Who We Are
The Datashed is a miniature data center in the American Southwest, in the spirit of the heterogeneous machine rooms of the 1980s and 1990s. Dedicated to melding old and new technology.

The Systems

The datashed hosts a variety of boxen. Cabinets 1 and 2 hold a two-node Alpha cluster running OpenVMS 8. These systems were originally part of the VA’s infrastructure for its VistA Electronic Health Record, before being decommissioned, having their drives wiped, and eventually ending up in my hands:

These units have a huge number of SCSI hard drives. The full cluster is actually four nodes and 127 drives, but I’m only running half of the cluster¬†at present.

Cabinet 3 holds a combination of HP Proliant servers and IBM System X servers, as well as a BladeCenter that includes a few x86 blades, and also a PowerPC blade for AIX:


Cabinet 3 Front View

The network rack¬†has a couple of SPARCStation 20s running Solaris 7, a VAXStation with no operating system, and an HP9000/800 I40 “Nova” server running HP-UX 11.0:

On the shelf behind the rack, you can see my NEC PowerMate SX, a 16MHz 386SX machine. There is also an IBM Aptiva 2144 (not pictured) which is a 66MHz 486DX2 machine. I am hugely into 386, 486, and early Pentium PCs, as this was the generation of machines that were current when I got heavily into computers.

I am also a big fan of 68k Commodore Amiga machines, and Macs of all stripes (but especially the ones that appeared early on after Steve Jobs’ return to Apple: clamshell iBook, PowerBook G3, blue and white PowerMac G3, early PowerMac G4, and the fruit-colored G3 iMacs).

I use one of the SPARCStations to gain console access to the network gear when necessary, and the other one to indulge my perverse hobby of developing joke websites that look like Geocities circa 1998. The HP9000 doesn’t get turned on very often, but at one time, it was my home mail server. HP-UX is difficult to work with nowadays, as the owner of the main HP-UX FOSS software repository died and the site went offline. The “Nova”-class HP9000 systems are also so obscure and proprietary that no free operating systems have ever been attempted for it. I’ve been attempting to get the VAXStation to netboot NetBSD, but bugs in the MOP code in modern NetBSD/VAX distributions have stumped me so far.

The main workstation where I hang out in here is a Sun Ultra 10 running Solaris 10, as well as the console for the Altusen 32-port KVM switch in the network rack (hooked up to the smaller monitor at the right). Occasionally, one of my old 386, 486, or early Pentium systems will show up here for playing with OS/2 or old MS-DOS stuff:

Main Workstation

Main Workstation