Wednesday Jul 30, 2008

Student Perspectives on Open Source


Ashwin Bhat and Ritwik Ghoshal, the two winners of the previous Sun Student Reviews Contest, were recently invited by the Sun News Radio to discuss their views on open source. Check out Sun News Radio to listen what their experiences are so far, what open source community activities are happening at their universities and a whole lot more.

The segment is located here.
Sun News Radio

Wednesday Jun 25, 2008

Busting the Sun Ray myths


Paul Murphy of ZDNet dispels many myths surrounding Sun Ray. He has busted all the top myths people put forward to argue that it's not as good as a PC. He found that most of the more widely cited negatives for Sun Rays are pure nonsense.

According to Paul, Sun Rays are not the right answer for a hobbyist who wants to play games or pretend to program -- but for large organizations the negatives simply don't hold up. One of the lessons that can be learned from productivity change in the telecom industry is that centrally provisioned services can be extremely attractive to consumers provided that the service provider does not impose artificial controls on what the user can do with the device.
Sun Ray Thin Client Solution
We have many large organizations in different verticals who save a bundle by deploying this thin client solution of ours. Here is how Denver Health does it, and here is how Kuwait's Savings and Credit Bank saves money.

So why don't you run a pilot for Sun Ray in your organization and see for yourself how it stacks up.

Hint: You'll be pleasantly surprised. :-)

Tuesday Jun 24, 2008

Bunny in the Cloud


BBC World News prepared a list of best cloud computing applications available today, and it featured Sun's Network.com and Blender 3D. The article noted how Sun's data centers are available for hire by the hour to power on-demand cloud services. The author mentioned that Network.com is used mainly for processing scientific data but the servers can also be used for rendering animations via the open source Blender software.

Check out this BBC video clip featuring Sun's cloud computing efforts as well as snippets from the "Big Buck Bunny" movie rendered on Network.com.

In other news, InformationWeek highlighted Sun's Network.com and Project Caroline in their cloud computing feature story.
Movie rendering on the cloud

Tuesday Jun 17, 2008

Movie Review: Love Story 2050


On the heels of "Big Buck Bunny," here comes "Love Story 2050."

It is India's first sci-fi movie, and we have technology partnership with the producer Baweja Movies!!!

Sun is providing the technology platform for all the visual effects in the film. "Technology forms the foundation of sci-fi films. Hence the need to get the technology right is of utmost importance for the creators of special effects and animation for the film," said K. P. Unnikrishnan, Director of Marketing for Alliances and Teleweb Sales, Sun India.

The movie was filmed in Adelaide, Australia, and will be released on July 4, 2008.

Here is a forum thread on the movie. And catch the trailers now...


Monday Jun 09, 2008

Student Product Reviews Contest Update


Last month we launched the Student Reviews Program aimed at promoting hands-on experience of open-source products for students around the world. Students can post their reviews to give feedback, discuss cutting-edge technologies, get connected with experts, as well as participate in student contests to win cool prizes.

The program started with a OpenSolaris 2008.5 and NetBeans 6.1 product reviews contest .
Student Reviews
48 students from 14 different countries -- Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Colombia, Ecuador, India, Moldova, Pakistan, Romania, Sri Lanka, Sweden, USA and Vietnam -- have submitted 78 technical reviews during the contest period.

Check out the detailed contest update here.

Sunday Jun 01, 2008

Movie Review: Big Buck Bunny (rendered on Sun's Network.com!)


For a change, let's move from product reviews to... movie reviews!!!

Big Buck Bunny is a comedy about a well-tempered rabbit "Big Buck," who finds his day spoiled by the rude actions of the forest bullies, three rodents. In the typical 1950s cartoon tradition, Big Buck then prepares for the rodents in a comical revenge.

What is great about the movie is that it is "open." What is an "open movie?" Well, "open movie" promotes open content creation in a community setting.

For "Big Buck Bunny," it is not only developed by an animator community using open source software Blender but also distributed under an open license that gives artists free access to the entire studio database of assets and files used to make the movie.

"The primary intent of the movie was to stimulate the development of open source 3D software, but the quality of Big Buck Bunny on an artistic level as well as on technical ingenuity is what you would expect from large animation studios," said Ton Roosendaal, producer and Blender Institute director.

The Blender team didn't have support of a big studio, yet they succeeded with the community support, an open source rendering software and an on-demand computing platform.

And the last part is where we came in. Blender team needed over fifty thousand CPU-hours of compute time, and our Network.com grid services provided them a very powerful platform where they could use hundreds of CPUs simultaneously to significantly speed up the movie rendering process without needing to own the compute infrastructure.

For all the geeks out there, here is how it happened -- technically speaking -- over the Network.com grid platform.

Shining example of... the power of community (and lowering barriers to entry for producing a computer-animated movie), if you ask me.

Enjoy the movie. :-)
"Big Buck Bunny" movie -- rendered on Network.com


Monday May 05, 2008

Launching a new program...


Today we are launching a new Student Reviews Program. Here students worldwide can get hands-on experience on Sun offerings, post their reviews of Sun products, discuss the cutting-edge technologies, give feedback to Sun, get connected with technical experts, participate in contests, and win cool prizes!

The companion Student Views and Reviews site is also up and running with the inaugural blog post.
Sun's Student Reviews Program
The first student reviews contest has also been announced. Students can review OpenSolaris OS and/or NetBeans IDE 6.1, and get upto $250 in debit cards.

Wednesday Apr 09, 2008

Multi-socket CMT servers running wild...


Today is the day!!!

We are going multi-socket with Niagara-based systems.

2 CMT CPUs X 8 cores/CPU X 8 threads/core = 128 threads/system.

In simple terms, TONS of horsepower to run LOTS of applications.

As Wall Street Journal reports, IT.com found out early how these systems can change their business...

Sun SPARC Enterprise T5240 Server
"We have added SMP [symmetric multiprocessing] capabilities so you can add two of them into a single system, so within one rack unit or a two-rack-unit-high enclosure you are going to have 128 simultaneous compute threads," notes Sun's Mat Keep in a eWEEK interview. "What that means in comparison to other compatible systems is that you'll have two-and-a-half to five times the performance compared to a two-socket, Intel-based system and price performance that is five times better."

And Alan has a nice post on the reactions from the amped up engineers.

Let's cap it off with the best news -- our Try & Buy users can save up to 45% if they purchase trial units before June 30.


UPDATE: InfoWorld published a preview of the system today with the full review to come in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday Apr 08, 2008

New de-duplication capabilities added in our virtual tape library storage portfolio


Yesterday we introduced data deduplication technologies in our storage and tape portfolio. The new technologies are part of the Sun StorageTek VTL Prime line, and they lower the overall cost of physical storage by storing only unique data. The StorageTek VTL Prime can be used as a standalone virtual tape library or implemented with the StorageTek VTL Plus for a cost-effective, tiered data protection architecture.

Here is InformationWeek's take on the announcement...
Sun StorageTek VTL Plus

Wednesday Mar 05, 2008

Open sourcing... Education!


The Kuali Foundation manages a portfolio of open source applications for colleges and universities. These enterprise-focused applications range from finance, research administration, endowment management to student systems management.

The rSmart Group, which provides services and support to academic institutions for open source software, is collaborating with us to develop Kuali-based programs that are certified to run on Sun's collection of systems and open source infrastructure software, including Solaris, MySQL, GlassFish, OpenSSO and OpenESB. We are also helping to establish several institutions as Sun Centers of Excellence for the Kuali solutions.

As reported in Campus Technology, this collaboration, coupled with Kuali open source software, will help colleges and universities cut the costs of administrative computing while benefiting from enterprise applications built for education by education. The typical barrier to entry for open source software in education -- lack of professional support from an established vendor -- goes away with Sun's commitment to this (and other education-related) efforts.

Echoing Gary, we are really pleased to be a part of this important initiative.
Kauli Applications

(Image courtesy: Kuali Foundation)

Tuesday Feb 19, 2008

Sun expands grid offerings


Last week, we announced addition of 14 new applications in the Network.com Catalog, a collection of online grid-enabled applications that are available from Network.com's Sun Grid compute utility service on a pay-per-use basis. In addition, we announced a new partner program, "Sun Network.com Connection," for ISV to create and expand on-demand service offerings and also expanded Network.com's international availability.
Network.com

With overviews of the Network.com history since it was first announced, IT Jungle commented, "... utility computing is still something that the company believes in as a long-term prospect for the IT industry." HPCWire highlighted the ISV support, and BetaNews liked Network.com's support of open source technology with applications like Blender, Zeus and GAP.

My favorite one came from InsideHPC, who wrote that Sun "sent a Valentine to potential Network.com customers" with the expanded catalog.

Yes, indeed! :-)

Thursday Feb 14, 2008

XML is Ten!


The now ubiquitous XML language is approaching its 10th birthday, and the World Wide Web Consortium is planning to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of XML 1.0.

"There is essentially no computer in the world, desktop, hand-held or back room, that doesn't process XML sometimes," said Tim Bray, our Director of Web Technologies and co-editor of the XML standard. "This is a good thing, because it shows that information can be packaged and transmitted and used in a way that's independent of the kinds of computer and software that are involved. XML won't be the last neutral information-wrapping system; but as the first, it's done very well."

Send in your XML 10 greeting today...

XML
(Image Courtsey: Wikipedia)

Wednesday Feb 13, 2008

What is Web 2.0?


A lot of ink has already been spent on trying to define Web 2.0...

Another recent Computer Weekly article describes this Web 2.0 trend, saying, "Four years on from the first serious attempt to define it, there is no firm consensus about what constitutes Web 2.0. Within the past few months, it has been described by senior industry commentators as "a major trend that is building steadily" and "a bagful of old technologies under a new name."
Web 2.0

So what does our venerable Tim Bray, Sun Director of Web Technologies, say? He explains, "Until Web 2.0 the learning curve to creating websites was quite high, complex, and a definite barrier to entry... Now the new tools that are web oriented, like PHP and Rails, have no other objective than building websites, easier and faster, and the effect is that the number of potential developers is growing."

Interesting read.

Tuesday Feb 05, 2008

Greening the Data Center


A recent Smart Enterprise Magazine article highlights efforts that CIOs can take to reduce consumption within the data center and highlights Sun's work in this area. The piece notes, "Awareness among CIOs is growing, thanks to skyrocketing energy prices, growing concerns over global warming, a series of worldwide droughts and the general prominence -- on both the political and cultural fronts -- of the need for greater energy conservation. Many CIOs also have a floor-space problem: While they're being asked to do more, they are not being given additional funding for extra data-center space."

So what's the solution?
Greening the Data Center

Wednesday Jan 30, 2008

ZDNet: Sun xVM - Foundation for a Dynamic Datacenter?


ZDNet blogger Dan Kusnetzky discusses his conversation with Steve Wilson, Sun's Vice President of xVM and Connected Systems, regarding our xVM hypervisor. He says, "If Sun's efforts in operating system virtualization and partitioning are used as a guide, I know that Sun will bring really powerful technology to market. It's going to be interesting to see how Sun competes with all of the others that are trying to offer similar capabilities in their own way."

In a blog post discussing the conversation, Steve goes on to add,"... we at Sun are putting a lot more focus on Windows consolidation and management that Dan thinks. Clearly Windows is a platform where customers want consolidation and we're putting a huge amount of work into optimizing xVM Server to be a great host for Windows."

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