Thursday Dec 31, 2009

Year's last "At a Glance" : Recent reviews of JavaFX, NetBeans, VirtualBox, OpenOffice and OpenSolaris


VirtualBox
VirtualBox users shared a variety of top-notch reviews as well as tips & tricks this week for the free virtualization program. A blogger from Showing My Geek, who recently started using VirtualBox, said, “I really like it,” and explained that he especially appreciated “the ability to allot memory for the video of the virtual machine.” Another blogger selected VirtualBox to highlight as the software product of the month and stated, “VirtualBox is similar to Microsoft Virtual PC, but better” and pointed to its wide-ranging support for a variety of operating systems. A blogger from wikihow.com posted a VirtualBox tutorial for users who want to “play with other operating systems without having to change what’s on your computer right now.” And finally, a blogger demonstrated how to set up VirtualBox on a Linux host to sync an iPod Touch 2G and said, “I am quite happy (and surprised) to find that this solution works for me.”

JavaFX
Some JavaFX users kept busy testing the features of the new JavaFX composer this week while others continued to test the limitations of the current release. Nick Apperley reviewed the JavaFX Composer and said the templates “are a great productivity booster in JavaFX Composer,” noting that with the tool, all of the options for creating and customizing are centralized in one location. Another blogger compared JavaFX to Flex and said the biggest differentiator favoring JavaFX is its “ability to quickly create fantastic animation and graphs compared to Flex where 3rd party libraries come into play.” Longtime JavaFX blogger Drew designed and shared a new calendar implementation he built in JavaFX to improve his design skills, while Jeff Friesen published a tutorial that details a basic demonstration of the JavaFX PerspectiveTransform class.

NetBeans
Many NetBeans users continued to explore the features of the new 6.8 release of the IDE this week while others continued to report NetBeans success stories in production environments. Adam Bien posted several blogs focusing on his experience with the 6.8 release, with one blog dedicated to the five features that he said, “make NetBeans 6.8 my IDE of choice.” The other blog looked at the new NetBeans issue tracking tool, which he said, “really rocks” because “you get immediate feedback whether it is a new bug, a known one or what the resolution is … without leaving the IDE.” Finally, blogger Nat discussed his use of the NetBeans IDE for his UI automation project and said, “NetBeans is a great IDE for watir testing; I heartily recommend it,” noting that, “its svn integration is better than anything else I’ve used so far.”

OpenOffice
OpenOffice users were buzzing with excitement over the new 3.2 release candidate, and wrote about the new features of the upgraded program. Blogger Martin from ghacks.net wrote about the new reduction in startup time as well as the new proprietary file compatibility, which he said, “now supports password protected Microsoft Office documents.” Deb Russell from about.com also discussed OpenOffice this week, and recommended the MATH equation editor that comes with the office productivity suite saying it “lets you slip math equations into your documents rather easily.”

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris users shared a plethora of tricks with others this week starting with a blogger from Ubiquitous Talk who published an in-depth tutorial that demonstrates how to protect active directories with snapshots implemented with OpenSolaris based storage heads and W2K3 or W2K8 servers. A blogger from Simon’s Musings provided a valuable tutorial that goes through “all of the steps from bare metal” to building a version of OpenAFS on Solaris. Finally, a blogger from The Intersect posted a series of workarounds he has compiled for different issues he encountered in OpenSolaris including turning off output flushing, a broken keyboard layout, and a tip for updating systems.

Tuesday Dec 08, 2009

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



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.

Wednesday Dec 02, 2009

Now Available: Solaris Cluster 3.2 11/09 Software


Today Sun announced the availability of the Solaris Cluster 3.2 11/09 software. Listen to the short podcast below for the details.



Monday Nov 30, 2009

Online gaming company gets a boost with Sun server solution


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.

Tuesday Nov 24, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, JavaFX, NetBeans, OpenOffice & OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
VirtualBox received exuberant praise in both trade publications and on top blogs this week. InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy said VirtualBox “delivers tremendous virtualization power” and also noted that it “installs quickly, requires very little study, and includes all the essentials.” Ken Hess from Linux Magazine stated: “Yes, VirtualBox is all that and a bag of computer chips,” while Larry Henry from Lehsys.com reported in a blog titled 'VirtualBox just keeps getting better,' that he has been using the program for eight months and that “it's been just awesome … there's no lag to it – it just works.” Finally, blogger Roger recommended VirtualBox because “the virtualization technology is top notch.”

JavaFX
JavaFX was discussed in a variety of forums this week, including in an analysis piece of the Java programming language by Peter Wayner at InfoWorld. Peter said that while JavaFX requires Java programmers to learn a new language, “the new animation classes may make it worthwhile for highly interactive desktop tools.” Meanwhile, a blogger new to JavaFX developed his first application with the programming language and said “indeed, it's a lot easier to prepare the GUI than plain old AWT,” and also pointed out that “JavaFX is a lot easier way to do the graphics.” Finally, a blogger from Soft-Tech Talks reported “I am amazed with its features,” after testing the GUI development capabilities of JavaFX.

NetBeans
An ever-increasing number of developers made the move to NetBeans this week starting with Glen Smith who reported NetBeans was his choice of IDE for Grails development because “the Mercurial support is just fantastic (and built into the basic install!).” A blogger from TechnologyTales.com made the switch to NetBeans after Eclipse stopped working with his Ubuntu 9.10 upgrade and said “things seemed to go smoothly and it looks to have replaced Eclipse for PHP development duties.” Finally, Quintin Beukes selected NetBeans for its Maven support and said while it doesn't have as large of a feature count as Eclipse, “the features it does have are far more complete and of much higher quality.”

OpenOffice
OpenOffice users had heaps of praise for the office productivity suite this week starting with Willow Sidhe who described OpenOffice as “the best free word processor out there.” She said: “I use it exclusively for word processing and I actually prefer the program to Microsoft Word.” Don Lindich said he has been using OpenOffice regularly and has “come to prefer it over the latest version of Microsoft Word,” and pointed out that the compatibility with Word is great. Finally, Kent Newsome reported that he was “pretty impressed” with OpenOffice, saying “I'm about ready to call OpenOffice a winner.”

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts continued to share tips and tricks with others this week, employing some inventive new methods in the process. Beryl Sims created a “visual installation tutorial” that walks step-by-step through the process of an OpenSolaris installation. A blogger at Linux Administration demonstrated how to setup an OpenSolaris client to work with a Linux OpenLDAP server while a blogger at Linux/UNIX succinctly described how to install a Flash player on OpenSolaris through Firefox. Finally, blogger Colin described how to overcome a bug that prevents the install of pkgs on OpenSolaris snv_127 through the Package Manager and command line.

Friday Nov 20, 2009

Japanese Online Map Provider Improves User Experience with Sun Technology


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.

Tuesday Nov 17, 2009

At a Glance: Recent VirtualBox, JavaFX and OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
This week there was a prolific amount of VirtualBox buzz to be found on the Web. Blogger Hardik Shah said VirtualBox “reigns supreme” over all virtualization options on the market stating that “everything is just CLASS EXTRAORDINARY.” A blogger from Fun with IT reported on the migration of a Windows XP virtual machine from VMware to VirtualBox and said it “worked even better than I expected,” noting that in VirtualBox “the VM just booted and ran like a champ!” Finally, a blogger from Bill's Security Blog discussed why he used VirtualBox in the setup of a safe environment to perform penetration testing, and also described how to set up and configure VirtualBox for internal networking only.

JavaFX
JavaFX continued to gain momentum this week as developers published new applications and explored new tools. Sten Anderson released a new version of his JavaFX-based music discovery application, Music Explorer FX, updating it to take advantage of “performance and stability improvements” in JavaFX 1.2. Sten reported that the new release “boasts notable performance improvements and some crazy caching techniques.” Blogger Drew from the JavaFX Journey tested blend modes in JavaFX and concluded that “blending can be powerful.” He also published an application that displays the effects of the various modes. Finally, Max Katz posted two tutorials this week, one in which he demonstrated how Exadel Flamingo allows a user to utilize Hibernate Validator-based validation in the JavaFX UI, while in the other he showed how to connect a Seam component from JavaFX to an enterprise back-end using Exadel Flamingo.

OpenSolaris
It was another hefty week of OpenSolaris tutorials, as more and more users blogged about their experiences with the OS. A blogger from toic.org reported that he has been using OpenSolaris for a while and said “I'm quite pleased with it to say the least,” posting an in-depth tutorial that demonstrates how to set up an OpenSolaris server, using ZFS and COMSTAR to create “a scalable, high-performance, low-budget storage server.” Meanwhile, a blogger from dfusion.com.au posted a step-by-step guide to mounting Solaris NVSv4 using Kerberos onto a Mac, which he reported he has been wanting to do because of Solaris ZFS which “is way superior to any other current filing system. Period.” Finally, OpenSolaris enthusiast Ewald Ertl demonstrated how to copy files to a remote Solaris server using Nautilus in OpenSolaris, which he likes because it “supports the navigation on remote systems with a lot of protocols.”

Thursday Nov 12, 2009

Sun Solutions Help Support 25% Monthly Growth at SoundCloud


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.

Tuesday Nov 10, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, JavaFX and OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
VirtualBox users posted dozens of tutorials full of praise this week to encourage and help others to try the free program. The blogger from Gophn.com said VirtualBox is “definitely the epitome of the phrase 'bang for the buck' … especially since it is free,” while also stating: “There is no beating this software's features, performance, compatibility, and probably support.” He posted two in-depth video tutorials to walk a new user through the installation and setup of this “must have program.” Blogger Alex Amiryan reported on his new install of Fedora 11 on VirtualBox saying everything “works just perfectly,” and shared a system startup service he wrote to power on some of the virtual machines in the background at startup. Finally, Jonathan Moeller demonstrated how to install VirtualBox in Ubuntu 9.10 from a terminal window saying, “as ease of installation goes, you can't beat that.”

JavaFX
Several JavaFX developers discussed and demonstrated features of the program in their blogs this week. Blogger Murat Yener described JavaFX as being similar to Flash and Flex but noted that with JavaFX “you have the control of the Flash counterpart of Stage and Timeline directly in the code.” He then demonstrated the functionality of Stage and Timeline in the process of developing an application. Elsewhere, blogger Muhammad Hakim shared his entry in the October JFXStudio challenge, detailing how he wrote the JavaFX app that calculates prayer time for Muslims based on location, and sharing the source code with others to experiment with.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts shared their tips and tricks this week through a plethora of tutorials. Aaron Gilbert from devtrends.com published a tutorial that demonstrated the step-by-step process of installing and enabling virtualization of xVM on OpenSolaris, which Aaron described as “robust.” Blogger Hiroshi Chonan described how to create an OpenSolaris Live USB stick on Windows with 'dd' utility in his blog, while a blogger from Creation of the Andz posted an in-depth guide to installing the OpenSolaris 2009.06 operating system. Elsewhere, new OpenSolaris adopters expressed their pleasure with the operating system. A blogger from Aello Puppet reported “everything is running without any error,” while a student new to OpenSolaris said he is “having fun playing” with the OS.

Monday Nov 09, 2009

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


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.

Thursday Oct 22, 2009

Tips & Tricks from OpenSolaris Enthusiasts

opensolaris

1. Setting up OpenSolaris Extras Repository for VirtualBox, True-Type Fonts, Flash & JavaFX SDK –- thushanfernando.com, 10/16
The blogger demonstrated how to install and configure the OpenSolaris Extras repository in this tutorial, specifically focusing on the repository for VirtualBox, true-type fonts, and the Flash and Java SDK.
OpenSolaris
2. [Level 2] File ACL... –- stanley-huang.blogspot.com, 10/15
Stanley Huang responded to a question asking how to copy/backup files with acl, noting that in OpenSolaris “there are several ways to do so,” which he demonstrated in this tutorial.

3. Drupal packages available in OpenSolaris Repositories – at last! –- wcmwire.com, 10/14
The blogger announced the availability of new IPS packages in the OpenSolaris “Contrib” repository, and described how to install them into OpenSolaris 2009.06 in this tutorial.

4. Add OpenSolaris Extras Repository from pkg.sun.com –- rachmatfebrianto.com, 10/13
Blogger Rachmat Febrianto gave instructions on how to access the OpenSolaris repository from pkg.sun.com, as well as how to “see” the available package from the extra repository in this tutorial.

5. [Level 2] How to share screen within 2 sessions -– stanley-huang.blogspot.com, 10/12
Blogger Stanley Huang gave a step-by-step breakdown of how to share screens with a vendor ssh in order to “monitor” the commands for the vendor keyins using OpenSolaris.

6. Expanding your OpenSolaris NAS –- irrationale.com, 10/11
The blogger followed up on his guide to setting up a Solaris NAS by demonstrating how to change out a failed disk, which he also said mimics changing out smaller disks for larger ones, as well as the addition of disks to the NAS pool.

7. Create tar.gz in OpenSolaris –- .rasyid.net, 10/11
The blogger demonstrated how to make a backup for a public_html directory in OpenSolaris using a tar.gz command.

Tuesday Oct 20, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's VirtualBox, OpenOffice, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews


VirtualBox
Positive VirtualBox buzz was bountiful this week in the blogosphere with a new VirtualBox user who commented “so far, VirtualBox is AMAZING in my testing process,” noting that it “opens up some amazing possibilities.” Another new VirtualBox user said, “I like VirtualBox so far, it appears to be a useful tool in the toolbox.” A blogger from Tech-Week described VirtualBox as “by far the best free virtualization program on in the Internet,” and gave a tutorial that described how to install and set up VirtualBox, something he noted “is fast and easy.” Finally, blogger Bob Jones reported on his new experience with VirtualBox saying, “I was extremely happy with what I got,” and posted his detailed installation steps on an Ubuntu host.

OpenOffice
There was a bounty of praise for OpenOffice this week starting with a blogger from Frugal in Virginia who said OpenOffice is “super easy to use,” and “allows you many of the same capabilities as Microsoft Office without the cost.” Ghacks.net's Jack Wallen recommended OpenOffice to Mac users as an alternative to iWork saying that although it may look different, “you will find it is just as easy to use AND it includes more features and applications than iWork.” Peter Wayner from Network World also recommended the office suite as an alternative to Microsoft Office noting that “the software reads all major document types.” Finally, a blogger from The eBook Agency called OpenOffice “the real deal,” and said of his experience “so far, OpenOffice is passing with flying colors.”

NetBeans
Praise for NetBeans was easy to find this week amongst the IDE's users. A blogger at Tech-how.com claimed with NetBeans “you get all the tools you need to create professional desktop, enterprise, web, and mobile applications,” for a variety of programming languages in an IDE that “is easy to install and use straight out of the box.” A blogger from JavaSign said NetBeans is “the best tool to configure your environment,” and demonstrated how to create dynamic libraries in NetBeans stating that “in 10 minutes spent you can do much more than before with the best GUI ever.” Finally, a blogger from Ruby for Scientific Research said “NetBeans is a great development platform,” and demonstrated how to write and run a jRuby script with a library file from NetBeans.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris and Solaris bloggers had plenty of commendations and user tips to share this week, starting with blogger Martin who reported that he regularly uses Solaris at work and recently uploaded OpenSolaris to use on his home system stating: “I always really enjoy OpenSolaris when I run it in a virtual machine under Linux.” Another blogger listed the top 10 reasons to try the Solaris 10 OS, noting that the constant innovation of the OS pays off for the user: “innovation matters, because it saves you money.” Finally, a blogger from Irrationale.com followed up on his recent OpenSolaris NAS guide with a tutorial demonstrating how to change out a failed disk, how to change out smaller disks for larger ones, and how to add disks to the NAS pool in OpenSolaris.

Monday Oct 19, 2009

City of San Antonio consolidates servers with Sun virtualization technology

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.

Friday Oct 09, 2009

At a Glance: Recent OpenOffice, VirtualBox, NetBeans and OpenSolaris Reviews


OpenOffice
New and experienced OpenOffice users wrote about the office suite this week with blogger Nikki reporting that she has “found it to be very user friendly,” saying “it is a great alternative for those who either don't have or cannot afford MS Office.” Another blogger focused his attention on OpenOffice Draw, calling it “a powerful graphics package,” and highlighting the connectors feature between shapes. And finally, long-time OpenOffice user Jack Wallen published a tutorial demonstrating how to install extensions in OpenOffice, with which he said “you can expand the capabilities of this outstanding office suite.”

VirtualBox
VirtualBox users were abuzz this week, posting dozens of reviews and tutorials for the popular program. One blogger posted a short introduction aimed at new VirtualBox users and said, “it's in my opinion the easiest to work with on all platforms and likely the easiest for the beginner,” when compared to other virtualization technologies. Another blogger reported that VirtualBox saved the day by giving her the ability to read .vhd files natively, “without any conversion hoops to jump through,” after setting up Windows with a Cisco VPN running on Linux in VirtualBox. Finally, a blogger excited to have access to Magicjack exclaimed: “Hooray for VirtualBox! I can have my Linux and Windows too!”

NetBeans
NetBeans bloggers had commendations for different features of the IDE this week, with a blogger from Edmonds Commerce Blog working on a project with heavy Javascript requirements reporting that “the excellent jQuery support in NetBeans (my IDE of choice) is making this a real pleasure to work with.” Adam Bien wrote about kenai.com this week and said: “The integrations with the NetBeans IDE is unique – it is very easy and convenient to find and check-out an existing project and nicely integrated chat.” Other NetBeans users focused on helping others, with a blogger from totalprogUS describing how to create your own shortcuts with the NetBeans macro and a blogger from XLAB tech discussing how to access classes and resources from multiple modules in the NetBeans classloader system.

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris enthusiasts shared praise and tips for the operating system this week with a blogger from IT knowledge Indy applauding the OS saying it “is perpetually ahead of the curve in the computer world,” and that it demonstrates Sun's “ability to be innovative and flexible.” Regular OpenSolaris aficionado Stanley Huang described how to decompress rar files in OpenSolaris on his blog this week. And finally, a blogger reported on his successful installation of the 2009.06 release on a “still powerful” Sun V40Z, and gave tips for anyone else looking to install the latest release on an older system.


Thursday Oct 08, 2009

Now available: Solaris 10 10/09 Operating System


Today we announced the availability of the Solaris 10 10/09 Operating System. In this update, Solaris 10 has been extended with new performance and power efficiency enhancements, more streamlined management of system installations, updates and fixes, new updates for ZFS and advancements to further leverage the functionality of the latest SPARC(R) and x86 based systems.

I talked with Larry Wake, Group Marketing Manager, Solaris Software, about what is new and exciting in this Solaris 10 10/09 update. Listen to the short podcast for the details.


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