Tuesday Oct 02, 2007

PostgreSQL @ Sun


With revamped product web pages, you can more readily find information about PostgreSQL on Solaris, and if you're already a user of PostgreSQL on Solaris, you can buy PostgreSQL support from Sun.

Tuesday Sep 25, 2007

Live Webcast on Intel and Sun


If you catch this before 12:30 PM, PST, on Tuesday September 25, you can still watch a live web cast announcing "Sun Fire systems based on the Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor."

Friday Aug 03, 2007

Cooler than this?

MPK (Menlo Park) ... First Friday of August ... What can be cooler than taking a walk around the internal block of the Solaris building? I never knew where offices of all the people I was meeting in meetings were ... I still don't but did meet some as I walked "around the block" ... Friday ... buzzing with buzz of machines, conversation, plans and celebrations! ... What can be cooler in a hot August day?

Thursday Aug 02, 2007

Underground Notes and Voices from OSCon and Ubuntu Live

Some say Sun is as cool as OSCon (if not cooler) because, among most companies that support OSCon, only Sun can produce truly underground notes on OSCon.

David Van Couvering reviews Mike Olson's comments about his keynote at OSCon and pontificates about whether the value of Open Source could be limited to the collaboration it fosters. David aptly notes that

Open source and an open community gives you the assurance that the technology you are depending on is not going to be discontinued or put into "maintenance mode," it won't be acquired by someone who you would rather not do business with, and it won't be used as leverage against you to extract money or modify your behavior.

By way of further review, David contrasts MySQL as an Open Source project to PostgreSQL as an Open Source project.

In a separate underground note from OSCon, Barton George has posted his interview with Free Software Foundation lawyer Eben Moglen.

Barton has also produced a series of interviews with some six dignitaries during Ubuntu Live: Mark Shuttleworth. Tim Gardner, Jane Silber, Daniel Holbach, Stephen O'Grady, Jono Bacon.

Monday Jul 09, 2007

Database Price-Performance on Sun All Open-Source Platform

More good PostgreSQL and open-source news! 

In the first week of July 2007, Sun announced a very attractive SpecJ2004 result for an all open-source Sun stack, including PostgreSQL on Solaris on Niagara.

Josh Berkus and Jignesh Shah have already written about the recent SpecJ benchmark results

The highlights are already given by Josh and Jignesh's blogs: Josh notes the importance of the results in proving the suitability of the Niagara architecture for DB applications and the importance of this result as a proof of SMP scalability. He also notes the significant price difference between Sun and the competition and looks forward to even better SMP performance by PostgreSQL database on Solaris. Jignesh gives some details regarding the DB tuning strategy used. If you want more of the tuning strategy details, you should probably leave him a comment.

Here's a summary of other highlights based on other sources:

  • This is the second all open source SPECjAppServer2004 benchmark result and Sun is the only vendor to publish all open source results.
  • It demonstrates Sun's commitment to use open source software at all levels of the stack -- including open source databases -- and to bring these price/performance benefits to users.
  • An all-Sun, all open source stack comprised of PostgreSQL on Solaris (built off OpenSolaris) on T2000s (with OpenSPARC) with Glassfish gave 89% the performance at 34% the cost of a comparable HP benchmark with proprietary database, application server, and hardware. (Tom Daly provides further details regarding price-performance results.)

If you do not know about SpecJ 2004, refer to spec.org. In summary, SPECjAppServer2004 heavily exercises all parts of the underlying infrastructure that make up the application environment, including hardware, JVM software, database software, JDBC drivers, and the system network. The primary metric of the SPECjAppServer2004 benchmark is jAppServer Operations Per Second ("SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS") in either @Standard or @Distributed mode.

Look, also, at Tom Daly's blog for more information on these performance benchmarks and more.

Disclosure Statement:
Sun Fire X4200 (6 chips, 12 cores) 778.14 SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard.
HP rx2660 (2 chips, 4 cores) 874.61 SPECjAppServer2004 JOPS@Standard.
SPEC, SPECjAppServer reg tm of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation.
Results from www.spec.org as of 7/10/07.

Tuesday Jun 26, 2007

Constellation in Dresden

I still remember using Sun Microsystems Inc. machines when I was a graduate student doing scientific computing work at University of California, at Stanford's CTR and at NASA Ames. One particular summer, in 1987, my objective was very clear: to compute conditional probabilities of rare events based on direct numerical simulations of chaotic physical systems. Even back then it was clear that the world of supercomputing and scientific computing machines was a changing and difficult world to satisfy.

Scientific computing bars have been continuously rising since engineers and scientists used the first digital computers in the 50s and 60s to perform calculations resting on all kinds of scientific problems.

Sun broke into this market in a big way when it first introduced its scientific computing desktops and graphics stations in the mid 1980s, and later, its bigger computing servers.

Now, Don Clark of The Wall Street Journal has reported Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Constellation announcement at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) in Dresden, Germany.

[Sun Microsystems Inc.] says it now has technology to build the world's biggest scientific systems.

The Silicon Valley computer maker today is providing new details about a massive machine called Constellation, which includes an unusual high-capacity switching system for passing data among thousands of chips that act as electronic brains in the system. Sun developed the machine in collaboration with the Texas Advanced Computing Center at the University of Texas, which is installing the hardware in its facility in Austin. 

Andreas Bechtolsheim, a Sun co-founder who is its chief architect, attacked the problem with a massive switching system -- with the code name Magnum -- that by itself can manage high-speed data traffic for 3,456 calculating engines in a supercomputer, Mr. [John] Fowler said. Other approaches would take 300 smaller switching components, the company says. Mr. Bechtolsheim even designed special cables so that just one-sixth the number of wires is necessary to assemble a system.

When we talk about the Constellation, we are talking about hundreds of teraFLOPS.

Sun Microsystems High Performance Computing group is one of the sponsors of the ISC meeting.

Friday May 04, 2007

News, Blogs and Sun Microsytems Inc.



We are witnessing the close of a decade when blogs might begin to mirror meaningless news and when meaningful news might begin to appear as blogs, like these Reuters Alternet Blogs.

Note that Sun Microsystems Inc. powers Reuters Alternet for the Reuters Foundation.

With its independent board, Reuters continues as one the most independent media and news organizations in the world. 

Monday Apr 09, 2007

Sun at 25

Sun Microsystems Inc. at 25.

Saturday Mar 03, 2007

Open Solaris Starter Kit

Simon Phipps writes about Open Solaris Starter Kit.

Wednesday Dec 20, 2006

Innovation on the Desktop

Bernard Traversat tells us about a new release of the Looking Glass Project.

Looking Glass is a 3D GUI desktop environment that provides robustness and stability for most of the 3D window effects. The 1.0 release gives the user better performance, support for JDK 1.6 and Java 3D 1.5, ease of installation with the mega bundle distributions for Solaris X86, Linux and wWindow. Bernard says that his team contributed lot of the X extensions to X.org. They also now have a Netbeans module for Looking Glass.

Innovations on the desktop do not come often and this one is worth a close, serious look. 

Sunday Nov 12, 2006

Watch It

Watch for Java news as "Sun Opens Java"!

Related reports: Wall Street Journal

Friday Nov 10, 2006

Give Me Sun Ray

Good, timeless ideas keep reincarnating in better ways. 

We talk a lot about mobility and about devices. I have been mobile--moving around quite a lot recently among various Sun campuses and spaces in the San Francisco Bay Area, roaming through offices and conference rooms.

I now have a new office in Sun's Menlo Park campus and what I want more than the laptop that may be on its way (my laptop had a hardware failure some time ago), is a Sun Ray, even in my office. With a Sun Ray, my session is always there, and a card-key away, and because I do not have to carry anything but my cell phone and my corporate card-key, it makes me even more mobile--every pound counts. (The wear and tear on Sun Ray keyborads tell me I'm not alone.)

So, when do I use the laptop? When I go on trips where there is no Sunray, when I'm lying down on a bed or a sofa to work or when I'm trying to build,  test or demo a piece of software in the absense of a Sun Ray. Sun Ray is by far the best equipment for the corporate worker who is not doing any of these latter tasks in environments where Sun Rays are missing--and let's remember that few corporate workers are engaged in these sorts of tasks on a regular basis.

I can even leave this entry as it is, run to my next meeting and if my party is late, insert my card key in a Sun Ray and do a final edit at this very point, where I am. That typo is now gone .... next one for the next stop ....

Wednesday Sep 15, 2004

The Network is the Computer

In my mind, there's no more revolutionary concept in computing, networking and information technology than the motto which Sun coined in many of its corporate PR campaigns: The Network is the Computer. The origin of the motto, within Sun, remains unknown to me, but I would sure like to discover it by some piece of corporate archaeology. (I'm sure we have our un-official, as well as official, archaeologists here who know the answer.)

I can even imagine a new PR campaign based on the motto--a TV advertisement perhaps: A large number of sleepy and tired workers in cubicles are running routine errands of the most stifling kind; the beautiful jumble of the New York skyline can be seen in close view and is visible through the wall-length windows but no one is paying any attention to it; a rumor begins to spread from a remote corner of this vast room; "The Network is the Computer," whispers someone as if awakened with new life; as the "rumor" spreads throughout the room (the building and the town, in the later frames), the mood swings to jubilation and true excitement--the revolution is here. The last frames focus on a person who, the audience can guess, may have something to do with the rumor--a young engineer with a Sun T-shirt on. [That would be a cool ad ! Perhaps, I should receive some sort of compensation for designing it! (Please excuse my indulgence. My only sin is that my father was an advertising executive in Iran in the mid 1970s, and he did take me to work a few times.)]

Many others, including Tim O'Reilly, have opined on the motto.

To me, it has an almost esoteric meaning, and I'm fond of such esoterism:

  • The only computer that matters is the network.
  • The network is equivalent to one giant computer with multiple entry points. Ultimately, it is equivalent to a single Turing machine. (Or is it? What about external, interacting "machines". Surely, their purpose could not be modeled as merely random.)
  • The only computing that matters is the one that make the network more effective and efficient.
  • Those that claim the desktop to be the (or a?) computer have gotten it totally wrong.

To you, I'm sure the motto could mean something quite different, but if it could mean different things to different people within Sun, how could it be a component of its corporate identity or its organizational purpose? The answer is probably that, in fact, there's a great deal of commonality in how people at Sun understand the motto: The Network is the Computer.





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