Archive for the ‘Customer Wins’ Category

Moshi Monsters Running Wild with Sun Technology

January 22, 2010
Mind Candy, launched in 2004, is a leading developer of multi-player games targeted at the rapidly expanding social online games market. Its main product, Moshi Monsters, is its biggest hit to date and is enjoying exponential growth with over 10 million players worldwide, and more than one million new players subscribing each month. The game relies heavily on an IT platform managed by Mind Candy, and became the focus of the company’s attention in 2009, when the number of players was set to top 4 million. Sun Customer Mind Candy
(Image courtesy: Mind Candy)
At that point, Mind Candy realized it needed to make changes to its IT infrastructure. The Moshi Monsters infrastructure is based on the Java Platform, Standard Edition 6 running Debian GNU/Linux. It includes Apache Tomcat Web application servers, memcached and PostgreSQL databases as well as open source frameworks such as Spring and Hibernate. Prior to the upgrade, Mind Candy already had Sun Fire X2100 servers acting as load balancers, and chose to make the use of Intel’s new “Nehalem” Xeon processors a key criterion for the update.

Working with Sun as a member of the Sun Startup Essentials program, Mind Candy finalized the infrastructure expansion design based on two of Sun’s newest Xeon-processor based servers, the Sun Fire X4170 servers for applications working alongside a Sun Fire X4270 server for one of the platform’s main databases. The new Sun solutions were installed in just a couple of days, and deployed alongside the existing equipment. The Sun Fire X4170 servers gave Mind Candy significantly higher I/O speeds, along with multithreading technology for greater performance and power management. The Sun Fire X4270 server provided more than four times the processing performance and memory, and doubled the number of disk drive bays to 16.

Since the full solution went live in July 2009, Toby Moore, Chief Technology Officer at Mind Candy said the performance and scalability of the new platform has fully justified the company’s investment. He stated: “The platform is incredibly fast. Before, the CPU utilization rate for our database servers was about 70%, but now it’s dropped to 15%. The speed of our Tomcat Web application servers has doubled, and the amount of RAM on our servers has quadrupled.” In addition to the increased speed, the Sun platform consumes relatively low amounts of energy, and still has plenty of headroom for expansion. The company is now looking to focus on storage and has plans to deploy a Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System in the near future.

Check out the complete details and a podcast here.

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Petrobras Meets Oil Production Challenges with a Sun High Performance Computing Network

December 16, 2009

The BR Network is a high-performance computing initiative funded by Brazil’s national oil company, Petróleo Brasilero, and is managed by an alliance of five federal universities to support the country’s oil and gas industries. After the discovery of a vast new oil field off the coast of Brazil, the BR Network was selected to develop computer simulations to aid oil production at the new site, which is under approximately two miles of ocean floor riddled with geological faults.

Sun Customer BR Network
(Image courtesy: BR Network, a Petrobras initiative)
The Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute-Graduate School and Research in Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro realized that the alliance of universities needed a high-performance computing grid to handle the complex new project that would be both an affordable and easily expandable solution over the next few years. Ultimately, the alliance selected Sun, which not only was the vendor that would best meet the performance, scalability, and energy efficiency goals, but also cost almost 30% less than the next closest offer from a competing vendor.

The new HPC solution includes 448 Sun Blade X6275 Server Modules with the new Intel Xeon processor series 5500, Sun Blade 6048 Modular Systems, and the Lustre File System. The solution also features the first blade server with on-board QDR InfiniBand for high performance and low latency. The alliance runs the Red Hat Linux OS on a Sun open-network solution, which supports multiple operating systems. The BR Network is currently running at three universities on a grid that provides approximately 100 teraflops of peak performance and 21.5 TB of memory.

The alliance expects that the BR Network will be fully operational by February 2010 with nearly 300 researchers working on the new clusters. Sun Professional Services is providing ongoing support for the project’s air-conditioning and hi-visualization environments. The Sun solution more than doubles the universities’ processing speed with ample room for growth. Alvaro Coutinho, a professor at the Center for Parallel Computing and Department of Civil Engineering, COPPE/UFRJ said: “We are very excited about the scalability of our Sun HPC system. We are currently at about 100 teraflops and we are thinking of doubling or even tripling it in the next two years.”

Check out the complete details here.

Sun Ray thin clients help leading UK retailer to improve operations and reduce costs

December 8, 2009

Founded in 1979, ScrewFix is the leading tool, accessory, and hardware product supplier to both building professionals and DIY enthusiasts in the U.K. The company’s original business model was based on high-volume catalog orders, but it now runs a substantial online operation in addition to its network of 143 trade outlets, delivering millions of products to customers every year.

Sun Customer ScrewFix
(Image courtesy: ScrewFix)
The ScrewFix contact center plays a critical role in daily operations, taking customer calls to place orders while also handling other customer inquiries including refunds and exchanges, using internally developed customer relationship management software. Until recently, contact center agents used the CRM system running on desktop PCs connected to the company’s datacenter. However, slow system performance was making it increasingly difficult to respond quickly to customer inquiries. In 2008, as the PCs came to an end of their lifecycle, ScrewFix looked into an alternative solution with Sun.

Sun recommended a proof of concept using five Sun Ray 270 Virtual Display Client terminals that were deployed in different areas of the contact center, and ScrewFix reported that “the end-user response was impressive.” The proof of concept was enough to convince the ScrewFix IT team to deploy 350 Sun Ray 270 Virtual Display Client terminals to the entire contact center team, powered by 10 Sun Blade X6250 Server Modules residing in two Sun Blade 6000 Chassis. Six of the blades run Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services, while the other four run Sun Ray Software 4 on top of the Solaris 10 Operating System.

The new solution was installed overnight during one week to minimize disruption to employees and customers, and user migration to the new systems took place quickly. ScrewFix’s server and storage team leader Peter Smith reports that because the technology is so easy to use, “for most people it was business as usual from the moment they switched on their new machine.” Additionally, ScrewFix employees are also saving time, with startup times up to 95% faster than the previous solution. The deployment of thin-client technology has also significantly lowered hardware total cost of ownership and made administration much simpler and less time consuming.

Check out the complete details, along with a podcast, here.

Online gaming company gets a boost with Sun server solution

December 1, 2009
Outspark is an entertainment services company that publishes and operates online multi-player social games. These free games are used by millions of video gamers around the world every year so Outspark maintains game servers in San Jose, California, and Andover, Massachusetts in addition to Web servers in Oakland, California. Sun Customer Outspark
(Image courtesy: Outspark)
In May 2008, Outspark began looking to address operational problems with its game servers, which needed better performance and uptime. Outspark was also experiencing problems with its Web servers which were having repetitive hardware issues. Additionally, with an upcoming launch of new games, Outspark was anticipating a traffic spike and needed new server technology that was more scalable and would help minimize operational costs.

In July 2008 Outspark decided on a complete solution from Sun under the Sun Startup Essentials program, which provides startups with a combination of hardware, software, and support at a discount. Through the Sun Startup Essentials program Outspark purchased Sun Fire X2250 servers to host its online games, as well as several Sun Fire X2200 M2 servers and Sun Fire X4150 servers while Sun provided ongoing technical support and hosted Web services through Sun partner NaviSite.

The Sun Fire X2250 server gave Outspark the power it needed to manage its game servers while using significantly less power than the previous Outspark hardware. Outspark has also successfully reduced its overall operational costs because it has a completely managed solution with infrastructure and technical support from Sun. Luc Suryo, Chief of Network and Systems Operations at Outspark, noted: “With this solution, we are able to reduce costs while also getting the capacity, speed, and availability we need to support our game and Web servers.”

Check out the complete details here.

Japanese Online Map Provider Improves User Experience with Sun Technology

November 20, 2009

Mapion Co. Ltd. is Japan’s leading provider of online map services with more than 700,000 page views every day. The company offers the free Mapion online map search service for driving and public transportation routes; the fee-based service Mapion Mobile, which delivers navigation tools and directions to mobile phones; and the Mapion BB service for broadband users, that smoothly and instantaneously refreshes as the user navigates around the map. Sun Customer Mapion
(Image courtesy: Mapion)
To remain competitive, Mapion must constantly innovate and improve the details in its maps and the services it provides and needs a stable system with minimal downtime and scalability to handle a large increase in users, without a deterioration in response time. In 2008, Mapion had to relocate its data center because of increasing power consumption needs, and saw the relocation as an opportunity to start a full-scale upgrade of the hardware, software, and operating system supporting its map information services.

Mapion chose to deploy the Solaris 10 Operating System along with Solaris Containers to ensure effective use of available resources for map image generation. Mapion also adopted the Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server as its application server, and the MySQL Cluster database as a real-time database for mission-critical applications for Mapion Mobile. Mapion standardized its hardware environment in its new data center on a Sun platform, deploying 18 Sun Fire X4150 servers, 3 Sun Blade 6000 modular systems, 3 Sun Blade X6250 servers, 1 Sun Blade T6320 server, and the Sun Storage Tek 9985V system for storage consolidation and virtualization.

Mapion also decided to renew its customer management system for Mapion Mobile, a system that needed to be available 24/7. Mapion adopted the MySQL Cluster Database because it allows for the availability of existing applications through its ‘shared-nothing’ distributed architecture with no single point of failure, to meet Mapion’s mission-critical application requirements of 99.999% availability, which, coupled with automatic data partitioning with load balancing, allows almost unlimited database scalability for the company. The new customer management system for Mapion Mobile went live in January 2009, “with downtime reduced to near zero,” according to Koji Kozono, who works in the Technology Development Department, Service Development Group at Mapion.

By standardizing its IT infrastructure on a Sun platform, Mapion enjoys unified support from Sun Spectrum Support that keeps the operation running smoothly while substantially reducing costs that would arise from resolving problems. The Sun GlassFish Enterprise server has provided Mapion with a cost-effective platform for developing and delivering applications. Yukio Hasehawa, Manager of the Operational Technology Group, Mapion Technology Development Department, stated that switching to GlassFish resulted in a substantial reduction in the operational management workload and said: “It offers easy-to-use functions which are indispensable in day-to-day operations, including batch deployment to multiple application servers.”

Check out the complete details here.

Sun Solutions Help Support 25% Monthly Growth at SoundCloud

November 13, 2009
Web 2.0 startup SoundCloud provides a Web-based platform that is giving artists and other music-industry professionals an easy way to share music from a central location. More than 250,000 customers already rely on SoundCloud’s service to send, receive, and distribute music. Initially, SoundCloud built its offering with a custom Web application that made use of hardware running Linux and a database built with MySQL Community Edition, storing all files remotely using S3 and EC2 services from Amazon. Sun Customer SoundCloud
(Image courtesy: SoundCloud)
However, by the end of 2008, the hardware supporting the Web application and database neared capacity and could no longer meet performance requirements, making availability an issue. SoundCloud evaluated its options and found an ideal solution with Sun Startup Essentials, which allowed the company to take advantage of discounted Sun technologies as well as hosting services through EveryCity, a managed services provider in London.

EveryCity hosts customer environments on virtual servers built with Solaris Containers, housed on Sun Fire X4150 servers. To alleviate I/O bottlenecks, and to help meet cost constraints, each virtual server stores data in a ZFS hybrid storage pool located on a Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System with Solid State Disk technology, which is accessed via the iSCSI protocol. Additionally, built-in analytics leveraging Solaris DTrace and the Sun Fault Management Architecture quickly identify issues, help speed resolution, and provide specific information to fine tune architectures and applications.

The migration took place in January 2009, and was completed in only 10 hours. With the new solution, customer requests are now processed by multiple instances of the Web application running with a cluster of Solaris Containers. Customer information, images, and artwork is tracked in a database that runs on a Sun Fire X4150 server, and the database is stored on eight 15k RPM SAS disks, striped and mirrored using the ZFS file system.

With the new solution in place, the Web application driving SoundCloud maintains 99.99% availability and supports rapid growth, which is critical because the number of users has grown from 20,000 to 250,000, and the site now processes about three million dynamic page requests per day. Sean Treadway, Chief Architect at SoundCloud said: “With our Sun solution we have a good strategy for scaling different application bottlenecks and are no longer limited by a fixed storage-pool size. We can grow our storage pool as required without having to worry about where the space is or how it will work.”

Check out the complete details here.

Canadian Province Speeds Up Application Deployment and Cuts IT Costs with Sun Server and Storage Solution

November 9, 2009
The Government of Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada offers services ranging from education and environmental protection, to public health, social services, and transportation to the province’s 140,000 residents. In a move to improve these services while reducing IT costs, PEI consolidated all 12 individual department IT divisions into a single Information Technology Shared Services group in 2007. PEI then looked to simplify and standardize the heterogeneous IT department after finding there were 300 separate systems and more than 500 servers in 38 locations running on a variety of applications with no central or unified architecture.

Sun Customer Prince Edward Island Government
(Image courtesy: Govt. of PEI)
PEI, working with IT partners VisionQuest and Bulletproof Solutions, ultimately chose Sun hardware as the foundation of a new virtualized environment solution. The new solution includes a Sun Blade 6000 chassis with five Sun Blade X6250 Server Modules, each with two quad-core Intel Xeon Processors, running VMware Infrastructure 3 virtualization storage. The two-tier storage is based on the Sun StorageTek 6140 array, with Fibre Channel drives for high-performance storage and SATA-II drives for high capacity, and a Sun StorageTek SL48 Tape Library with two LTO 3 tape drives. The Sun servers and storage array are connected by Brocade Silkworm 200E SAN switches.

Sun Enterprise Installation and Implementation assisted with the deployment in July 2008, with VisionQuest hosting the virtual environment in a leased data center, and Bulletproof Solutions providing continuous technical support. The entire solution is backed by a SunSpectrum Support plan. The five Sun blades replaced 40 of PEI’s existing physical servers, which is saving PEI approximately 58% a year on labor, support, power, cooling, and data center costs. Additionally, with a virtualized solution PEI will not have to purchase new physical servers, saving an additional $224,000 per year on acquisition costs, setup, and ongoing maintenance and support. PEI plans to increase the savings by adding more blades and eventually replacing as many physical servers as possible with virtual ones.

In addition to the cost savings, PEI has found that many IT tasks require less time and effort to include data backup and disaster recovery. PEI can also deploy new applications on its virtual servers in five to seven days, versus several weeks for physical servers – or even in minutes if the applications use a predefined server configuration. PEI has also achieved high system reliability with a 99.999% uptime. Chris Payne, director of infrastructure and IT Shared Services for PEI said: “With Sun’s expertise and high-quality hardware, we reached our goal of building a platform that would run whatever applications we put on it and would be available for our clients 24/7.”

Check out the complete details here.

Sun Unified Storage Helps Elanders Reduce Costs and Increase Performance

October 23, 2009
Elanders is a global publishing company based in Gothenburg, Sweden that packages and distributes information in a variety of formats to include manuals, brochures, and magazines, as well as online content and multimedia for international brands such as IKEA, Nokia, and Volvo. Elanders archives these documents and images on its systems at its main office, and at two remote sites for up to ten years following publication. Until recently, Elanders used technology from EMC for day-to-day storage, archiving, and back up, but this technology was quickly approaching the end of its lifecycle. Sun Customer Elanders
Sun Customer Elanders
Elanders needed to decide between upgrading the existing system or selecting a new approach. In addition to adding storage capacity, Elanders was also looking to improve performance, reduce the burden of administration, and cut overall costs. Elanders selected a system provided by Sun partner Konsulthuset MMI, because of the highly scalable solution it proposed along with the support provided by Sun.

Konsulthuset MMI set Elanders up with the new open-technology based Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System, because of its cost-efficient industry standard components as well as a robust software stack built from OpenSolaris TM and running Solaris ZFS. Elanders deployed a 66TB Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System at the Gothenburg datacenter, with additional systems at the two remote offices, handling 23 TB each. The new solution can easily be scaled to accommodate up to 576 TB of information, and is able to quickly and easily add capacity in increments.

With its new solution in place, Elanders is not only free of licensing fees for protocols and data services, but is also reducing costs by lowering power consumption and cooling requirements, consuming up to 500% less power than with its previous solution. Magnus Befwe, Manager of IT Operations and Infrastructure at Elanders said: “We were really impressed by the commitment of Sun and Konsulthuset MMI. The technology that they recommended offers us advantages on so many levels, from greater simplicity and reduced energy consumption to reducing the costs associated with storage data services licensing.”

Check out the complete details here.

City of San Antonio consolidates servers with Sun virtualization technology

October 19, 2009
The City of San Antonio, Texas (CoSA) is home to more than 1.5 million people, and provides multiple online services to its residents including bill payment, career assistance, licensing, permits, and public safety information. CoSA employees also rely on access to applications and data for use in daily work activities including financial systems, HR software, and public safety applications used by the police and fire departments.

Over time, the city’s server infrastructure had struggled to keep pace with its service delivery, and CoSA was running out of room in its data center. The CoSA IT department needed to also upgrade its IT infrastructure to reduce maintenance costs and enhance services. CoSA already had a long-established relationship with Sun and felt that leveraging Sun’s SPARC servers as a platform for the Solaris 10 Operating System and Solaris zones provided the best opportunity for ROI with its virtualization technologies and energy-efficient mainframe-class servers.

Sun Customer City of San Antonio
(Image courtesy: City of San Antonio)
The city, managing several separate environments, decided to consolidate its SAP NetWeaver systems on Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000 and M4000 servers. CoSA also migrated from the Solaris 9 OS to the Solaris 10 OS to take advantage of Solaris Zones and allow multiple applications to run in isolation from one another on the same physical hardware. The solution also includes Sun Blade 6000 Modular systems and multiple Sun Fire T2000 servers with energy-efficient CoolThreads technology. Finally, CoSA replaced 80 physical Windows servers with 12 Sun Fire X4600 M2 servers as a VMWare virtual infrastructure platform in its Windows environment.

Sun’s server and virtualization solution allowed CoSA to consolidate from 16 to 4 racks of servers, and reduce the datacenter footprint for these workloads by over 85%. The solution has also helped CoSA reduce the maintenance overhead, giving administrators more time to deploy new systems that benefit the city and its residents. The consolidation has helped the city achieve considerable cost savings and CoSA expects to realize a full ROI within two and a half years based on the reduced support costs alone. Kevin Goodwin, the assistant director for CoSA IT department said: “Sun’s enterprise-class virtualization technologies have served the City of San Antonio well. They’re a critical component of our overall IT transformation and optimization strategy, allowing us to rapidly deploy highly available server capacity to meet the city’s changing business needs while saving money in the process.”

Check out the complete details here.

Spanish Postal Service Reduces TCO for Email Storage Platform by 40% with Sun Solution

October 6, 2009
Sociedad Estatal Correos y Telégrafos, S.A., also known as Correos, has been providing postal services across Spain for more than 300 years. However, because of the recent steady decline in traditional postal services usage, Correos realized it needed to create a business proposition that would appeal to citizens and businesses alike. Correos ultimately found a way to add value to Internet-based communications and began working to create a highly secure e-mail service that includes data encryption and time stamps, so users could receive certification that a message had arrived at its destination. Sun Customer Correos
(Image courtesy: Correos)
Correos needed to provide up to 140,000 mailboxes for citizens and businesses to send e-mail and attachments to government offices. The technology behind the new “Electronic Post Box” service Apartado Postal Electrónico (APE), had to be reliable and scalable enough to handle new offerings in addition to being expertly managed to maximize performance. Correos looked at several IT solution providers but ultimately selected Sun because it was able to guarantee the reliability of the e-mail service.

With the support of Sun Professional Services, Correos developed and implemented a fully redundant data storage and backup platform. A Sun Fire T2000 and a Sun Fire T1000 server, both featuring UltraSPARC T1 processor technology and running the Solaris 10 Operating System, work as load balancers on the front end. Sun Fire V490 and Sun Fire V890 servers, running backup software, sit at the back end of the platform. Two Sun StorageTek 6540 arrays store e-mail data, which is archived onto a Sun StorageTek SL500 modular library system. Finally, to maximize availability, Sun Professional Services deployed Solaris Cluster software to protect the integrity of the application data and services across the cluster’s nodes.

Today, APE is delivering a secure and reliable e-mail service to citizens, companies, and government offices throughout Spain. With the Sun-based storage infrastructure, Correos is providing 5 MB worth of storage for its 140,000 mailboxes. Correos also has peace of mind knowing that the infrastructure is protected by a Sun Spectrum Platinum support plan and storage and backup systems are being well maintained by Sun Remote Operations Management. José Marcelino Pérez, e-business manager at Correos says: “APE and Sun technology are helping Correos meet the challenges of a transition from paper correspondence to Internet-based communication.”

Check out the complete details here.