I went through the system and made sure that everything looked like what one would expect:
- both drives have the parity enable jumper set
- the SCSI chain is terminated on both ends
I reset the drive type on the internal drive by using the values the drive reports, repartitioned, copied the cpio image to the drive, and reinstalled.
I also removed the “DS” jumper on the drives which is for delayed start. Since these drives were from a big disk array, it was unwise to start all of the spindles simultaneously. Since these are being driven from different power supplies (one internal and one external) it really doesn’t make sense to wait for the first initialization command before spinning up the disk.
Hmm. Writing 20M to the disk took 6:07 — roughly the same as before.
So it’s time to see if this is a hardware or an OS thing. I want to install NetBSD anyway, so let’s do that. I want to get a version that’s in the same time frame as AMIX so that means NetBSD 1.0 or 1.1. The boot disk isn’t available on the network anymore for 1.0, so 1.1 it is!
I partitioned the disk as described in the instructions. No problems there. Copying the miniroot wasn’t an issue either.
Booting was a problem: There’s a bug in the loadbsd program that comes with 1.1 — it has an illegal instruction and it crashes. The loadbsd-2.14 version works just fine.
Once I got it booted to the minitroot, I had to get the distribution onto the disks. NFS wouldn’t work. And doing an ftp with a wildcard wouldn’t work either. I had to tar up the packages on the server side and then download them by name and extract them again to get the structure. No biggie, but something that took a few minutes to figure out.
Download speeds were much better than AMIX over ftp — 186-222K/s
I’ve started installing and the files are getting laid down onto the the filesystem. It seems about the same pace as the AMIX install…but then I remember that the NetBSD packages are compressed, so there’s a lot of CPU work going on.
So after the system is installed and I reboot its time to do some testing.
Under AMIX, a 100M copy of /dev/zero to /dev/null averaged around 400K/s. NetBSD is just over 1M/s. That’s a huge improvement.
20M of /dev/zero to a disk file was 33K/s on AMIX….241K/s on NetBSD. Reading that same file was 252K/s under AMIX and 355K/s with NetBSD.
So, overall, NetBSD is much faster on the same hardware.
A real world test is running configure for gzip, which is what started me down this path in the first place. On AMIX it took around 45 minutes (two episodes of Pokemon) to output anything and it would crash shortly thereafter complaining that “rm -f” wasn’t standards compliant.
It took about 8 minutes to get to the first line of output, and then complained that my clock is out of whack. So I killed it.
The performance is better under NetBSD — do I even keep AMIX?