History of Sun Firmware Naming and Versioning


Firmware Releases for SPARC Systems

Sun has been designing workstations and servers for over 25 years. In that time, both the architecture and the associated firmware spanned many different implementations, names, and versioning schemes. This table is a brief overview of the major iterations. For brevity, the table includes only SPARC systems.

Overview of Firmware Releases for SPARC Systems

Name

Version History

Platforms

Forthmon

Version 1.x (Debut in 1989):

Original Forth-based boot firmware.

SPARCstation 1

OpenBoot

Version 2.x (Debut in 1991):

The original, predecessor of the IEEE 1275 standard.

SPARCstation 2 through UltraSPARC IIIi and IV platforms

Version 3.x (Debut in 1995):

Sun's fully compliant IEEE 1275 standard (Open Firmware).

Version 4.x (Debut in 2001):

Still IEEE 1275 compliant, but rearchitected for more modularity to cover a broader range of systems.

Midrange Firmware

Version 5.x (Debut in 1995):

Used a different OpenBoot application that was implemented in C, rather than Forth. It included a VxWorks-based Real Time OS and a System Controller Application. The LPOST firmware component was shared (due to use of a common processor Uniboard) with the Sun SPARC Enterprise 15K and 25K System Management Services (SMS) Service Processor software used on its System Controller.

This version shipped exclusively with the Sun Fire 2x00, 4x00, and 6x00 servers.

Sun Fire 2x00, 4x00, and 6x00 servers

Sun System Firmware (SysFW)

Version 6.x (Debut in 2005):

Derived from the previously separate OBP (Host-side) and ALOM (Service Processor-side), SysFW 6.x includes both 4.x OpenBoot and the Service Processor-side ALOM-CMT. ALOM-CMT was derived from the Advanced Lights Out Manager (ALOM 1.x) firmware versions used on Sun Fire V1x0, V2x0, and V4x0 entry-level servers.

This version of firmware is exclusive to UltraSPARC T1 processor based servers.

UltraSPARC T1 processor based servers

Version 7.x (Debut in 2007):

Derived from SysFW 6.x, and sharing the same OBP, POST, Hypervisor, and vBSC components, SysFW 7.x utilizes ILOM (commonly used on x86-based and x64-based Sun systems) instead of ALOM-CMT.

This version of firmware is currently exclusive to the UltraSPARC T2 and UltraSPARC T2 Plus processor based servers.

UltraSPARC T2 processor based servers

UltraSPARC T2 Plus processor based servers

Version 8.x (Debut in 2010):

Derived from SysFW 7.x, and sharing the same OBP, POST, Hypervisor, and ILOM components, SysFW 8.x introduces the Guest Manager feature and a restructured Reset phase in the new Nyx 1.0 component that replaces the previous vBSC 1.x reset functionality.

This version of firmware is currently exclusive to the SPARC T3 and T4 processor based servers.

SPARC T3 processor based servers

SPARC T4 processor based servers

Version 9.x (Debut in 2013):

SysFW 9.x is a continuation of the Sun System Firmware (SysFW) lineage, and shares the same OBP, Hypervisor, ILOM and Nyx components. SysFW 9.x introduces a re-designed Power On Self Test (POST) which increments to Version 5.0.

This version of firmware is currently exclusive to the SPARC M5 and T5 processor based servers.

SPARC M5 processor based servers

SPARC T5 processor based servers

System Management Services (SMS)

Version 1.x (Debut in 2001):

A set of Solaris packages that included both firmware-level (OBP & POST, Service Processor, and so on) components as well as Solaris-level application support.

Sun Fire E12K through E25K servers

Extended System Facility Control Program (XCP)

Version 1xxx (Debut in 2007):

A set of Solaris packages that included both firmware-level (OBP & POST, Service Processor, IO Box, and so on) components as well as Solaris-level (Solaris OS, Sun Management Center, Sun Validation Test Suite) components.

This version ships exclusively with the SPARC Enterprise M3000, M4000, M5000, M8000, M9000 servers.

Sun SPARC Enterprise M3000, M4000, M5000, M8000, M9000 servers


Release Numbering for Sun x86/x64 Systems Firmware

For reference, note that Oracle has a full line of Sun servers based on Intel and AMD x64 processors. The history on the non-SPARC systems side might be filled in at a later date.

All current products provide Oracle Single System Management utilities which include a package of firmware that includes the BIOS, ILOM Service Processor, installation assistants and various other tools and drivers.

Other Firmware

There are a number of other types of firmware associated with Sun products and niche markets that Sun is (or was) involved in:



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