Sunday May 31, 2009

Sun News -- The Week in Review


Weekly Sun News recap from me and Maijaliisa is now available. This week we highlight the upcoming JavaOne and CommunityOne conferences, and take a look at the Sun Storage 7310 system, the newest member of the Amber Road family. Listen to the short segment below to get all the details.


Thursday May 21, 2009

Bank Cuts Costs and Manages Growth with Sun Solution


LBBW Luxemburg, a subsidiary of the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg bank headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, was recently on the hunt for a more efficient way to cut costs while still supporting growth. The bank prepared a list of the necessary tools to accomplish this cost-cutting goal, which included migrating to a new banking application called Avalog in addition to moving to a single IT supplier with cost-effective solutions. Sun Customer LBBW Luxemburg
After assessing a number of different options, the LBBW Luxemburg decided to standardize the Avalog server platform on Sun hardware and software. Sun Professional Services designed a scalable infrastructure based on four Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000 servers featuring eight dual-core SPARC64 VI processors and running the Solaris 10 OS and Solaris Cluster 3.2 software. The design also featured Sun SPARC Enterprise T5120 servers with Solaris Cluster acting as a data transfer component. The Sun StorageTek 6140 array also enhanced LBBW Luxemburg's existing backup infrastructure by extending the staging unit.

After a successful pilot, LBBW Luxemburg launched a full implementation that has resulted in an elimination of proprietary software licenses as well as a 60% greater performance of the SPARC Enterprise M5000 servers compared to the previous server setup. The Sun solutions are also cutting IT expenses by consolidating from three server racks to one, saving space and reducing cooling costs. Jean-Luc Raskin, Head of the IT Infrastructure Unit, LBBW Luxemburg notes “Sun has helped LBBW Luxemburg meet its IT Objectives...a climate of trust has been established, and we feel this is a real partnership.”

LBBW Luxemburg is ensuring continued high performance with SunSpectrum Gold Support. The new setup has set up an efficient, scalable, and cost-effective solution that LBBW Luxemburg can rely on in the future. Raskin notes “we have built a very flexible architecture that will be able to meet our IT needs for years to come.”

Check out the complete details here.

Sunday May 17, 2009

Sun News -- The Week in Review


Weekly Sun News recap from me and Maijaliisa is now available. Listen to the short segment below to get all the highlights.




Friday May 15, 2009

hi5 slashes storage costs and scales for growth with Sun solution


hi5 Networks, based in San Francisco, California, is one of the world's largest social networks with more than 80 million registered users in 200 countries. In fact, hi5 earned the distinction of being the fastest growing social network in the world when it doubled its user base in 2008, growing from 28 million to more than 56 million and counting.

The explosive growth rate proved to be a challenge, particularly because hi5 manages so much data – about 400TB and growing. To continue providing the best service to its users, hi5 needed to ensure its systems were highly available and reliable, and at the end of 2008, hi5 realized that it urgently needed to expand its storage capacity to keep up with its rapid growth.
Sun Customer hi5 Networks
(Logo courtesy: hi5 Networks)
hi5 chose the hybrid Sun Fire X4540 server in conjunction with the Solaris 10 Operating System as its system solution. The Sun Fire X4540 is a product known for its ability to run high-bandwidth applications while providing speedy access to storage and unparalleled storage density in a 4U rack space. hi5 is so pleased with the performance of the Sun Fire X4540 servers, that it plans to purchase 10 more.

hi5 said when it came to evaluating price for performance, there was no better solution than Sun. Dan Peterson, vice president of technical operations at hi5 notes that there is no licensing fee and says “Before it was costing us about $5,000 per terabyte to store data versus about $750 per terabyte now.” Peterson also appreciates the ability to now keep a tight reign on his budget by purchasing Sun storage in 48TB chunks rather than having to buy huge storage systems at four of five times the price.

Check out the complete details here.

Sunday May 10, 2009

Sun News -- The Week in Review


Weekly Sun News recap from me and Maijaliisa is now available. Listen to the short segment below to get all the highlights.


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.

Friday May 01, 2009

Sun Delivers Performance Boost to University of Central Florida


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

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

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

Check out the complete details here.

Wednesday Apr 29, 2009

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 Mar 18, 2009

Sun Cloud Announcement -- Juan Carlos Soto Interview


Today at CommunityOne East conference, we are announcing Sun Open Cloud Platform -- our open cloud computing infrastructure -- powered by OpenSolaris, MySQL, Open Storage and Java.

I sat down with Juan Carlos Soto, VP of Marketing, Cloud Computing Business Unit at Sun, to discuss the announcement. Listen to Juan giving you the nuggets of the announcement...

In addition to the overall strategy and roadmap, Juan talks about the open APIs for Sun's public cloud service, partner initiatives for Sun's public cloud service and how you can participate in the Sun Cloud technology preview programs.


Juan Carlos Soto
Juan Carlos Soto

Monday Mar 02, 2009

ILM Informatique on Amber Road: "We recommend it"


Amber Road Analytics
Real-time analysis screenshot of the Amber Road storage system

The folks at ILM Informatique has published a very detailed review of the Sun Storage 7110 Unified Storage System. This Amber Road review is available in English here, and in French here.

After providing the specific of the unit they received, ILM Informatique goes over the installation, functionalities, performance as well as additional functionalities they would like to see.

Their final conclusion:

"The Sun Storage 7110 server we tested made the brilliant demonstration of its velocity and was easy to configure. Solaris and its ZFS filesystem using the full power of the hardware. At $10,995, you will not regret your investment. It will be very difficult to find the bottleneck of the server moreover it will keep your files safe.

We recommend this model for a group of 20 to 200 users."

Thursday Feb 19, 2009

Stellar InfoWorld Review of Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System (Amber Road)


Amber Road Analytics
Real-time analysis screenshot of the Amber Road storage system

Infoworld's Paul Venezia reviewed the Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System (Amber Road) and accompanying FISHworks management platform, rating it a stellar 9.2 out of 10 and noting, "The Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage System's combination of 48 drives, SSD log storage, broad protocol support, ZFS, and amazing GUI make for one great filer."

Paul took a comprehensive look at the unit's management features, including its real-time monitoring and analytics capabilities. After only a few minutes of use with FISHworks he noted, "I was smitten. It's very attractive and very accessible. In fact, it may be the most complete filer interface I've ever seen, blowing the doors off Network Appliance's Web-based manager." Paul drilled down into the GUI, highlighting its instant feedback on load and throughput as well as the worksheets ability to provide easy at-a-glance status reports.

Turning his attention to the hardware, Paul configured a storage pool and tested performance via a number of access protocols. For NFS access via Linux, he highlighted that creation of a 10GB file performed at near wire-rate over a gigabit NIC. Paul also noted the solid performance of sequential reads and writes to NFS3, NFS4, iSCSI and CIFS, calling out the 55 to 60MBps throughput while under load. "Again, this is very close to wire-rate speeds," he stated.

Overall, Paul was very positive about his experience with the 7210 concluding, "The market for multilingual filers has plenty of players, from NetApp to Adaptec, but in terms of bang for the buck, Sun's 7210 is in rare territory. Regardless of price, son of Thumper is a uniquely complete representation of what a filer should be."

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)
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