Thursday Aug 20, 2009

InfoWorld Bullish on Sun's Nehalem Servers



Sun Fire X2270 Server
Sun Fire X2270 Server

Sun Fire X4270 Server
Sun Fire X4270 Server

InfoWorld's Paul Venezia published a glowing review of the Sun Fire X2270 and Sun Fire X4270 servers, which he described as "the fastest x64 servers Sun has ever produced." The Sun Fire X2270 received an overall rating of an 8.2 (out of 10), and the Sun Fire X4270 received an 8.8, which classified both servers as “very good” on the InfoWorld scorecard.

Paul tested each server on his baseline VMware test application and in the lab, "the X2270 moved like a much more expensive system." He performed two test runs with the X2270: one with the vApp running first on a single 500GB SATA drive, and another with the VMs housed on an NFS share to a SAS array run from an Adaptec Snap Server 650. He reported "the difference was noticeable and resulted in a performance increase of around 15 percent," and concluded saying "there's a lot of power in this little package."

Paul described the X4270 as "the best of both worlds, offering the 2U form factor that adds significant expansion opportunities and a wealth of local disk options." He reported that the X4270 "performs extremely well in the VMware tests," saying "it has power and expansion to spare." He highlighted the many features of the X4270 to include the expansion bus and CompactFlash slot which lead him to declare "there's little that this box can't handle."

All in all, Paul concluded by saying "both models are impressive entries into the Nehalem-based server market." He said these solid server platforms that successfully leverage the power of the Nehalem architecture "should find a home just about anywhere."

Wednesday Aug 19, 2009

IT Pro: X4275 puts forward a strong proposition as a storage server



IT PRO's Dave Mitchell published an exclusive review of the Sun Fire X4275 server which he described as having "a sharp focus on storage hungry applications such as multimedia, data warehousing and video surveillance."

Dave took a close look at the server's build and said the X4275 has a "very tidy interior that is designed to make the most of the internal real estate." He also noted "Sun has the virtualization angle covered" with the motherboard offering an internal USB port and a CompactFlash card slot for booting an embedded hypervisor. He pointed out that "the X4275 certainly has room to grow with demand," highlighting the three riser cards in the back that offer a total of six PCI-Express 2.0 slots.

Additionally, Dave noted "the X4275 doesn't go short in the network department as it has four embedded Gigabit ports." He also reported that the X4275 was "reasonably easy on the utility supply," when tested on an inline power meter, and pointed out that the server comes with 1050W hot-plug supplies included in the price.

Dave also called out the X4275's ILOM chip, and its secure web interface which provides a status report on all critical components and their condition. All in all, Dave was pleased with the build quality as well as the solid three-year on-site warranty. He concluded by saying: "The X4275 puts forward a strong proposition as a storage server as it has a high potential capacity and plenty of room to expand."

Friday Aug 14, 2009

Math -- Powered by Sun


Founded in 1861, the University of Washington has one of the leading mathematics research departments in the United States. Several years ago, William Stein, an associate professor of mathematics at UW, collaborated with more than 150 mathematicians around the world to build Sage, an open-source computational software program. Sage can be used to solve a wide range of mathematical problems including algebra, calculus, number theory, numerical computation and more.

Stein recently looked to expand the computational capabilities of Sage, but felt limited by the hardware the department was using to run the software. Additionally, the department wanted to increase the overall performance of Sage while also making the automated testing of the platform faster and easier. Last November, the department began evaluating new server solutions to support Sage and eventually selected a new system from Sun.

Sun Customer University of Washington
(Image courtesy: University of Washington
The solution included four Sun Fire X4450 servers, powered by 2.6 Ghz Six-Core Intel Xeon processors, and one Sun Fire X4540 server that runs the OpenSolaris Operating System. The department received SunSpectrum Silver support in addition to support from the Sun market development organization during the solution’s implementation.

Since deploying the Sun solution in December, the department has gained a huge increase in computing power that has significantly sped the automated testing of Sage. Stein reports that with the Sun X4450, it only takes three minutes to run the standard Sage test suite, a task that previously took at least an hour. Stein noted that “our previous infrastructure was fine, but the entire thing was only about one-third the capacity of a single Sun X4450 server.” He said Sage runs computations much faster and stated: “The whole way I do mathematical calculations using Sage is so much different now that I have this hardware.”

Check out the complete details here.

Wednesday Aug 05, 2009

InformationWeek's positive Sun VDI 3.0 review


Sun VDI Solution
Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Software
InformationWeek’s Randy George reviewed Sun VDI 3.0, which he called “new and improved,” citing “impressive performance” and “seamless” authentication against Active Directory as top features.

Randy found that “Virtual Desktop access screamed with Sun's VDI 3 on Sun Fire servers connecting to Sun's VirtualBox virtualization engine.” He also complimented provisioning features and the ability to automatically clone new virtual desktops as well as compatibility with a variety of software platforms.

Randy was also impressed with the Sun Ray 270 thin clients he tested, praising both their aesthetic appeal and the smartcard reader, which can be used for two-factor authentication. Overall Randy concluded that “Sun VDI impresses.”

Monday Jul 27, 2009

French broadcaster builds fast, energy-efficient Web portal on Sun GlassFish Platform


RTL France is a radio broadcaster that owns some of the country's most popular stations. Thanks to the widespread adoption of broadband Internet, RTL France is seeing online listening figures grow across several of its stations. Because of this growth, RTL France decided it needed to completely rebuild its Windows-based portal and ASP.NET-based applications to support a larger audience with new services.

RTL France aimed for a solution that would increase reliability and scalability while also building an infrastructure that would be easier to manage, more cost-effective, and more energy-efficient. RTL France needed to replace all network hardware, acquire space at a hosting center, configure transit and peering connections, set up storage area network connections and consolidate separate databases into a centrally managed one. RTL France also needed an application server, and was only interested in open-source solutions that would be highly reliable in a production environment.


Sun Customer RTL France

(Image courtesy: RTL France )
RTL France evaluated several different technologies, and ultimately chose Sun's GlassFish Enterprise Server. To deploy the solution RTL France needed to virtualize its servers and chose VMware ESX software running on Sun Fire X4600 Servers. RTL France also added a Sun Fire T1000 Server to test applications prior to deployment and two Sun Fire T2000 Servers to run the applications in the production environment.

The servers are powered by UltraSPARC T1 processors with CoolThreads technology and run the Solaris 10 Operating System. Sun Fire X4100 and X4100 M2 Servers with AMD Opteron processors are used for batch and other back-end processing. Sun StorageTek QFS Software is used for sharing static file across hosts, and the entire solution is backed by SunSpectrum Platinum Support.

RTL France is pleased with the new solution's performance. Sebastien Thomas, Network and System Manager of RTL France praised the GlassFish solution saying, “Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server delivers a Web infrastructure that can scale easily with demand.” He summarized the value of the Sun solution by saying: “With Sun, we get stability, confidence, and savings in power, costs and time.

Check out the complete details here.

Thursday Jul 16, 2009

French company reduces costs with Sun open-source solution


Symeos, a Web services security startup based in France, provides online identity management and federated authentication services to organizations in Western Europe and the United States. Symeos offers innovative single sign-on technologies for customers across multiple industries, helping to protect organizations against e-commerce online scams and identity thefts.
Sun Customer Symeos
As the demand for increased security and online identity management and authentication solutions continued to increase, Symeos created a new identity management product called EGO. Symeos quickly needed a completely new virtualized platform to support the more than 10 million expected users of EGO. The company turned to Sun to provide a high performance, low energy consumption solution that was open source, fast, scalable, and secure.

Symeos ordered 8 Sun Blade T6340 Server Modules with UltraSPARC T2 Plus processors and 12 Sun Blade X6250 Server Modules with Intel Xeon processors. The company also purchased two Sun Blade 6000 Chassis to house the machines; and to protect the platform’s data, the company chose a Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System together with a Sun Storage J4000 Array. The infrastructure runs on the Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris Operating Systems. The blade servers provide support for Web solutions that include the Sun GlassFish Enterprise Server v3, the Sun GlassFish Web Space Server 10, and the open-source offerings of the MySQL Database, the Sun OpenDS directory server, and Sun OpenSSO Enterprise.

Symeos built the finished platform over a period of two months, and after testing, plans to launch the by the end of the year. Because Symeos used open-source and open-standard technology throughout, the business expects to lower future development costs by about 60%. Herve Prot, Chief Executive Officer of Symeos said: “With the support of Sun, we have developed a cost-effective identity management platform that offers customers 99.999% availability and is easily scalable.”

Check out the complete details here.

Sunday Jul 12, 2009

Sun Speeds Up Daytona 500!!!

customer

International Speedway Corporation (ISC), based in Daytona Beach, Florida, manages about 66 motorsports activities at its facilities each year, including the Daytona 500, Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Cup Series, and Camping World Truck Series. ISC sells approximately 100,000 tickets for each event along with hundreds of thousands of souvenirs and concessions. ISC relies on IT from multiple vendors to support its ticketing system, retail system, 54 interactive Web sites and an ERP system. Sun Customer ISC
A third-party vendor hosted ISC's systems until 2006, when after several years of steady 10-15% growth, ISC started to experience availability issues as end users experienced inconsistent levels of system performance. ISC decided to build its own datacenter and engage a company to remotely manage its mission-critical systems. ISC chose Sun Remote Operations Management because of its in-depth expertise in numerous technologies, detailed problem-resolution policies, and comprehensive services.

Throughout 2007, Sun worked with ISC to restructure its architecture and set up the new datacenter. All three mission-critical systems include a mix of old and new technologies that run on the Solaris 10 Operating System. The ticketing system, which includes an application tier of three Sun Fire T2000 servers running 18 virtual environments and a clustered database tier of two Sun Fire V490 servers and two Sun Fire T2000 servers, makes use of Solaris Cluster 3.2 software. To speed performance, the ticketing system interoperates with a multi-tiered storage area network built with Sun Storage Archive Manager software 4.6, two Sun StorakeTek 6540 arrays, and one Sun StorEdge 6130 array. The ERP system runs on two clustered Sun Fire V490 servers.

The redesigned architecture supports ISC's varying levels of system traffic better, and Sun Managed Services provides daily reports that have helped ISC reduce their administrative costs. Craig Neeb, Chief Information Officer at ISC said: “Last year was our best year for service levels. We hit 99.9%. Sun Managed Services exceeded our expectations. They are always two steps ahead of us. There have been many times where Sun personnel found a problem before it affected the end user's experience. Sun then resolved it and let us know what happened. That's my dream world right there. That's what I was looking for.”

Check out the complete details here.

Sunday Jul 05, 2009

ZDNet Review: "X4275 is an excellent all-rounder"


ZDNet's Craig Simms evaluated Sun's newest 2RU Nehalem-based Sun Fire X4275 server, focusing his evaluation on the design, architecture and performance aspects of the unit he tested.

The reviewer began with a rundown of hardware design features and system specifications. Specifically, he called out the two Xeon E5540 "Gainestown" CPUs with four physical cores each.

"With a Hyperthreading-aware OS, though, it presents itself as capable of handling 16 threads, resulting in a task manager likely to create a bit of envy," he noted. Craig also highlighted the vast configuration, OS and service options available for the server.

Overall, Craig was quite pleased with the X4275. His verdict: "Sun Microsystem's Sun Fire X4275 is an excellent all-rounder that can be custom-specced to suit most small-to-medium-business needs. Whether you need to apply yourself with some dense storage or just need the compute power of 16 cores, its flexibility is commendable."
Sun Fire X4275 Server

Friday Jun 26, 2009

Sun solutions help German systems vendor deliver affordable cloud computing


Merkl IT was founded in 2007 as a traditional systems vendor offering IT services, hardware, software and support. The Munich-based systems vendor decided to pursue an idea for a cloud computing solution, which lead to the development of Virtual BackOffice, the company's core product.

Sun Customer Merkl IT
(Image courtesy: Merkl IT)
Virtual BackOffice provides businesses with access to a virtual IT infrastructure that is highly scalable, flexible, affordable, and available and gives them access to their data and applications from almost any location with very little required on-site hardware. To provide the scalability and fast response time needed to deploy Virtual BackOffice, Merkl IT needed new hardware and chose several Sun products for its solution.

For storage, Merkl IT uses Sun Storage Tek 2510 arrays with redundant iSCSI RAID controllers and 1 Gb/sec throughput. The SMI-S-compliant Sun StorageTek Common Array Manager software simplifies 2510 array storage management and allows Merkl IT to accelerate deployment and improve utilization. Citing Sun's “green IT” focus, Merkl IT chose Sun Blade 6000 servers with energy-saving features to virtualize and host Windows servers and desktops running Virtual BackOffice.

Merkl IT offers more than just hosting services, it also provides its customers with Sun Ray Thin Clients and software including Sun Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Sun Secure Global Desktop software. Merkl IT stays one step ahead of the major cloud computing providers by integrating its customers' local servers and network infrastructure into Virtual BackOffice.

Julian Merkl, co-founder and managing director of Merkl IT notes “the Sun infrastructure allows us to operate the cloud-computing solution in an energy-efficient and stable manner, saving our customers money and helping the environment.”

Check out the complete details here.

Friday Jun 19, 2009

UNC Chapel Hill Enhances Biomedical Research with Sun HPC System


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the nation's first state university, and a recognized leader in biomedical research. Many of the university's health sciences groups use high-speed applications for modeling and simulation, but wanted dedicated high-performance computing system resources to speed research and make faster progress.

In 2007, funding for a high-performance biomedical image analysis system was approved for seven UNC-CH research groups. Having used Sun products for more than 20 years, UNC-CH knew Sun could provide a highly-customized solution and better support for image-intensive applications and was interested in the company's recent HPC innovations.
Sun customer UNC Chapel Hill
(Image courtesy: UNC Chapel Hill)
Sun and UNC-CH worked together to design the grid-based HPC architecture throughout 2007, and began testing configurations in 2008. With the Sun Customer Ready Program, UNC-CH was able to cut hardware start-up time from six months to four weeks because the entire system had been built, configured, and tested in a Sun facility before shipment.

The UNC-CH grid was introduced to the research community in February 2009 and consists of 17 Sun Fire X4600 M2 Servers, each with sixteen 2.8GHz AMD Opteron processors. An additional X4600 M2 was installed as a backup, while another was installed as a file server attached to a Sun StorageTek 6140 array and a Sun StorageTek SL500 modular library system. The grid also includes 45 Sun Ultra 40 M2 Workstations.

“Users tell us how excited they are to be able to do things a hundred times faster than before,” said Russell M. Taylor II, research professor at University of North Carolina. “Implementing a high-performance computing solution from Sun Microsystems gave us the ability to move biomedical research forward at a faster pace.”

Check out the complete details here.

Friday Jun 12, 2009

Italian medical foundation boosts health of its storage system with Sun solution


The Gabriele Monasterio Foundation was founded in Pisa, Italy in 2007. The foundation assists doctors and researchers across Italy who are performing cutting-edge medical research, and provides IT systems to help them with their work. Recently, the foundation realized the existing storage environment for image data was quickly reaching its limitations with no way to increase capacity.

The foundation wanted to implement a new storage infrastructure that offered greater capacity while keeping management simple. It also aimed to reduce energy consumption and costs in support of its efforts to be recognized as an environmentally friendly organization. The foundation chose Sun over other leading vendors, HP and IBM, with a solution that was 40% less expensive than the alternatives.

The new Sun storage environment is based on the Sun Fire X4150 and Sun Fire X4500 servers, which are both running the Solaris 10 Operating System. The foundation switched its core database from a PostgreSQL to MySQL 5.0, and bought a series of Sun Ultra 24 workstations and a Sun Fire X2100 M2 server for its research laboratories. A local Sun partner supported the installation, and Sun Services provided a week-long training course so the IT team had the skills necessary to take full advantage of the new technology.

Paolo Marcheschi, manager of the Operating Unit of Computer Science Technologies at the Gabriele Monasterio Foundation says “We believe that the Solaris Operating System is demonstrably ahead with respect to Linux. Plus, the combination of Solaris ZFS and Solaris Containers for virtualization has given us a simple-to-manage and scalable storage environment to support the foundation long-term.”

Check out the complete details here.

Friday May 15, 2009

hi5 slashes storage costs and scales for growth with Sun solution


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.

Friday May 08, 2009

Sun solution helps myToys.de meet demand


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.

Friday May 01, 2009

Sun Delivers Performance Boost to University of Central Florida


The University of Central Florida offers more than 220 degree programs to 50,000 students and is served by more than 5,000 faculty and staff who have relied on Sun servers, storage, software, and services for more than 10 years.

In 2007, UCF sought to increase the capability and scalability of its Oracle/PeopleSoft platform to meet growing computational and storage demands. This upgrade required a high-performance storage area network in addition to related system upgrades, all of which needed to be in place for the Fall 2008 semester to facilitate class scheduling and registration.
Sun Customer UCF
Logo Courtesy: UCF
UCF ultimately selected the Sun StorageTek 9990V system and said they chose it because it was "best of breed" in its product class for both performance and reliability. For its PeopleSoft application servers UCF chose eight Sun SPARC Enterprise T5220 servers, and five Sun Fire T2000 servers.

UCF is pleased with the fast operation of the new solution, which offers a 10-fold improvement in overall performance. Robert Yanckello, Chief Technology Officer at UCF says "Even during peak loads of the semester's first week, when many students are adding and dropping classes, everything moved smoothly. The systems are simple to manage and use, and Sun has been easy to do business with."

Check out the complete details here.

Wednesday Apr 29, 2009

Sun Fire X2270 Server Review in IT Pro


Sun Fire X2270 Server

IT Pro's Dave Mitchell reviewed the Sun Fire X2270, the new Intel Xeon 5500 processor based server, giving it a four out of six star rating and noting Sun's support for the processor ahead of HP and IBM. Dave said, "Sun's new 1U rack server delivers a good specification for the price, which includes Intel's latest Xeon 5500 processors and a good helping of DDR3 memory."

Dave noted that the "X2270 targets a wide range of applications and projects such as HPC and web services," as well as "some other interesting storage possibilities for this server as the embedded ICH10R controller provides six SATA channels."

The secure web interface and remote server management were highlighted as positive features in the review, with Dave saying the interface was "easy to use and opens with a status report on all critical components and their status," and the remote management was called "up with the best as the X2270 comes with Sun's embedded ILOM (integrated lights out management)."

In conclusion, Dave's review was positive for overall value and it highlighted X2270 as a strong product offering ahead of HP and IBM.

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