun System V machine. It hasn't been turned off since 1997. It controls some industrial equipment via serial port to grid of PLCs and they cant afford to replace it.

My idea is to virtualise it and put some new hardware. I am reasonably up on Linux and modern Unixes and I have done some stuff with VirtualBox and VMware but I have never dealt with such an old system. Does anyone have any ideas where I could start like a tool that would allow me to take a bit copy of the disk and virtualise that?

Any pointers would be greatly appreciated.


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2091 posts

Uber Geek
+1 received by user: 848

  Reply # 569412 16-Jan-2012 12:41
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Sun System V is not x86/x64 like your standard HP/Dell/Whatever server. VMWare isn't going to help you, nor will Virtualbox - you are talking something like containers or the solaris virtualisation technologies which are way way out of my area of expertise.

The fact that it is running something mission critical over serial would also suggest that virtualisation is not a good option without something of a rearchitecture (e.g. Serial/IP Digi boxes etc) anyway.

If it's a commercial product - talk to the vendor about options. A lot of vendors will not support their solution if it is virtualised. If it is developed in house - find the people who designed it.

In short. It won't be easy, and you are probably better off starting from scratch. 


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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 570961 19-Jan-2012 19:25
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I'm not a unix guy. But, even if it is an x86 platform, my guess is you will still face trials sorting out System V drivers for the new virtual hardware.

VMWare provides P2V tools, Ghost also has P2V functions, maybe Altiris does as well. Don't know about file system support, but you might get lucky.

A different approach - find a System V x86 distribution someone has got running on modern hardware and investigate moving the components over. Depending on the level of integration that could be very difficult.

Far from a professional opinion - but it sounds like a lost cause, and the cost and consequences of a coincidental hardware failure while you are in the middle of things is very high.


2 posts

Wannabe Geek

  Reply # 571240 20-Jan-2012 14:07
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Thanks for the replies. I think that this is a bridge too far.

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