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.

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.

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.

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.

Friday Oct 23, 2009

Sun Unified Storage Helps Elanders Reduce Costs and Increase Performance


Elanders is a global publishing company based in Gothenburg, Sweden that packages and distributes information in a variety of formats to include manuals, brochures, and magazines, as well as online content and multimedia for international brands such as IKEA, Nokia, and Volvo. Elanders archives these documents and images on its systems at its main office, and at two remote sites for up to ten years following publication. Until recently, Elanders used technology from EMC for day-to-day storage, archiving, and back up, but this technology was quickly approaching the end of its lifecycle.
Sun Customer Elanders
Sun Customer Elanders
Elanders needed to decide between upgrading the existing system or selecting a new approach. In addition to adding storage capacity, Elanders was also looking to improve performance, reduce the burden of administration, and cut overall costs. Elanders selected a system provided by Sun partner Konsulthuset MMI, because of the highly scalable solution it proposed along with the support provided by Sun.

Konsulthuset MMI set Elanders up with the new open-technology based Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System, because of its cost-efficient industry standard components as well as a robust software stack built from OpenSolaris TM and running Solaris ZFS. Elanders deployed a 66TB Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System at the Gothenburg datacenter, with additional systems at the two remote offices, handling 23 TB each. The new solution can easily be scaled to accommodate up to 576 TB of information, and is able to quickly and easily add capacity in increments.

With its new solution in place, Elanders is not only free of licensing fees for protocols and data services, but is also reducing costs by lowering power consumption and cooling requirements, consuming up to 500% less power than with its previous solution. Magnus Befwe, Manager of IT Operations and Infrastructure at Elanders said: “We were really impressed by the commitment of Sun and Konsulthuset MMI. The technology that they recommended offers us advantages on so many levels, from greater simplicity and reduced energy consumption to reducing the costs associated with storage data services licensing.”

Check out the complete details here.

Tuesday Oct 06, 2009

Spanish Postal Service Reduces TCO for Email Storage Platform by 40% with Sun Solution


Sociedad Estatal Correos y Telégrafos, S.A., also known as Correos, has been providing postal services across Spain for more than 300 years. However, because of the recent steady decline in traditional postal services usage, Correos realized it needed to create a business proposition that would appeal to citizens and businesses alike. Correos ultimately found a way to add value to Internet-based communications and began working to create a highly secure e-mail service that includes data encryption and time stamps, so users could receive certification that a message had arrived at its destination.
Sun Customer Correos
(Image courtesy: Correos)
Correos needed to provide up to 140,000 mailboxes for citizens and businesses to send e-mail and attachments to government offices. The technology behind the new “Electronic Post Box” service Apartado Postal Electrónico (APE), had to be reliable and scalable enough to handle new offerings in addition to being expertly managed to maximize performance. Correos looked at several IT solution providers but ultimately selected Sun because it was able to guarantee the reliability of the e-mail service.

With the support of Sun Professional Services, Correos developed and implemented a fully redundant data storage and backup platform. A Sun Fire T2000 and a Sun Fire T1000 server, both featuring UltraSPARC T1 processor technology and running the Solaris 10 Operating System, work as load balancers on the front end. Sun Fire V490 and Sun Fire V890 servers, running backup software, sit at the back end of the platform. Two Sun StorageTek 6540 arrays store e-mail data, which is archived onto a Sun StorageTek SL500 modular library system. Finally, to maximize availability, Sun Professional Services deployed Solaris Cluster software to protect the integrity of the application data and services across the cluster's nodes.

Today, APE is delivering a secure and reliable e-mail service to citizens, companies, and government offices throughout Spain. With the Sun-based storage infrastructure, Correos is providing 5 MB worth of storage for its 140,000 mailboxes. Correos also has peace of mind knowing that the infrastructure is protected by a Sun Spectrum Platinum support plan and storage and backup systems are being well maintained by Sun Remote Operations Management. José Marcelino Pérez, e-business manager at Correos says: “APE and Sun technology are helping Correos meet the challenges of a transition from paper correspondence to Internet-based communication.”

Check out the complete details here.

Wednesday Sep 02, 2009

Public Utility Delivers Innovative Voice, Data, and Cable Services to 3,500 Customers with Sun Technologies

customer

In 2004, the cities of Monmouth and Independence, Oregon founded Monmouth Independence Network, or MINET, to deliver high-speed Internet, cable, and VoIP phone services to area businesses and residences, who were not scheduled to receive broadband services until 2015 or later. By the end of 2007, MINET needed to expand its IT architecture to support its growing customer base, and was also looking to offer additional services on its underutilized network bandwidth to increase revenue.
Sun Customer MINET
(Image courtesy: MINET)
Already a user of Sun technologies, MINET chose to expand its infrastructure with Sun hardware and software, and implemented the new solution in just 10 weeks. Three Sun Fire X4150 servers now handle the virtual PBX capabilities and run the Mitel Unified IP Client for Sun Ray Software. Virtual desktops, managed by Sun Secure Global Desktop Software, run on virtual servers set up with Solaris Containers or LDoms. All the virtual environments exist on a mix of 24 Sun Blade X6250 Server Modules and Sun Blade T6320 Server Modules, which are housed in a Sun Blade 6048 Chassis.

All of the company's services rely on a multi-tiered Open Storage solution. A Sun SPARC Enterprise T5240 server uses CMT to simultaneously process storage requests, and one Sun StorageTek 6540 array serves as a redundant controller. Data that is regularly accessed by services is stored on one Sun Fire X4540 server, while data that is not often accessed resides on two Sun Storage J4500 arrays. Solaris ZFS gives IT personnel the ability to manage and change the various storage components in a single pool without affecting availability.

The solution was fully deployed in April 2008 with the new architecture providing 99.99% availability or higher. Additionally, the virtual environments, Sun blade server modules, Solaris ZFS, and Open Storage solution have simplified the provisioning and modification of customer services and helped fuel a 10% growth in customers each month. The solution's small footprint and energy requirements have also helped MINET save 25% annually on power, cooling, and space requirements. Phil Garrett, General Manager of MINET said: “Our large power and cooling savings translates into more than just money savings, it also gives us more space that we can use to sell more services and generate additional revenue.”

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

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.

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.

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