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 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.

Saturday May 09, 2009

The Storage Architect's Amber Road Review -- Part II


Amber Road

Hybrid Storage Pool Model for Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System Family

In his continuing series, Chris Evans of The Storage Architect blog took another in-depth look at the Amber Road platform. In this post, he turned his sights on the disk components of the hardware, specifically looking at the use of flash (SSD) drives and ZFS to produce a commodity storage device.

Chris began with a primer on ZFS, sharing the basic concepts and bringing the filesystem features to life and what they bring to the Amber Road platform. He also provided an overview of the Unified Storage System's cache architecture, noting the adaptive replacement cache and the ZFS intent log, and the fault tolerance and performance these features offer the 7000 series.

Chris picked up the core difference between Amber Road and traditional storage devices. "In a typical general storage array there will be LUNs presented to hosts which are very active, some moderately active and some totally inactive." He noted that Amber Road provides and alternative to the traditional "Long Tail" model, highlighting "fronting disk access with SSD ensures that high performance is dynamically provided to LUNs as it is needed."

Overall, Chris is positive about the architectural choices made for Amber Road and was unable to find fault via his evaluation. "I can say that in the testing I performed, the array coped easily with the workload I threw at it," he stated.

Chris' next post will be an in-depth look at the analytics provided by Amber Road and how it allows detailed device reporting.

Thursday May 07, 2009

Network World's Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System Review


Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System Series
Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System

Network World's Logan Harbaugh tested the Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System, giving it a rating of 3.75 out of 5.0. In his review, Logan focused his evaluation on the system's architecture, performance and business analytics, and noted that the unit "is certainly a high-performance offering."

Logan highlighted the test system's configurations (noting the read- and write-enabled SSDs, Quad-core Opteron-based 7410 controllers, SATA drives and J4400 drive shelves) leading to a discussion of the 7410's clustering capabilities.

The reviewer next turned his focus to the 7410's performance. He employed IOmeter, configured with four sets of application-based workloads to simulate storage traffic. Logan noted, "Performance of the single controller system, as far as our limited test bed could verify, was excellent."

Logan also took a look at management and reporting capabilities. He commented, "the business analytics section of the GUI-based admin interface contains very useful monitoring tools, with the ability to drill down to specific interfaces, network or storage protocols."

He went on to describe that reports are available in a very wide variety of formats, with many variations. Further, he noted that reports are available for disk IO, overall storage utilization, and historical data is available and the amount of storage used for logging can be adjusted to keep data for longer or shorter periods of time.

Logan concluded, that the system is "clearly positioned - in terms of price, feature set and performance capacity - to go toe-to-toe with big systems from NetApp and EMC that are designed to support dozens of connected servers simultaneously." And regarding performance, Logan reiterated that "while we could not push the box to its capacity, we were impressed by what it could handle in our test environment."

The full review is here.

Wednesday Apr 29, 2009

The Storage Architect's take on Amber Road


Amber Road
Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System

Chris Evans of "The Storage Architect" blog posted part one in a series of reviews of the Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System, saying, "Over the last month, I've been reviewing the 7210 array (the mid-range offering) and as an early product release, I can say I like it."

Chris framed the review against the increasing trend of centralized storage in the datacenter, and said the most unique part of the system is Sun's use of "solid state to drive performance out of the commodity SATA drives in the array."

As part of an introduction to the product line, Chris discussed the use of highly scalable storage solutions built on commodity hardware and open software components. Compared to other vendors, Chris noted that Sun is "taking the approach of offering all current and future software features as part of the standard hardware cost. This extends to the lifetime of the technology, so as new software features are made available in future releases, the customer can simply upgrade the USS and take advantage of them at no extra cost."

Overall the reviewer was quite positive about the Sun Storage 7210, noting that Sun has differentiated its offering from other "server as a storage array" solutions. "From a hardware perspective, what's more interesting is the use of solid state to drive performance out of the commodity SATA drives in the array," he stated.

Chris concluded by noting in his next post, he'll be examining ZFS in more depth.

I am eagerly looking forward to the rest of the series...

Sunday Apr 19, 2009

EasySpeedy Deploys Amber Road for Cost-Effective Growth


EasySpeedy, a Danish hosting company, wanted to offer a data storage service that scaled quickly across multiple protocols. Their goal was to offer customers a flexible solution, which is inexpensive to manage and easily meets growing demand.

After evaluating several alternatives, the company selected Sun Open Storage featuring Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System and Sun Storage J4400 array as their solution.
EasySpeedy

Logo Courtesy: EasySpeedy
Peter Lerche, CEO at EasySpeedy, noted, "Sun Open Storage was a perfect fit for our open concept at the heart of EasySpeedy, where the customer has the power. With Open Storage, we are not locked into one product line and proprietary protocols. Sun gives us the ability to build the architecture that suits our needs. With Open Storage we have freedom, rather than being bound hand and foot."

He added: "Thanks to Sun Open Storage, EasySpeedy can cost-effectively scale data storage on demand to meet the needs of customers. What is more, the platform helps minimize power consumption and makes day-to-day management simple."

Check out the complete details here.

Thursday Apr 16, 2009

Amber Road receives "Editors Choice" award in IT Pro review


Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System Series
Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System

IT Pro's Dave Mitchell reviewed the Sun Storage 7410 and gave the unit 5 out of 6 stars and as well as an Editor's Choice award. Dave stated, "Sun delivers a unique network storage solution with more standard features than the rest and no hidden charges."

The reviewer examined installation, configuration and noted some observations about the quad-core 2300 Opteron architecture, "this server is quite unique as it can accept an extra mezzanine tray with two more Opteron sockets making it the only 2U quad-socket AMD server on the market."

Further, Dave discussed the file system, protocol support for shares and performance. "We found real world speeds particularly good as copying a 2.52GB video clip to and from an iSCSI target returned read and write speeds of 89MB/sec and 72MB/sec. Using the FileZilla client showed FTP speeds to be even faster with it reporting impressive read and write rates of 103MB/sec and 92MB/sec. CIFS usually puts the brakes on speed but even here we saw file copies returning rates of 66MB/sec and 59MB/sec," he noted.

Overall, Dave stated, "Add up the standard features on the Sun Storage 7410 plus its hardware specification and it looks good value - especially when compared with much of the competition at this level of the market. Furthermore, along with NAS and IP SAN support, it offers a massive expansion potential and good performance across a range of protocols."

Wednesday Feb 11, 2009

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


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

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

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

(Image Courtesy: Network World)

Sunday Apr 20, 2008

Interesting Sun product reviews...


1. MySQL backups using ZFS snapshot -- O'Reilly Databases, 4/11
Paddy Sreenivasan posted on how to install, configure, backup and restore MySQL databases using Zmanda Recovery Manager (ZRM) for MySQL on Open Solaris. He used ZFS snapshots to do full backups.
MySQL

2. Setting Queue Depth for Sun StorEdge 9900 Series Storage -- Storage World @ Cyberjaya, 4/11
Amzi Yahaya blogged about setting queue depth for the Sun StorEdge 9900 series storage arrays. While the array can accommodate up to 1024 queued commands per fiber port, and up to 32 queued commands per Logical Unit Number (LUN), Amzi pointed out that the default settings for Solaris permit the queue depths to be exceeded, which may result in poor performance. He then went on to detail ways in which to configure the system to prevent queue overruns.

3. Found a new OpenSource VM software - VirtualBox -- SolidMode, 4/15
Kevin Wei wrote a post itemizing the various features of VirtualBox including its modular design, the guest addition for Windows and Linux and the Virtual USB Controller, among others.

4. Vista sp1 installed in Virtualbox on Ubuntu -- Works, ha ha, 4/14
Cross Zheng explained how to resolve the issue that Windows Vista does not have the network driver required by VirtualBox.

5. VMWare vs VirtualPC vs VirtualBox -- John Mee, 4/14
John Mee blogged that he tried VirtualBox when he heard that it can handle arbitrary screen sizes. He then listed the pros and cons of VMWare Player, Virtual PC 6.0 and VirtualBox, noting that although VirtualBox has an attractive GUI, is portable and has a useful snapshot feature, it has poor community support.

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