Archive for May, 2009

Sun News — The Week in Review

May 31, 2009

Weekly Sun News recap from me and Maijaliisa is now available. This week we highlight the upcoming JavaOne and CommunityOne conferences, and take a look at the Sun Storage 7310 system, the newest member of the Amber Road family. Listen to the short segment below to get all the details.


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Bank Cuts Costs and Manages Growth with Sun Solution

May 21, 2009

LBBW Luxemburg, a subsidiary of the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg bank headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, was recently on the hunt for a more efficient way to cut costs while still supporting growth. The bank prepared a list of the necessary tools to accomplish this cost-cutting goal, which included migrating to a new banking application called Avalog in addition to moving to a single IT supplier with cost-effective solutions. Sun Customer LBBW Luxemburg
After assessing a number of different options, the LBBW Luxemburg decided to standardize the Avalog server platform on Sun hardware and software. Sun Professional Services designed a scalable infrastructure based on four Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000 servers featuring eight dual-core SPARC64 VI processors and running the Solaris 10 OS and Solaris Cluster 3.2 software. The design also featured Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120 servers with Solaris Cluster acting as a data transfer component. The Sun StorageTek 6140 array also enhanced LBBW Luxemburg’s existing backup infrastructure by extending the staging unit.

After a successful pilot, LBBW Luxemburg launched a full implementation that has resulted in an elimination of proprietary software licenses as well as a 60% greater performance of the SPARC Enterprise M5000 servers compared to the previous server setup. The Sun solutions are also cutting IT expenses by consolidating from three server racks to one, saving space and reducing cooling costs. Jean-Luc Raskin, Head of the IT Infrastructure Unit, LBBW Luxemburg notes “Sun has helped LBBW Luxemburg meet its IT Objectives…a climate of trust has been established, and we feel this is a real partnership.”

LBBW Luxemburg is ensuring continued high performance with SunSpectrum Gold Support. The new setup has set up an efficient, scalable, and cost-effective solution that LBBW Luxemburg can rely on in the future. Raskin notes “we have built a very flexible architecture that will be able to meet our IT needs for years to come.”

Check out the complete details here.

Open Archive Solution … and … Energy Star Ratings for Servers

May 20, 2009

I recently did two Sun News Radio segments…

In the first one, David Simmons, Director of Sun’s mid-market business, discussed the Open Archive Solution that leverages the power of Open Storage and provides a flexible, cost-effective archiving solution for mid-sized businesses.

In the second one, Subodh Bapat, Distinguished Engineer and Vice President of Sustainability Office at Sun, joined me to discuss EPA’s announcement of Energy Star ratings for servers.

Check out these short segments below.

Sun News — The Week in Review

May 17, 2009

Weekly Sun News recap from me and Maijaliisa is now available. Listen to the short segment below to get all the highlights.

hi5 slashes storage costs and scales for growth with Sun solution

May 15, 2009

hi5 Networks, based in San Francisco, California, is one of the world’s largest social networks with more than 80 million registered users in 200 countries. In fact, hi5 earned the distinction of being the fastest growing social network in the world when it doubled its user base in 2008, growing from 28 million to more than 56 million and counting.

The explosive growth rate proved to be a challenge, particularly because hi5 manages so much data – about 400TB and growing. To continue providing the best service to its users, hi5 needed to ensure its systems were highly available and reliable, and at the end of 2008, hi5 realized that it urgently needed to expand its storage capacity to keep up with its rapid growth.

Sun Customer hi5 Networks
(Logo courtesy: hi5 Networks)
hi5 chose the hybrid Sun Fire X4540 server in conjunction with the Solaris 10 Operating System as its system solution. The Sun Fire X4540 is a product known for its ability to run high-bandwidth applications while providing speedy access to storage and unparalleled storage density in a 4U rack space. hi5 is so pleased with the performance of the Sun Fire X4540 servers, that it plans to purchase 10 more.

hi5 said when it came to evaluating price for performance, there was no better solution than Sun. Dan Peterson, vice president of technical operations at hi5 notes that there is no licensing fee and says “Before it was costing us about $5,000 per terabyte to store data versus about $750 per terabyte now.” Peterson also appreciates the ability to now keep a tight reign on his budget by purchasing Sun storage in 48TB chunks rather than having to buy huge storage systems at four of five times the price.

Check out the complete details here.

At a Glance: Last Week’s OpenSolaris, VirtualBox and NetBeans Reviews

May 12, 2009
OpenSolaris

OpenSolaris and ZFS had blogs buzzing last week, starting off with a look at OpenSolaris 2009.06 from Phoronix’s Michael Larabel who called out several feature improvements. Michael highlighted the Image Packaging System, ZFS snapshot time-slider and new desktop artwork, as well as saying the new “Firefox package is bleeding edge.” OpenSolaris
Blogger Simon shared an extensive post about his experiences using Solaris and ZFS on a home fileserver, concluding that he “learnt a lot over the last year about ZFS, and using it has convinced me that I made the right choice in selecting both Solaris and ZFS.”

Gabe Reys, a Solaris systems administrator for a multi-national company, published almost 40 posts to date. His topics include everything from helpful tips on using global and non-global zones in Solaris, to managing ZFS filesystems, to basic and advanced uses of DTrace.

VirtualBox

Sun xVM VirtualBox VirtualBox 2.2 continued to garner positive blogger reviews this week, as Brighthub’s Steve Mallard gave VirtualBox a 5 out of 5 rating in his review that said installation was “straightforward and easy.” Steve also noted that, “VirtualBox has dozens of options and features found in virtualization software that cost hundreds of dollars…the value of virtualization cannot be stressed enough.”

Blogger Tom Puleo said he was really happy with VirtualBox, and “when given the chance, will choose it over Virtual PC or VMware.” He said he liked VirtualBox because it is “fast” and “great for day to day use.”

Blogger Carl reported that he has experimented with a lot of virtualization software and had “come to like VirtualBox best.” After switching his Windows XP virtual machine from VMware to VirtualBox, Carl says “I’m not likely to switch back from VirtualBox any time soon.”

NetBeans

NetBeans 6.7 was the focus of several positive reviews this week, with Dean at Grails Blog saying that the 6.7 Beta is a great release for the Grails community. Dean noted, “NetBeans’ support of Grails functionality is nearly on par with that of IntelliJ 8.1.” NetBeans
The blogger from cld.blog-city.com stated that the new release of NetBeans has excellent support for PHP, and highlighted key aspects such as syntax highlighting, a navigator, and code folding, as well as “nice support for PHP debugging.”

Blogger Brian Silberbauer discussed how when he’s teaching a course on JEE, he begins with NetBeans. He noted, “This is a great help to the students as it gives them the overview of what we will be working with and shows them how quick and easy it is to create a JEE application in NetBeans – It takes the complexity fear out of them (to a certain extent).”

Positive OpenOffice.org reviews in PC World and The Register

May 11, 2009

Over the weekend, OpenOffice.org 3.1 got couple of very positive reviews.

Scott Gilbertson of The Register says OpenOffice.org 3.1 has met the most important criterion of any software upgrade by being "considerably snappier than its predecessor." He notes that ordinary tasks such as opening new documents and inserting charts happened faster "than what we were used to under version 3.0," stating that "you’ll definitely appreciate the improvement."

OpenOffice.org
Scott says the biggest change to the new release is the "much-improved" graphics handling that allows graphics to "look much more refined." He notes that the upgrade was a long time coming, but now that it has arrived he says "OpenOffice.org graphics finally look every bit as good as the competition."

In a PC World review, Rodney Gedda noted that the new version has made "big improvements in usability and the user interface." He highlights the "dramatic performance improvements" in Calc to include improved sorting of cells, additional functions for statistical analysis, and formula hot hints. He also notes an increased ease-of-use with Calc’s new zoom slider control, and the ability to rename sheets with a simple double click.

Rodney was also impressed with improved file locking that not only prevents "people accidentally overwriting other’s changes" but allows collaborative document editors to now have a "structured conversation" through the updated comments feature.

Sun News — The Week in Review

May 10, 2009

Weekly Sun News recap from me and Maijaliisa is now available. Listen to the short segment below to get all the highlights.

The Storage Architect’s Amber Road Review — Part II

May 9, 2009

Amber Road

Hybrid Storage Pool Model for Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System Family

In his continuing series, Chris Evans of The Storage Architect blog took another in-depth look at the Amber Road platform. In this post, he turned his sights on the disk components of the hardware, specifically looking at the use of flash (SSD) drives and ZFS to produce a commodity storage device.

Chris began with a primer on ZFS, sharing the basic concepts and bringing the filesystem features to life and what they bring to the Amber Road platform. He also provided an overview of the Unified Storage System’s cache architecture, noting the adaptive replacement cache and the ZFS intent log, and the fault tolerance and performance these features offer the 7000 series.

Chris picked up the core difference between Amber Road and traditional storage devices. "In a typical general storage array there will be LUNs presented to hosts which are very active, some moderately active and some totally inactive." He noted that Amber Road provides and alternative to the traditional "Long Tail" model, highlighting "fronting disk access with SSD ensures that high performance is dynamically provided to LUNs as it is needed."

Overall, Chris is positive about the architectural choices made for Amber Road and was unable to find fault via his evaluation. "I can say that in the testing I performed, the array coped easily with the workload I threw at it," he stated.

Chris’ next post will be an in-depth look at the analytics provided by Amber Road and how it allows detailed device reporting.

Sun solution helps myToys.de meet demand

May 8, 2009

Since its launch in 1999, Internet mail-order business myToys.de has grown by 30% to 40% each year. myToys.de sells its merchandise at stationary branch offices, through a mail-order catalog, and on its Web site, which is where the company receives the majority of its orders.

Until recently, myToys.de ran with the help of a classic PC infrastructure, which required many individual devices to be administered, serviced, and updated constantly. Last year as the business growth put additional strain on the customer service team – particularly during the peak periods of Christmas and Easter – Olaf Brehmer, head of System Administration at myToys.de decided it was time to find a replacement solution.

Sun Customer myToys.de

(Logo courtesy: myToys.de)
The solution focused on Sun VDI Software, and was based on the Sun StorageTek 6450 array, seven Sun Fire X4100 servers, a Sun Fire T2000 server, 65 Sun Ray 2 thin clients, and the Solaris 10 Operating System. Deployment was fast and successful, as the implementation started at the end of August, leaving no time for a proof of concept before the busy run up to Christmas began.

With the new system in place, employees at myToys.de now have the flexibility to work at their own desk, another office, or at home while still having access to all of their applications and documents. Olaf Brehmer reports that "thanks to our new Sun Ray technology and Sun VDI deployment, we can scale our business successfully to meet seasonal demand while reducing the overall cost of administration."

Check out the complete details here.