Archive for November, 2008

OpenSolaris Review in Phoronix

November 26, 2008

Phoronix reviewer Michael Larabel conducted a three-way comparison among OpenSolaris 2008.11, Ubuntu 8.10, and FreeBSD 7.1 Beta 2, providing several graphical comparisons of benchmark tests.

OpenSolaris’ strongest area of performance was in the Bonnie++ file-system/disk-centric testing, where "OpenSolaris 2008.11 was the champion and had trenched its competition." In other tests, OpenSolaris had the best rankings in the test areas of Bork file encryption test and the Java SciMark test for FFT and Monte Carlo performance.

While Ubuntu had the most number of first place finishes with eight, versus OpenSolaris’ seven first-place finishes and FreeBSD’s three, Michael noted that FreeBSD and OpenSolaris were using their latest testing builds while Ubuntu was using a final release copy.

Overall, Michael said that the selection among the operating systems depends on your usage. For example, "one operating system may appear more favorable, like OpenSolaris with the greater disk performance."

Michael also notes that he plans to conduct more benchmarking tests on different hardware as final releases become available…


Second Student Reviews Contest Winners Announced

November 25, 2008

Today we announced the winners of the second Student Reviews Contest, where students developed innovative applications using MySQL 5.1 and GlassFish v2 UR2.

Contestants from USA, Brazil, India and China submitted their coding projects via and wrote their experiences about using MySQL and GlassFish in the reviews.

The winning entry in the general students category created a hotel reservation application using VoiceXML (web pages accessed by voice) — the judges had a good experience using it via Skype. A resource sharing application for social networking sites won the first prize in the Sun Campus Ambassador category.

Other interesting entries included a fully integrated contest management application, a system authentication application for wireless networks, test taking and test management application, a "short URL" project and a small online store.

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners and thanks for participating.

OpenSolaris reviews

November 24, 2008

1. OpenSolaris 2008.11 — Bunny’s Place, 11/13
Rachel Terri Clark decided to try OpenSolaris 2008.11, and found the installation process flawless. She was interested in trying it for the ZFS capabilities in order to build a new file server, and was pleased to discover how easy it was to use. She described it as "a piece of cake." She noted that "the zpool and zfs tools are lovely (simple yet powerful) and I love the hierarchal pool system." Rachel recommended OpenSolaris to readers if they were looking for a server OS, and added that she was glad to say goodbye to the old windows manager that she had been using.
2. Why I am Leaning Toward OpenSolaris — Code Ghar, 11/14
The blogger had heard and read many good things about Solaris, especially regarding Sun hardware and its operating in big enterprise environments. He checked out the open source version — OpenSolaris — and noted several reasons why OpenSolaris is a good choice. He specifically complimented a few of OpenSolaris’ features including ZFS and DTrace.

3. How Open Source Coders are helping Sun with Solaris — Bits On Bytes, 11/17
The blogger noted that since introduction of OpenSolaris in 2006, the community had expanded to 14,000 members with 29 user groups across the world working on over 30 active projects. He praised Sun on these efforts, saying, "The features of OpenSolaris show Sun Microsystems’ commitment to be on the cutting edge of the computing world without losing touch with the current development environment. The OpenSolaris project is the ultimate display of these twin strengths – Sun has leveraged the creative energy of coders across the world and receives instant feedback about what their audience wants."

More StarOffice 9 reviews: Government Computer News (GCN), Linux Loop

November 18, 2008

In this CGN Lab Test, Gregory Crowe took a look at StarOffice 9, stating that it’s "a good solid office suite that works well with OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft Office 2003 formats alike."

The reviewer spent some time with Writer, Draw, Math, Impress and Base, and examined features and functionality of each. Notably, he found Writer to be on par with other word processors and stated that Impress, "made it easy to get the presentation we wanted right off the bat."

Overall, Gregory noted that the suite supports Windows, Linux, and of course Sun’s OSes. In particularly he liked the hundreds on add-ons and extensions available through the OpenOffice. org Web site – "a nice touch," he said. The reviewer went on to note the entire suite can be downloaded, with licensing support for one language and operating system, for $35; "a very good deal," he concluded.

StarOffice 9
Linux Loop’s Thomas Teisberg posted a detailed review of StarOffice 9, noting that while the suite is completely open source and based on, he was pleased by the inclusion of a huge library of clipart and the vast array of free extensions. In particular, Thomas examined the suite’s PDF editing and Weblog publishing capabilities.

Thomas concluded with some analysis of the differences between StarOffice 9 and 3, noting, "you basically get clip art, a slightly nicer to look at screen (due to the better icons), and support."

He went on to highlight that the suite "is likely to have the most appeal to enterprises looking for support from a large company, but if you need clip art or one of the other features StarOffice offers, it is a great deal. If not, OpenOffice is great, too."

CRN Review: StarOffice 9 Merits Serious Consideration

November 17, 2008

In this CRN review, Samara Lynn examines this latest release with an eye on features, functionality and price, noting, "Sun is attempting to further bridge the gap between their offering and Microsoft’s with the final release of StarOffice 9." She continued, "with added functionality from and a price that is a sliver of what Microsoft charges for Office, could StarOffice win over the hearts of VARs and IT decision makers?"

Samara highlighted that the suite now supports Max OS X. "A big advantage over Microsoft office; for IT organizations that have multi-platform shops, StarOffice can serve as a one-size-fits-all solution by being able to run on Windows, Solaris, Linux and Mac," she stated. Samara also took a look at StarOffice‘s spreadsheet and word processor and said, "what can be done in Word can essentially be done in Writer, including advanced tasks like adding bibliographies, adding notes, and mail merges."

The reviewer also called out the suite’s PIM capabilities via Mozilla as well as PDF editing features. Overall Samara concluded, "StarOffice 9 may not have all the capabilities of Office especially in regards to handling heavily formatted documents created in Office, or handling complex macros created in Excel. The grammar feature in Write seems to be lacking. However, StarOffice 9, in many cases, is good enough. It may just be the affordability factor that in the end attracts coverts."

StarOffice 9

InfoWorld: Sun’s ZFS has more tricks up its sleeve

November 14, 2008

InfoWorld’s Logan Harbaugh posted a review under "Storage Adviser" column, discussing the various features of ZFS present in the recently announced Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems.

Logan said the "most alluring features are the file system and the analytics made available through SNIA-standard RPC calls, using the DTrace fault tracing system included in OpenSolaris."

Of the specific features, Logan called out the Hybrid Storage Pools, "which integrate DRAM, read-optimized SSDs, write-optimized SSDs, and regular disk into a seamless whole." The use of DTrace in the system "make all sorts of performance data available," which Logan said will also allow for very granular optimization. Logan then listed several features such as the clustering capabilities of ZFS, data services, support for a variety of protocols, and FISHworks storage system as providing the system "a lot of potential."

Overall, Logan commented, "the Sun hardware should provide good capabilities at a good price. But the best part is that the software magic is also available through the open source OpenSolaris and ZFS, as long as the hardware you choose has all the parts necessary to fully utilize the ZFS capabilities."

InfoWorld’s First Take on Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems

November 13, 2008

In this initial review on the Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems, InfoWorld’s Paul Venezia discussed what the new products represent to the storage market. Paul said, "what the 7210 and its brethren provide is an elegant storage framework that includes the best-of-breed ZFS file system coupled with read- and write-biased SSDs, support for CIFS, iSCSI, NDMP, FTP, (and others) driven by a truly breathtaking interface."

Paul discussed some of the product features, such as how the SSDs vary among the product line, and cited Sun engineers who "claimed that the addition of the read-biased SSD caching in conjunction with ZFS’ predictive caching algorithms means that 7,200-rpm SATA drives perform just as well, if not better than 10K SAS drives." Paul went on to note that he has been "a fan of ZFS for some time now, and it’s only getting better and better."

Paul also discussed the evolution of storage, and the challenges faced from storing large amounts of data, backing up data, and the user interface with searching through the data. Against these challenges, "the new capabilities offered with products like the Sun 7000-series storage appliances are paving the way for new takes on old ideas, such as video-on-demand."

Paul is soon going to publish a full product review but for now, "it’s really impressive to be able to quickly pull up real-time user- and file-level throughput statistics complete with live graphs."

Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems
He concluded the post with a quote from a character from The Simpsons, saying, "In the immortal words of Kent Brockman, I, for one, welcome our new storage overlords." 🙂

More VirtualBox reviews…

November 10, 2008

1. Product Review: Sun VirtualBox — VMWare Tips, 11/02
Rick Scherer, who was using VMWare workstation 6.5 virtual machine, wasn’t interested in VirtualBox until he went to a product road show. Rick commented, "First thing I noticed was the installation of VirtualBox, it was extremely easy and straight forward… Long story short, VirtualBox is an excellent type-2 hypervisor, it is ported to all major O/S distributions and I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a small, quick and easy to use virtualization program."

2. Shiny new Linux software — I’ll give it some extra thought, 10/29
Jon Jennings spoke about the upgrade VirtualBox received saying, "VirtualBox got an upgrade to version 2. Major new feature: the ability to host 64-bit guests – the previous versions could only run 32-bit guests, even if your host machine was 64-bit. As with any major new release, VirtualBox 2.0.0 appeared to have a couple of issues and it wasn’t clear whether the first bug-fix release, 2.0.2, had cleared them all up."

Sun xVM VirtualBox

M3000 server named one of Network World’s 10 best products of the week

November 5, 2008

Sun SPARC Enterprise M3000 was named one of Network World’s 10 best products of the week.

Network World said of the M3000, "A new addition to the SPARC processor-based product line, this server offers "mainframe-class reliability" in a single CPU 2RU form factor, according to Sun. With an efficient design that saves space and energy, the server is "ideal for single-threaded back-office applications."

Network World Products of the Week

(Image Courtesy: Network World)

Positive Review of VirtualBox

November 4, 2008

In this review, Mayank Sharma examined VirtualBox with a focus on managing VMs via the command-line interface.

"VirtualBox 2 is one of the best virtualization applications for desktop users," Mayank said. He described the use of and by way of example, stepped through how to modify and control VMs running under VirtualBox using the CLI.

Mayank’s conclusion: "VirtualBox’s comprehensive CLI is impressive, and can improve your productivity."

Sun xVM VirtualBox