Monday Dec 15, 2008

VirtualBox Reviews

1. VirtualBox for workstation virtualization -- Shawn Ruff's Blog: Database and Other Technology Topics, 12/9
Shawn Ruff opted to try VirtualBox when looking for a new virtualization product. His installation went very well and he felt that the "look and feel" of VirtualBox was "very intuitive and easy to use." Shawn is still getting into the details of VirtualBox, but adds that initial feedback is really good especially taking into consideration that it is a free product.

2. VirtualBox and Oracle Enterprise Linux -- Johan Louwers Personal Blog, 12/9
Johan Louwers tried to get an Oracle Enterprise Linux running in VirtualBox on his Mac and received an error message. The bug is reported to Sun and Johan has posted a workaround to this issue.
Sun xVM VirtualBox
3. VirtualBox 2.06 released by Sun Microsystems -- Michael Harper's Tech Blog, 12/4
Michael Harper described the "beauty" of VirtualBox by saying that it let him run in "seamless" mode, creating an illusion that a Windows application was actually running on his Ubuntu desktop. Michael also liked the ability to add as many OS's as you want on VirtualBox. He added that VirtualBox also offered fine tuning options, along with the ability to "save the current machine state" and pause on the guest OS, saving its layout and current view.

4. VirtualBox v2.0.6 -- PC Softs, 11/28
The blogger commented on VirtualBox saying, "Targeted at server, desktop and embedded use, it is now the only professional-quality virtualization solution that is also Open Source Software. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU Public License (GPL)."

Saturday Feb 09, 2008

Solaris and other blogs of this week

1. Solaris 10 has been Shipping for Three Years -- John J. McLaughlin, 1/31
In this blog, John McLaughlin talks about the many different releases of Solaris 10 during the past years, stating that saying the product has been successful "would be an understatement." After going through many of the features and benefits of Solaris 10, he encourages his readers to set up a lab and experiment with the new tools and technology.
Solaris 10

2. Resources from Java Performance Presentation -- Blog O'Matty, 2/5
    Figuring Out which Package a Solaris Utility Belongs to -- Blog O'Matty, 2/4
    Profiling Java Methods with the Heap Profiling Agent -- Blog O'Matty, 2/2
After giving a presentation on debugging Java performance problems, Matty posted several links to performance analysis tools including DTrace Toolkit, Java hotspot DTrace provider and Java heap profiling agent. In a separate blog, he talks about managing Solaris packages and, in a third post, goes into detail about using the Java heap profiler agent, claiming it is "incredibly useful and just one of the vast number of tools that are available to profile Java applications."

3. What are we afraid of? --, 1/31
In this entry, a blogger discusses Nexenta, a project that enables customers to compile Ubuntu packages on Solaris by using userland tools along with the "beautiful" new Solaris tools such as ZFS and dtrace. He praises a tool called "apt-clone", which uses ZFS snapshots to make it possible to rewind to that particular set of installed debian packages, and asks his readers "isn't that awesome?"

4. New Sun Ultra 24 Workstation --, 2/5
Ryan de Laplante writes about his recent purchase of an Ultra 24 workstation. He bought it to gain experience using Solaris in preparation for one of his future endeavors. He notes that it came with Solaris 10 pre-installed which is great for servers, but too dated for desktop use. He also mentions that Solaris Express will be replaced by the OpenSolaris in the spring, and that project "Indiana is to Solaris what Fedora is to Red Hat." He points out a couple of keyboard related issues he does not care for on the Ultra 24, but overall states: "I really like this computer. I'm sure I'll get a good 6-7 years out of it like my last computer."

Saturday Oct 27, 2007

Links of the week...

1. Sun Launches Intel Workstation on X38 Platform -- ZDNet, 10/24
In this blog, George Ou positively discusses the recent release of the Ultra 24 and the different features that it comes along with. He explains that the Ultra 24 comes with a Solaris license but also supports a wide range of operating systems. He also explains that even though he has not reviewed the workstation hands on yet, "the prices look decent for a brand-name workstation and the hardware specifications look good."

2. The Open Office Experiment -- SoapBox 2.0, 10/22
This blogger writes about OpenOffice being alternative to Microsoft Office. He explains that he has never been able to use this office suite because he is primarily a Mac user and wants to work with a word processor that will run seemingly across his OS. He now has an opportunity through NeoOffice and is going to do all word processing and spreadsheet work through this office suite and write about his experience.

Thursday Oct 25, 2007

Sun Ultra 24 gets glowing reviews from InfoWorld and eWEEK

Sun Ultra 24 Workstation
Two glowing reviews of Sun Ultra 24 Workstation have appeared since I wrote two days ago about the availability of this new Intel-based workstation.

InfoWorld's Paul Venezia examined the new workstation and ran a slew of tests. Sun Ultra 24 came out with flying colors on each occasion. According to Paul, "At first blush, I figured the Ultra 24 to be just another small, workstation-class system that would be good for those who need a little extra horsepower from time to time, but aren't running high-end apps that need a full-blown workstation. After putting it through its paces, I'm thinking that it just might fit both bills. Don't let the size and single-CPU nature of the Ultra 24 fool you -- there's a lot of power in that little box."

eWEEK's Frank Ohlhorst also put the Ultra 24 workstation through it paces, and he is extremely positive as well with what he found. According to Frank, "Sun undoubtedly has a winner with the Ultra 24 series of workstations, and other vendors will be hard-pressed to outperform it. What's more, the Ultra 24 proves that quality is still a valuable asset when it comes to workstations. The unit is built like a tank, yet offers toolless access to components. The company has successfully balanced quality with ease of service, while still offering unquestionable performance."

Tuesday Oct 23, 2007

Sun's new Intel-based workstation is now available

Today we announced the Sun Ultra 24 Workstation, our first quad-core x64 workstation. Powered by Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad and Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-Core Processors, the new workstation quickens design cycles, accelerates decision making and gets products to market faster. It offers the broadest range of OS support, including 32- and 64-bit versions of the Solaris OS, Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux and SUSE Linux.

The Sun Ultra 24 is available now via the Sun Web site and Sun Startup Essentials. It will also be available through the Try and Buy program beginning Nov. 12.

Beta customers such as Wolfram Research and Volkswagen have already been testing out the Ultra 24.

The Sun Ultra 24 has achieved three new benchmarks, including new world-record performance results on the Mathematica benchmark.

The reviews of Sun Ultra 24 should start appearing soon. In the mean time, check out the article on the announcement. And here is the Register story.

Sun Ultra 24 Workstation

Monday Oct 01, 2007

CRN posts positive review of Ultra 20 M2 workstation

CRN posted a positive review of the Ultra 20 M2, highlighting it as a solid workstation that combines 64-bit and 32-bit applications into one box. The reviewer, Fahmida Rashid, points out that the workstation comes installed with Solaris 10, but support several OS environments with ease.  At one point, she configured the machine to run as a triple boot system with Solaris 10, Windows XP Professional, and Ubuntu Linux, running without any difficulty -- making the "Ultra 20 M2 a great workstation for technical experts and developers."
Fahmida was particularly impressed with the design of the machine, calling out its simplicity and open space that make it an ideal unit for swappable components and cooling efficiency.
Overall, the review was a very strong testament to the Ultra 20 M2's capabilities. Fahmida wraps up by stating that the AMD-based workstation is a welcome change from competitive machines and is "an attractive offering" where the price is right, and it comes with full support.
Sun Ultra 20 M2 Workstation

Tuesday Jun 05, 2007

Another great workstation review

On the heels of the great InfoWorld Sun Ultra 40 M2 workstation review, another very positive Sun Ultra 20 M2 workstation review by ComputerWorld columnist Martin MC Brown has appeared in the Free Software Magazine today. The review takes an extensive look at the Ultra 20, highlighting features and performance on Solaris, Red Hat, Suse and Windows platforms.

MC first highlights the clean design of the workstation, both inside and out.  He also calls out the open internal design as a key factor in keeping air flow circulating and the machine quiet during normal use.

In OS support, MC highlights Solaris 10 as the best option for the workstation as it comes with the benefits of Solaris such as Containers and improved network performance. However, he is also impressed with the performance and support for both the Red Hat and Suse Linux platforms, as well as Windows. He states, "The ability to run Windows, especially as a dual- or multi-boot system with your other OS of choice is a big advantage." Performance testing on all operating systems showed little variant between them and overall was very quick compared to other workstations.

Finally, MC wraps up his findings by saying: "Sun have managed to produce a very good machine in the Ultra 20 M2. It’s fast and capable, and has a good range of hardware ports and support. As a full 64-bit workstation it is hard to fault, especially when you consider that prices start just US$845 for a basic dual-core model."

Thursday May 31, 2007

Very Positive Sun Workstation Review in InfoWorld

Paul Venezia from InfoWorld posted a very positive Sun Ultra 40 M2 workstation review that praises the power and performance of the system. The review is focused on performance of 3Ware's 9650SE RAID controller combined with the Sun Ultra 40 M2 workstation.

Sun Ultra 40 M2 Workstation

According to Paul, "Between the stellar performance of the 9650SE and the calm and steady power of the Ultra 40 M2, all of [the] tasks were handled with aplomb. Suffice it to say, you'd be hard-pressed to equal or surpass the performance of this box with any computing hardware available today."

More praises...
- "Simply the most powerful workstation available from a mainstream vendor today."
- "This system is the creme de la creme of the workstation world."

Great job, Sun workstation team!

Wednesday Apr 04, 2007

InfoWorld calls Ultra 40 M2 "Most Powerful Workstation You Can Buy"

InfoWorld posted a very positive review of the Ultra 40 M2 that highlights the new look and feel, as well as the performance enhancements. This blog review goes into detail on the operating systems with a brief look at performance on Windows XP 64, Vista, Red Hat and Fedora. The reviewer, Paul Venezia calls the Ultra 40 M2 "the most powerful x86_64 workstation you can buy today."

Paul also praises the graphics functionality of the workstation highlighting specifically the Quadro 550 graphics adapter. He states: "The graphics performance is phenomenal, with quick testing of GLXGears showing around 15k frames per second at 1280x1024."

Sunday Apr 01, 2007

My favorite ones from last week...

Selected Sun product conversations in blogosphere last week:

1. JKstat 0.15 - The Trouble With Tribbles, 3/25
Peter has been working on an application called JKstat that was just accepted as an OpenSolaris project.

2. Introduction to LDOM's - Sparks and White Noise, 3/26
Octave thoroughly describes the types of Logical Domains that can be created in the Solaris OE and plans to write a future post on the installation of the firmware, patches and Logical Domain Management software.

3. The Enterprise Linux Problem - SmugBlog: Don MacAskill, 3/23
Don discusses several open-source OS options including SuSE, Red Hat, Oracle and Solaris. In consideration of Solaris, Don said, "I love ZFS, I love the fault-tolerant stuff it has for when memory or CPUs go bad, etc."

4. Latest ZFS Add-Ons - Milek's Blog, 3/28
Robert discusses the ZFS boot support integration for the x86/x64 platform and mentions that it "greatly simplifies exposing ZVOLs via iSCSI in the same way sharenfs simplifies sharing file systems over nfs."

5. Sun Frustrations - Geek Patrol, 3/22
John won a Sun Ultra 20 M2 as part of the Open Performance contest, but has recently had issues with Sun contacting him to return or pay for the machine. We regret the error, and we are following up with John to fix the mix-up issues at our end.

Wednesday Mar 28, 2007

Desktop Engineering: Sun Ultra 40 M2 -- Mission Accomplished

Desktop Engineering posted a very positive review of the Ultra 40 M2 workstation.

The reviewer, Mark Clarkson, was very impressed with the overall packaging of the Ultra 40 M2, particularly highlighting how easy it is to open the case and make changes.  His evaluation also points out despite its power, the Ultra 40 is the "quietest system currently running in [his] basement." He also praised the graphics and clarity of the Sun monitor that was shipped with the workstation.

Photo of Sun Ultra 40 M2 Workstation

Mark compared the applications and performance of the Ultra 40 M2 versus the system he reviewed in July. In all instances the Ultra 40 M2 outperformed the original Ultra 40 -- as expected. However, he was very impressed with how much the new Ultra 40 M2 outperformed. Mark highlights various tests he performed where the Ultra 40 M2 outperformed the original Ultra 40 anywhere from 15 to 100 percent. He states: "Once you figure out the best way to load up the processors and memory, this machine can really fly."

A really good one!!!

Friday Mar 16, 2007

Positive Sun Ultra 20 M2 review in Cadalyst

Today, Cadalyst Magazine posted a positive evaluation of the Sun Ultra 20 M2 Workstation. The review is a presentation of the new features of this workstation including the design and the overall performance of the machine while running the Cadalyst C2006, the MAXBench4 and SPEC ViewPerf 9 benchmarks.

The reviewer, Patrick Davis, tested an Ultra 20 M2 running 32-bit and 64-bit Windows XP. He notes that while Windows is not shipped pre-installed on the Ultra 20, the workstation does support Windows with no problems.

Overall, Patrick is quite positive on the workstation. Specifically, he is very impressed with the structure of the workstation and the quietness of the fans: "After roughly two seconds [after start up], the fans power down and the Ultra 20 M2 makes less noise than my Dell Inspiron 6000 laptop...It's definitely the quietest workstation I have used."

Monday Feb 12, 2007

Desktop Engineering review: "A Server On Every Desk"

Last week Desktop Engineering published a technical article on the Sun Ultra 40 M2. The review, written by Sun's Michael Schulman and Michael Burke, detailed the increased functionality between CAD and MCAE applications on workstations. To test the idea, the Sun Ultra 40 M2 workstation running Solaris 10 was used to run a CAD benchmark and a CAE application.

The machine, running all out and fully utilized, produced results with less than a 10 percent slowdown for the CAD application. For the typical user "any slowdown would be barely noticed." The authors also discuss acceleration technologies such as heterogenous computing, using an add-on board designed to speed up calculations for floating-point intensive applications and the use of FPGAs. The second of these technologies is working on Sun Fire X4600 servers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where the accelerator increases the performance of certain types of applications.

The authors wrap up the discussion by concluding that "MCAE applications will continue to be run on rackmounted or blade type servers sitting in data centers," but that the "recent improvements in workstation processing power allow for medium-sized data sets to be used. This enables closer integration between CAD and CAE, and will help bring products to market faster — just the ROI many manufacturers are looking for."

Monday Jan 08, 2007

Positive Sun Ultra 20 M2 Workstation review in ComputerWorld

Today's ComputerWorld features a positive review of the Sun Ultra 20 M2 workstation. This positive review is the first installment of several pieces that will appear over the next few weeks...




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