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.

Wednesday Apr 29, 2009

Sun Fire X2270 Server Review in IT Pro

Sun Fire X2270 Server

IT Pro's Dave Mitchell reviewed the Sun Fire X2270, the new Intel Xeon 5500 processor based server, giving it a four out of six star rating and noting Sun's support for the processor ahead of HP and IBM. Dave said, "Sun's new 1U rack server delivers a good specification for the price, which includes Intel's latest Xeon 5500 processors and a good helping of DDR3 memory."

Dave noted that the "X2270 targets a wide range of applications and projects such as HPC and web services," as well as "some other interesting storage possibilities for this server as the embedded ICH10R controller provides six SATA channels."

The secure web interface and remote server management were highlighted as positive features in the review, with Dave saying the interface was "easy to use and opens with a status report on all critical components and their status," and the remote management was called "up with the best as the X2270 comes with Sun's embedded ILOM (integrated lights out management)."

In conclusion, Dave's review was positive for overall value and it highlighted X2270 as a strong product offering ahead of HP and IBM.

Wednesday Apr 01, 2009

Sun Fire X4440 Server Gets PC Pro's Recommendation

Sun Fire X4440 Server
Sun Fire X4440 Server
As a follow up to his X4140 review last month, PC Pro's Dave Mitchell tested the larger X4440, similarly rating the unit 5 out of 6 stars and bestowing it the publications "Recommended" rating. Overall he stated, "The one and only 2U quad Opteron 8300 server on the market delivers a superb blend of features and value that's more than a match for the competition."

Dave provided a comprehensive look at the 2U Opteron-based system, with an emphasis on price, features, and architecture. "As we found with the X4140, Sun seems to offer that little bit more than everyone else. It matches the competition on storage and expansion potential, but steps out for network connections as the motherboard has four embedded Gigabit ports up for grabs," he noted.

Overall Dave is quite positive about the X4440 and concluded, "With the X4440, Sun has achieved the remarkable feat of squeezing four Opteron 8300 sockets into a low profile 2U chassis - something no other vendor has achieved. Even better is the fact that this is not at the cost of storage capacity, expansion potential or general features, as this server is more than a match for the larger 8300 equipped systems from Dell, HP and IBM."

Wednesday Mar 04, 2009

PC Pro recommends Sun Fire X4140 Server in March 09 issue review

PC Pro's Dave Mitchell took a look at the Sun Fire X4140 server, giving the unit the publication's "Recommended" rating and five out of six stars.

Overall, Dave is very positive about the server noting, "The Sun Fire X4140 is one classy 1U rack server that has more of everything than the competition and is very competitively priced."

The reviewer noted that the X4140 is "big on performance," highlighting the unit's storage subsystem and quad-core Opetrons. He also commented, "the X4140 seems to have more of everything," noting the systems power supplies, PCI-e slots and embedded Gigabit ports.

While not a comparative review, Dave makes frequent remarks about how the X4140 stacks up against similar offerings from Dell and HP. "The X4140 packs so much more into its chassis than the rest, it's extremely well built and designed and easily matches HP's ProLiant DL365 G5 on price," he concludes.
Sun Fire X4140 Server

Friday Jan 16, 2009

Sun wins TWO InfoWorld 2009 Technology of the Year Awards

InfoWorld has posted their annual Technology of The Year awards. We have been declared winners in TWO categories.

Sun Fire X4150 server has been selected as the "Best 1U Server." Author Doug Dineley noted that the server provided great performance for its price, "stuffing 2U of capabilities into the thinner form factor."

Sun StorageTek 5800 (aka Honeycomb) took home the honors of "Best Fixed Content Storage Archiving Solution." It earned the honor because it's "a storage solution that's harder to kill than Steven Seagal."
InfoWorld 2009 Technology of the Year Award
The original InfoWorld review of X4150 is here and that of Honeycomb is here.

CONGRATULATIONS to the teams!!!

Friday Oct 03, 2008

Computerworld praises Sun Fire X4150 server's flexibility for data center buyers

In a second review of the Sun Fire X4150 Server, MC Brown discusses its "sweet spot" for current buyers.

MC traces how purchases evolved from small add-on servers, to massive server infrastructure, and now to efficient uses of hardware through consolidation. With this in mind, MC said, "Whether the X4150 hits the sweet spot depends on your point of view, but I'm finding it really hard not to justify a machine with this flexibility to anybody who wants a decent machine."

Regarding specific features, MC complimented the X4150 by saying, "At 1U high you could fit a lot of computing power into a cabinet. With two quad-core Xeons there's plenty of CPU power, and 64GB of RAM gives you plenty of memory to play with. The 8 SAS drives are also enough for you to have a system disk, and a 5 or 6 disk RAID configuration of your choice with one or two hot spares."

MC noted that with this "wealth of potential" in options, he tried several different configurations, but his favorite was using the X4150 as a consolidation box.

Overall, MC concluded that the X4150 provides a high level of flexibility, specifically noting, "flexibility like that in the modern datacenter is a must." Using the server's variety of options, "you can choose a variety of configurations to suit your needs, and if you decide to change your mind, you can do so without changing your hardware, just redeploy it."
Sun Fire X4150 Server

Thursday Sep 25, 2008

Sun helps FAA bringing its air traffic systems into the 21st century

How many times have you had your meticulously planned travel itinerary go astray because of a system "glitch"? I can remember quite a few times during the past year alone... :-(

That's going to change!!! Yeay!!!

Well, at least for the glitches that are attributed to FAA. They have upgraded their legacy internal business systems to a new open-systems server and storage infrastructure from us.

Our OpenSolaris/ZFS/Sun Fire server/Thumper storage solutions, which feature built-in, state-of-the-art virtualization capability, is the key building block for the new infrastructure at FAA. And ZFS is playing a major role in their data centers.

ZFS won InfoWorld's BOSSIE award in 2007
ZFS won InfoWorld's BOSSIE award as the best open source storage platform
"The FAA uses a large quantity of Sun Solaris servers in a variety of configurations to support some of our noncritical business applications," Andy Isaksen, manager of the Communications Infrastructure Engineering Team for NADIN and architect of the original mainframe system, said. "ZFS is being used on at least one service within the Air Traffic Organization Enterprise Data Center."

Check out all the details in this eWEEK article.

Monday Sep 08, 2008

ZDNet Australia's big thumbs-up for X4450 server

ZDNet Australia's Michael Palamountain reviewed Sun Fire X4450 server and said, "for raw power Sun Microsystems' Sun Fire X4450 is the gutsiest server we've seen."

The server tested well for cooling fans and energy consumption, as well as software and application suites. The server was loaded with Solaris 10 OS and Michael found navigation straight-forward and logical.

For the application suite, Michael called the pre-loaded options a "veritable roll-call of major open source applications (for which Sun has often had major developmental input)."

Michael commented that the equivalent products from competitors, such as the IBM x3850 and a Dell R900, "are both 4 RU machines (the Sun Fire is just 2 RU in size), yet Sun manages to pack just as much inside the case."

Conclusion from the review: The benchmark results for the Sun Fire X4450 are "the best we have seen in high-end servers -- particularly the Sungard score -- although we cannot claim to have tested such a machine with specs quite like this before."

So check one out for yourself...
Sun Fire X4450 Server

Wednesday Aug 20, 2008

Positive ComputerWorld review of Sun Fire X4150 server

In an ongoing evaluation, Martin MC Brown of ComputerWorld wrote about some comparative performance testing he has completed on Sun Fire X4150 server.

MC is quite enamored with the X4150, "The box is very powerful for what is a single U high pizza box. The eight cores and potential for up to 64GB of RAM make this a small powerhouse of computing, even before you include the storage that you could fit into the same space."

In his testing, MC ran a series of web applications with the goal of creating real-world performance examples. For comparisons sake, he put the X4150 up against a T1000. "What I was really looking to compare was the power usage of the box between the T1000, which is a low power, low-MHz, but many threaded box against the multiple cores of the X4150 in terms of the response times and performance," noted MC.

MC also examined the differences in performance between ZFS (RAID-Z) and RAID-5 finding, "RAID-5 showed a small benefit in favor of the hardware, but by less than 5% in real terms. This is impressive, both for the hardware, and the efficacy of RAID-5."

Overall, MC found that the difference in performance of the X4150 is evident. He is still tallying up the results, but promises to cover other aspects of the X4150 in upcoming posts later this week.
Sun Fire X4150 server

Wednesday Jun 11, 2008

Customer of the week: Sun Direct TV Private Limited

Sun Direct TV Private Limited is part of the SunTV Network, India's second-largest television network. They needed an efficient billing and management system with high reliability and scalability for its new satellite TV network.
Sun Customer -- Sun Direct TV Private Limited
The company considered solutions from IBM, HP, and Sun Microsystems. Our solution was the best, and they chose Sun over competition.

"The performance, scalability, availability, and productivity of the Sun Microsystems solution gives us a foundation that we can use for years to come, and we expect considerable savings on hardware and energy costs," said Tony D'Silva, Chief Operating Officer, Sun Direct TV.

The solution was a Sun server platform that includes a server cluster based on our high-end servers, mid-range servers, and storage. Working with Sun partner, Siemens, the Sun team successfully integrated the company's Oracle Communications Billing and Revenue Management (ORBM) application and its SAP software to deliver an end-to-end solution.

Check out the details here.

Wednesday May 28, 2008

Trading Linux for Solaris

Real Time Matrix, a provider of cross-platform modular communication and marketing services, has traded Linux for Sun's Solaris 10 operating system for many of its production systems.

Real Time Matrix said that Solaris 10's throughput when compared with Linux impressed them. "On a 64-bit AMD processor and Fedora, we could process approximately 200 matches per second of RSS," Jeff Whitehead, founder and CEO, said. "With Solaris 10 on the T1000, this match rate jumped to 10,000 per second."

The company was recently featured in Check out CEO Jeff Whitehead discussing how the company went from being a die-hard Linux shop to abandoning Linux for Solaris 10 with 50 times better throughput they realized with Solaris 10.
Sun customer -- Real Time Matrix
(Image courtesy: Real Time Matrix)

Monday May 26, 2008

AnandTech's Sun Fire X4450 Server Review

On the heels of a good InfoWorld review of Sun Fire X4150 server, AnandTech has published a positive review of Sun Fire X4450 server.

In this detailed 8-page review, AnandTech essentially concluded that X4450 is a 2U server that offers the same features and performance as the 4U servers from competition. In their tests, they found X4450 has better serviceability, 17% to 26% more power efficiency over a comparable solution, 7% to 18% better in performance, lower 3-year TCOs (in 2 different ways of measurement), and great pricing via Try-&-Buy program.

The reviewer, Johan De Gelas, has best summed it up in the conclusion:
Sun Fire X4450 Server
"IBM and HP better take notice: Sun has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet. We would be happy to review HP and IBM systems, but we think it will be very difficult to beat the Sun Fire X4450 ...

Unless HP, Dell, or IBM comes out quickly with an appropriate reply, we feel Sun has a winner here. Sun's aggressive pricing helps, but it is the exceptional hardware design that makes the difference. This 2U server is able to deliver the same performance and 95% of the expandability of the 4U competition, and it is easier to maintain than any of those bulky boxes are. We experienced it first hand, as we are used to working with Dell boxes. Lower power, a pretty face, but especially the "try and buy program" top it off: the Sun X4450 is ahead of the pack. Here's to hoping this will create a new wave of innovation throughout the x86 server world."

So check one out...

Friday May 23, 2008

Very Positive InfoWorld Review of Sun Fire X4150 Server

Paul Venezia of InfoWorld posted a very positive evaluation of the Sun Fire X4150 server, and awarded an "Excellent" rating.

"Sun has developed a 1U chassis design that can handle an impressive number of drives, yet also provide for a standard two-socket Intel-based mainboard and the company's signature four gigabit Ethernet interfaces, not to mention a relatively advanced Lights-Out Management coprocessor," said Paul.

In his evaluation, Paul did make competitive references, "it's a very real competitor to HP's ProLiant DL360 G5, IBM's x3550, and Dell's PowerEdge 1950 III. In fact, the fit and finish of the X4150 are generally better than the rest of the field's and far ahead in local storage." Paul was also impressed with the X4150's wealth of built-in features.
Sun Fire X4150 Server
In MySQL and LAMP stack testing, Sun Fire X4150 server performed extremely well. It was 12 minutes faster than Dell system for the disk-intensive sql-bench tests running on MySQL 5.0.22 database. Even in less disk-intensive tests, X4150 came out at least 50 percent faster than the Dell unit.

In conclusion, Paul summed up his evaluation by saying, "the most suitable roles for the Sun Fire X4150 will be in database, Web serving, and virtualization tasks. In these spaces, the X4150 provides significant bang for the buck in nearly all respects."

A great review!

Wednesday May 14, 2008

Customer of the week: SmugMug

SmugMug is a personal story!

Back in August 2006, SmugMug posted a very detailed unflattering review of T1000 running Ubuntu Linux. We assembled a team of experts to get to the bottom of their issues. Several fire-drills, phone calls and meetings later, we found that the Sun Fire X2200 server is a better fit for their target application.

SmugMug wanted to standardize on a server platform. After a set of server reviews from various vendors, they selected Sun as their infrastructure supplier. Subsequently, Smugmug CEO Don MacAskill posted a detailed blog reviewing the benefits they are seeing from X2200.

I was thrilled to see that they have recently done a video telling the world why they chose Sun. Nice one, check it out.

Tuesday Apr 15, 2008

Customer of the Week: LG Micron

With help from Sun Professional Services, leading Korean manufacturer LG Micron successfully deployed a six-node high-availability cluster of servers using high-performance Sun UltraSPARC IV+ processors. The Sun Cluster solution provides 24x7 business continuity for the Oracle database and ERP applications.

Sun delivered the solution using LG Micron's existing IT assets and helped it maximize operational productivity. The solution is the first six-node cluster implementation in Asia and the first deployment in South Korea to use Solaris Volume Manager to mirror data to a remote site to enhance disaster recovery.

Heechang Park, CFO/CIO of LG Micron, commented: "We tried to provide non-stop IT service by leveraging old systems in order to minimize IT investment and established a cluster system in order to minimize any possible risks. Moreover, LG Micron established business continuity from a server/storage HA project. Previously, we assume that we wasted 1 million a year at the production line due to system failures and service stops. However, our IT system now provides non-stop service through standby-system configuration, and we secured our ROI for this project."

Check out the details here.
Sun customer -- LG Micron
(Image courtesy: LG Micron)



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