Archive for August, 2006

Positive Solaris 10 review in ComputerWorld

August 28, 2006
Last Friday Computerworld posted a very positive overview of Solaris 10 Update 2 as the first piece in an ongoing reviews series by Martin ‘MC’ Brown. This installment, simply titled Solaris 10 6/06, provides a technical overview of the new features in the last Solaris update, with a majority of the piece focusing on ZFS and the desktop improvements.

The review positions Solaris 10 Update 2 as a significant upgrade from previous versions highlighting an easier and quicker installation, improved fault management and a general overall improvement to the look and feel of Solaris.  The reviewer states, “For servers, the key elements are in improvement in the fault management systems that mean Solaris can detect and recover from errors in all AMD64 servers and a huge improvement in networking performance, sometimes up to 75% for TCP and 120% for UDP without requiring any changes to your applications.

In addition to the system level improvements, the review puts a lot of focus on the desktop improvements to Solaris 10 Update 2.  The reviewer states “Once booted, your first impression is that Sun are really moving towards an operating system that is trying to be as desktop friendly as possible” and then later mentions that “Solaris is really beginning to shine is in the desktop arena.

Thanks to Chris Ratcliffe for working with MC on this review.

T1000 review in TechRepublic

August 25, 2006
TechRepublic has posted a review of the T1000 server that also highlights the new advanced features and installation of Solaris 10 on the server. The reviewer, Justin James, examines the power-saving capabilities and advantages of the unit and suggests that “large enterprises […] would be wise to give the T1000 careful consideration.”  He also states that “organizations that currently have only one or two servers but that have expansion plans in the near future will want to consider beginning with a few T1000s.”

The review walks through a critique of the physical design and details the utilization of Sun’s Coolthreads technology, recognizing that it “allows the CPU to consume very little power, while at the same time allowing each core to simultaneously process four threads.” 

The new features of Solaris 10 listed in the review include ZFS, reliable data management, and support of “resource pods.” Justin notes that the product is an excellent OS for SMP and parallel processing services “which makes it a great fit for the T1 CPU.” Additionally, there is mention of Sun’s efforts to revamp Solaris features, such as the compatability of Solaris’ hypervisor on non-Sun platforms.

Justin does call out a few issues he ran into installing Solaris on the T1000 and does not recommend the unit for a company looking for one consolidated server, but does include a thorough examination of the benefits that both large enterprises and smaller shops can find in the T1000 and Solaris.

The review concludes with the suggestion that smaller shops familiarize themselves and switch to the T1000 now so that they “can start building up a library of Solaris installation images and gaining experience […] as their need for more advanced functionality increases.

Positive Cover Story Review of Ultra 20 M2 Workstation in MCAD magazine

August 15, 2006
Today MCAD Magazine posted a positive review of the Ultra 20 M2 workstation as part of the cover story for its Workstation Supplement. This review is part of a workstation roundup featuring three vendors including Sun. 

The reviewer Greg Corke takes a look at the internal and external views of the new Ultra 20 M2 running the Opteron Rev F and comments on “what a lovely little machine it is.” Greg also praises the set up of the internal system as very simple and easy to update.  

The review provides a buyer’s guide view of the various features that make up the workstation including the upgrade of capacity to 8GB, the use of Quadro FX graphics cards and the use of AMD’s new processor, indicating that the “Ultra 20 M2 is well equipped for the most mainstream CAD users.” Greg also highlights that performance is excellent and is “more than enough for most mainstream CAD users.

The article indicates that Windows does not come standard on these workstations, but Greg is quick to point out that regardless, Sun does provide full support to users who choose this configuration.  

The review wraps up with a few nice nuggets about the minimalist design and ability to scale down for users that don’t require much. Greg ends the review by saying the Ultra 20 M2 is “an excellent entry-level machine in a market that has been dominated by Intel-based workstations for so long.” Very true…

TechWorld review: “ZFS may well spread to … Windows”

August 14, 2006
TechWorld posted a very positive ZFS review today. As part of the article, Chris Mellor looks at why ZFS is so important for storage and ponders when other platform distributions will pick this up.  He states, “The advantages of ZFS look so great that its use may well spread to other UNIX distributions and even, possibly and eventually, to Windows.

Chris details the advantages of ZFS compared to existing file systems. He highlights scale, administration, data security and integrity as the reasons for ZFS’s success — “[ZFS] provides vastly greater space for files, hugely improved administration and greatly improved data security.” Chris specifically discusses on how ZFS has approached the concept of file systems and disk storage differently than current solutions, and details why this new approach offers users more benefits in multiple areas.

Overall, the review is very positive and positions Sun as a leader in file system technology — even pitting the current features (favorably) against those speculated to be included in the upcoming versions of Vista.

InfoWorld review praises Sun Ray

August 11, 2006

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Paul Venezia at InfoWorld today posted a positive review of Sun Ray 2 and Sun Ray 2FS, giving the products a score of 7.9 out of 10, or a “Good” rating.

According to Paul, this version of Sun Ray is “much more stable and much, much thinner” than previous versions. He then goes on to detail the difference between Sun Ray 2 and Sun Ray 2FS (size and support,) noting the fact that both are outfitted with SmartCard readers to support two-factor authentication.

Paul mentions that Hot Desking is one of Sun Ray’s key features, and it “works very well.” He also highlights the product’s simple firmware, as well as the Sun Ray software‘s ability to deploy Sun Ray servers in a fail-over scenario with both servers present on the dedicated network.

For part of the evaluation, Paul installed the Sun Ray software for Linux on a virtual server, finding the installation process to be “quick and relatively painless, as was running the brief network configuration script.

We got a little bit ding on Sun Ray management tools, plus Paul called out a problem he experienced with audio support. However, he noted that we are preparing a patch to address the audio issue and sent him a pre-release, which largely fixed the problem. Paul also mentioned his take at the beta release of the next Sun Ray software version, and “aside from a few bugs, it builds and runs on RHEL4, which is a very welcome step.

Paul concluded the review by saying, “if delivering a secure, manageable Solaris or Windows desktop is the goal, the new Sun Ray solution is worth a look. The bells and whistles are not just fluff when you need to deploy dual-monitor support or have a highly secure fiber network.

Positive Sun Fire T2000 review in Serverwatch

August 8, 2006
Serverwatch recently published a very positive review of the Sun Fire T2000 server.  Charlie Schluting notes that the T2000 is one serious server, with a host of innovative features due largely to the new T1 processor. He explains in detail the T1 processor’s unique core structure, which is the first of its kind, but says it won’t remain competition-free for long. 

Charlie goes on to explain that the T1 has a relatively low clock speed compared to the power-intensive and hotter Opteron and Xeon processors. “When most of a process’ time is spent waiting on memory anyway, it makes sense that each core of the CPU have something to do rather than sit idle, and this is how the T1 outperforms everyone else in high-utilization situations.

Charlie explains that while single-thread performance is admittedly slower, the high throughput computing is exceedingly impressive. In benchmark testing, he tasked a V240 dual processor server with building the GNU C compiler in a parallel fashion. Giving it 30 processes (make -j30), as expected, brought the machine to its knees. On the T2000, however, ‘mpstat’ came to life, and ‘prstat’ showed ‘cc’ processes on each of the 24 processors. Charlie states, “the really interesting part is that although the load average was more than 25, you’d never know it: It was as responsive as always. Five minutes later we had gcc-4.1 built and ready to use. The T2000 is truly an amazing machine.

Thanks a bunch to Peter for his technical support during the review

Network Computing positions Sun as SOA governance leader

August 7, 2006

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Network Computing has recently published a feature article on SOA Governance, and Sun is postioned very well in the piece.  The article is a detailed analysis of the SOA governance market highlighting the most relevant vendors in the market.

The first part of the article serves as an SOA governance primer, breaking it down between design-time governance and run-time governance.  Lori states that SOA registry/repository products available now handle design-time governance quite well, but have a long way to go for run-time governance.  

She then dives deeper by focusing on what she terms “regrep”, or the registry/repository as the “heart” of any governance initiative.  It is in this section that she calls out specific vendors: Sun, Infravio, Systinet, Fujitsu Software AG, LogicLibrary and Flashline. 

In this part, she explains the difference between UDDI and ebXML, stating that ebXML “was designed without concern for what might be managed within a registry based on ebXML, focusing instead on providing implementers with flexibility and extensibility, which can then be passed on to users.” She positions Sun as a leader in driving ebXML: “Sun Microsystems uses ebXML — in fact Sun’s implementation runs in tandem with the open-source ebXML registry, freebXML.