Wednesday Apr 08, 2009

Customer of the week: Liverpool Direct Limited


Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL) is helping transform the way citizens in Liverpool access public services. A public/private enterprise of its kind, LDL's vision is to offer "joined-up government" whereby everybody has access to new technology for communicating with Liverpool City Council and its Business Units. Among LDL's responsibilities are contact centers, benefits services, human resources and payroll, and revenue services.
Liverpool Direct Limited
The organization was aiming to increase computing power and capacity, reduce operational and management costs, cut power and cooling costs and increase space available for scaling hardware platform.

Sun Professional Services provided LDL with a turnkey solution that included a high-performance, cost-effective platform based on Sun SPARC Enterprise T2000 servers running the Solaris 10 OS, Solaris Cluster, and Sun Interim Operations Management to ensure a successful adoption of the new technology.

"Liverpool Direct Limited couldn't deliver Solaris-based shared services without the Sun SPARC Enterprise T-Series servers running the Solaris 10 OS," noted Frank Oakley, Solutions Architect, LDL. "The platform has reduced our costs and doubled processing performance."

Check out the complete details here.

Wednesday Apr 01, 2009

Sun Fire X4440 Server Gets PC Pro's Recommendation


Sun Fire X4440 Server
Sun Fire X4440 Server
As a follow up to his X4140 review last month, PC Pro's Dave Mitchell tested the larger X4440, similarly rating the unit 5 out of 6 stars and bestowing it the publications "Recommended" rating. Overall he stated, "The one and only 2U quad Opteron 8300 server on the market delivers a superb blend of features and value that's more than a match for the competition."

Dave provided a comprehensive look at the 2U Opteron-based system, with an emphasis on price, features, and architecture. "As we found with the X4140, Sun seems to offer that little bit more than everyone else. It matches the competition on storage and expansion potential, but steps out for network connections as the motherboard has four embedded Gigabit ports up for grabs," he noted.

Overall Dave is quite positive about the X4440 and concluded, "With the X4440, Sun has achieved the remarkable feat of squeezing four Opteron 8300 sockets into a low profile 2U chassis - something no other vendor has achieved. Even better is the fact that this is not at the cost of storage capacity, expansion potential or general features, as this server is more than a match for the larger 8300 equipped systems from Dell, HP and IBM."

Wednesday Mar 04, 2009

PC Pro recommends Sun Fire X4140 Server in March 09 issue review


PC Pro's Dave Mitchell took a look at the Sun Fire X4140 server, giving the unit the publication's "Recommended" rating and five out of six stars.

Overall, Dave is very positive about the server noting, "The Sun Fire X4140 is one classy 1U rack server that has more of everything than the competition and is very competitively priced."

The reviewer noted that the X4140 is "big on performance," highlighting the unit's storage subsystem and quad-core Opetrons. He also commented, "the X4140 seems to have more of everything," noting the systems power supplies, PCI-e slots and embedded Gigabit ports.

While not a comparative review, Dave makes frequent remarks about how the X4140 stacks up against similar offerings from Dell and HP. "The X4140 packs so much more into its chassis than the rest, it's extremely well built and designed and easily matches HP's ProLiant DL365 G5 on price," he concludes.
Sun Fire X4140 Server

Monday Mar 02, 2009

ILM Informatique on Amber Road: "We recommend it"


Amber Road Analytics
Real-time analysis screenshot of the Amber Road storage system

The folks at ILM Informatique has published a very detailed review of the Sun Storage 7110 Unified Storage System. This Amber Road review is available in English here, and in French here.

After providing the specific of the unit they received, ILM Informatique goes over the installation, functionalities, performance as well as additional functionalities they would like to see.

Their final conclusion:

"The Sun Storage 7110 server we tested made the brilliant demonstration of its velocity and was easy to configure. Solaris and its ZFS filesystem using the full power of the hardware. At $10,995, you will not regret your investment. It will be very difficult to find the bottleneck of the server moreover it will keep your files safe.

We recommend this model for a group of 20 to 200 users."

Thursday Feb 19, 2009

Stellar InfoWorld Review of Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System (Amber Road)


Amber Road Analytics
Real-time analysis screenshot of the Amber Road storage system

Infoworld's Paul Venezia reviewed the Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System (Amber Road) and accompanying FISHworks management platform, rating it a stellar 9.2 out of 10 and noting, "The Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System's combination of 48 drives, SSD log storage, broad protocol support, ZFS, and amazing GUI make for one great filer."

Paul took a comprehensive look at the unit's management features, including its real-time monitoring and analytics capabilities. After only a few minutes of use with FISHworks he noted, "I was smitten. It's very attractive and very accessible. In fact, it may be the most complete filer interface I've ever seen, blowing the doors off Network Appliance's Web-based manager." Paul drilled down into the GUI, highlighting its instant feedback on load and throughput as well as the worksheets ability to provide easy at-a-glance status reports.

Turning his attention to the hardware, Paul configured a storage pool and tested performance via a number of access protocols. For NFS access via Linux, he highlighted that creation of a 10GB file performed at near wire-rate over a gigabit NIC. Paul also noted the solid performance of sequential reads and writes to NFS3, NFS4, iSCSI and CIFS, calling out the 55 to 60MBps throughput while under load. "Again, this is very close to wire-rate speeds," he stated.

Overall, Paul was very positive about his experience with the 7210 concluding, "The market for multilingual filers has plenty of players, from NetApp to Adaptec, but in terms of bang for the buck, Sun's 7210 is in rare territory. Regardless of price, son of Thumper is a uniquely complete representation of what a filer should be."

Wednesday Feb 11, 2009

Sun Storage 6580 and 6780 Arrays named Network World's best products of the week


Sun Microsystems' Sun Storage 6580 and 6780 Arrays are highlighted as Network World's "Products of the Week" for the current week.

The slideshow notes, "Two new high-performance disk storage arrays from Sun are designed to help customers consolidate workloads and provide storage for a range of server architectures. The 6580 scales up to 256TB and the 6780 scales up to 448TB."

Sun's Nancy Hart said customers are taking advantage of Sun's upgrade and trade-in programs to maximize their investments in legacy hardware. "The trying economic times are weighing on our customers and they're thinking about alternative buying options," said Hart, who indicated the newly launched Sun Storage 6780 disk array is capable of reusing capacity already on the data center floor. "Given the budget pressures, doing more with less is imperative," she said. "Customers can use the 6780 to repurpose their existing investments for an administrative fee of a couple hundred dollars."
Network World's "Products of the Week"

(Image Courtesy: Network World)

Saturday Jan 31, 2009

SeachStorage.com explains open-source storage


SearchStorage.com's Carol Sliwa has recently penned a nice article on open-source storage.

"Open-source storage software is freely available, but it's the rare IT department that's willing to cobble it together with hardware to build a storage system.
...
IT organizations are typically so worried about data loss that they tend to favor storage products from established vendors. That's why Sun Microsystems' new Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems billed as "open storage appliances" and formerly known as Amber Road, have created a stir in the market.
...
The Sun stack includes the OpenSolaris operating system, with its default ZFS file system featuring simple administration, end-to-end data integrity and scalability. OpenSolaris supports not only NFS but CIFS, through an in-kernel implementation, to enable file access with Windows-based systems."

Check out the entire article here -- it's a pretty good one!

Wednesday Jan 28, 2009

Great Sun Storage Unified System (Amber Road) Review in PC Pro

Sun Storage 7110 Unified Storage System
Sun Storage 7110 Unified Storage System
The January issue of PC Pro has a very positive Amber Road review. The reviewer, Dave Mitchell, tested an entry-level Sun Storage 7110 Unified Storage System and he was quited impressed, calling it "something special."

Dave examined installation, performance and key features such as DTrace and the bevy of supported protocols. "The 7110 proved quick, with Iometer reporting a speedy 112MB/sec raw read throughput for one iSCSI target," he noted. Further, "real-world speeds for iSCSI were good, as copying a 2.52GB video returned read and write speeds of 89MB/sec and 76MB/sec. FTP was even faster with the FileZilla client reporting read and write speeds of 99MB/sec and 86MB/sec using the same test file."

In closing, the reviewer commented, "The 7110 delivers a complete network storage solution with no hidden catches. Both NAS and IP SAN are supported, performance is very good, and Sun won't be beaten on value."

PC Pro's final verdict: "The 7110 is the storage host with the most since it offers NAS and IP SAN support - all as standard."

Of course, the product got "PC Pro Recommended" status. :-)

Sun SMB Virtualization Offering named one of Network World's best products of the week


Sun's new virtualization products aimed at small and mid-sized businesses are one of the Network World's "Products of the Week" for the current week.

On Slide 5, Network World notes that these new offerings combine Sun's storage and servers with hypervisor software from either VMware or Microsoft embedded in the systems. The VMware ESX configurations include Sun Fire X4150, X4250 or X4450 servers with the Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage system. The Microsoft Hyper-V configuration includes the Sun Fire X4250 server and Sun Storage J4200 system.
Network World's "Products of the Week"

(Image Courtesy: Network World)

Tuesday Jan 27, 2009

Another Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) / Sun Ray Review in TechTarget


Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Software

In a follow up to last month's virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) review, Rick Vanover of TechTarget further examined planning a VDI implementation.

Rick outlined the main components in a VDI solution and stated, "the Sun Ray series of devices are among the more refined products in the space." Further, he noted, "for administrators who prefer to use an ESX hypervisor for their VDI, the Sun Ray server software can fill this void."

Rick explains the VDI architecture and planning involved, also noting a Sun blog that walks through the setup.

Overall he is quite pleased with Sun's solution, concluding, "setting up a Sun Ray server software installation is not overwhelming. In fact, Sun makes it quite easy by working to simplify the process and break down the steps for administrators considering Sun Ray software."

Thursday Jan 22, 2009

Sun receives recognition from SearchDataCenter.com and The VAR Guy


Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 server received SearchDataCenter's Bronze award for 2008 server product of the year. The article notes that the T5440 server packs enough memory and CPU power to deliver up to four times higher performance per watt at about one-fifth of competitive servers, which is part of the reason the judges gave it the Bronze award for 2008 server product of the year.

One T5440 user, a massive, European-based Web hosting company called Strato, reported, "After testing the new quad-socket Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 server, we discovered that only one T5440 is sufficient to handle the whole load and can replace 10 of our existing Sun Fire T2000 servers."

In other news, The VAR Guy looked at the top open source companies disrupting and redefining the IT channel. Their "Open Source 50" list was released recently, with Sun being ranked #2 overall. We received many recognitions from The VAR Guy: Best of the Best (Sun ranked #2 of 25), Percentage of Revenue From Partners (Sun ranked #8 of 24), Company Size Based On Employees (Sun ranked #1 of 24), Partner Ecosystem (Sun noted in comments as not providing exact figures).
SearchDataCenter Award

Friday Jan 16, 2009

Sun wins TWO InfoWorld 2009 Technology of the Year Awards


InfoWorld has posted their annual Technology of The Year awards. We have been declared winners in TWO categories.

Sun Fire X4150 server has been selected as the "Best 1U Server." Author Doug Dineley noted that the server provided great performance for its price, "stuffing 2U of capabilities into the thinner form factor."

Sun StorageTek 5800 (aka Honeycomb) took home the honors of "Best Fixed Content Storage Archiving Solution." It earned the honor because it's "a storage solution that's harder to kill than Steven Seagal."
InfoWorld 2009 Technology of the Year Award
The original InfoWorld review of X4150 is here and that of Honeycomb is here.

CONGRATULATIONS to the teams!!!

Friday Nov 14, 2008

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


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."
ZFS
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."

Thursday Nov 13, 2008

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


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." :-)

Wednesday Nov 05, 2008

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


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)
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