Friday Jan 22, 2010

Moshi Monsters Running Wild with Sun Technology


Mind Candy, launched in 2004, is a leading developer of multi-player games targeted at the rapidly expanding social online games market. Its main product, Moshi Monsters, is its biggest hit to date and is enjoying exponential growth with over 10 million players worldwide, and more than one million new players subscribing each month. The game relies heavily on an IT platform managed by Mind Candy, and became the focus of the company’s attention in 2009, when the number of players was set to top 4 million.
Sun Customer Mind Candy
(Image courtesy: Mind Candy)
At that point, Mind Candy realized it needed to make changes to its IT infrastructure. The Moshi Monsters infrastructure is based on the Java Platform, Standard Edition 6 running Debian GNU/Linux. It includes Apache Tomcat Web application servers, memcached and PostgreSQL databases as well as open source frameworks such as Spring and Hibernate. Prior to the upgrade, Mind Candy already had Sun Fire X2100 servers acting as load balancers, and chose to make the use of Intel’s new “Nehalem” Xeon processors a key criterion for the update.

Working with Sun as a member of the Sun Startup Essentials program, Mind Candy finalized the infrastructure expansion design based on two of Sun’s newest Xeon-processor based servers, the Sun Fire X4170 servers for applications working alongside a Sun Fire X4270 server for one of the platform’s main databases. The new Sun solutions were installed in just a couple of days, and deployed alongside the existing equipment. The Sun Fire X4170 servers gave Mind Candy significantly higher I/O speeds, along with multithreading technology for greater performance and power management. The Sun Fire X4270 server provided more than four times the processing performance and memory, and doubled the number of disk drive bays to 16.

Since the full solution went live in July 2009, Toby Moore, Chief Technology Officer at Mind Candy said the performance and scalability of the new platform has fully justified the company’s investment. He stated: “The platform is incredibly fast. Before, the CPU utilization rate for our database servers was about 70%, but now it’s dropped to 15%. The speed of our Tomcat Web application servers has doubled, and the amount of RAM on our servers has quadrupled.” In addition to the increased speed, the Sun platform consumes relatively low amounts of energy, and still has plenty of headroom for expansion. The company is now looking to focus on storage and has plans to deploy a Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System in the near future.

Check out the complete details and a podcast here.

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.

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.

Wednesday Sep 09, 2009

TweetMeme Manages 85% Monthly Growth with MySQL Enterprise and Sun Startup Essentials Program


TweetMeme is a social media company that is quickly becoming one of the most popular Web 2.0 sites in the world. TweetMeme uses custom-made software to count the number of links posted on Twitter, which it then organizes into categories on its Web site so visitors to the site can easily find stories that interest them. Visitors can also cast their own votes by “retweeting” a story through their own Twitter account, which in turn increases a story's popularity.

Sun Customer TweetMeme
(Image courtesy: TweetMeme)
TweetMeme has experienced tremendous growth in recent months, experiencing 85% month-on-month growth in unique visitors and serving more than 1.6 billion retweet buttons each month.. TweetMeme uses open-source software, running the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, Apache HTTP server software, and MySQL database. TweetMeme has worked closely with Sun since its launch earlier this year, taking advantage of the Sun Startup Essentials program for support, discounts on hardware, and specialist advice.

TweetMeme has focused on maximizing uptime because, as founder Nick Halstead noted, “Downtime has the potential to break a social media business.” Sun Startup Essentials has helped TweetMeme keep pace with the fast-moving social media industry by migrating TweetMeme to MySQL Enterprise, deployed on a mixture of 10 Sun Fire X4440 and Sun Fire X4150 servers. The MySQL Enterprise subscription includes expert technical support for the database and advanced database monitoring tools, which enable TweetMeme to optimize performance and maximize uptime.

The new hardware is delivering impressive results and helping to reduce IT costs through simpler maintenance and reduced power consumption, while offering outstanding availability and utilization. TweetMeme continues to expand rapidly, with the site analyzing, categorizing, and indexing more than 50,000 links per hour, while handling 600 million retweets per month. With its new solution, TweetMeme can grow without worry, thanks to the MySQL Enterprise database, that will scale to meet any level of exponential growth in the future. Halstead recognizes this significant advantage and noted: “Things move so quickly in this industry that you can't afford any distractions. But thanks to Sun, we can now focus on strategy rather than on technology.”

Check out the complete details, including a podcast, here.

Thursday Feb 08, 2007

A great Sun win !!!


Some of you might remember about a not-so-great T1000 review by the "CEO and Chief Geek" Don MacAskill of the high profile start-up SmugMug. We followed up with SmugMug immediately after the review was published. After lots of sweat and hard work for more than 6 months, we have finally won their hearts (and money)!  SmugMug did a complete evaluation of vendors including Sun, HP, Dell, IBM and Rackable, and yesterday Don announced Sun as the "winner" of his business.

Another day, another great customer win. :-)
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