Monday Nov 30, 2009

Online gaming company gets a boost with Sun server solution


Outspark is an entertainment services company that publishes and operates online multi-player social games. These free games are used by millions of video gamers around the world every year so Outspark maintains game servers in San Jose, California, and Andover, Massachusetts in addition to Web servers in Oakland, California.
Sun Customer Outspark
(Image courtesy: Outspark)
In May 2008, Outspark began looking to address operational problems with its game servers, which needed better performance and uptime. Outspark was also experiencing problems with its Web servers which were having repetitive hardware issues. Additionally, with an upcoming launch of new games, Outspark was anticipating a traffic spike and needed new server technology that was more scalable and would help minimize operational costs.

In July 2008 Outspark decided on a complete solution from Sun under the Sun Startup Essentials program, which provides startups with a combination of hardware, software, and support at a discount. Through the Sun Startup Essentials program Outspark purchased Sun Fire X2250 servers to host its online games, as well as several Sun Fire X2200 M2 servers and Sun Fire X4150 servers while Sun provided ongoing technical support and hosted Web services through Sun partner NaviSite.

The Sun Fire X2250 server gave Outspark the power it needed to manage its game servers while using significantly less power than the previous Outspark hardware. Outspark has also successfully reduced its overall operational costs because it has a completely managed solution with infrastructure and technical support from Sun. Luc Suryo, Chief of Network and Systems Operations at Outspark, noted: “With this solution, we are able to reduce costs while also getting the capacity, speed, and availability we need to support our game and Web servers.”

Check out the complete details 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 Sep 21, 2009

Gebeco migrates to Sun Ray, saves on energy costs


Gebeco, a leading travel operator for study and general group tours, specializes in high-end adventure holidays and educational travel around the world including South America, South Africa, China, and the entire Far East. The company, based in Kiel, Germany, is responsible for the travel brands Gebeco Länder erleben, Dr. Tigges, and goXplore, and serves 70,000 travelers each year. Gebeco uses its own internally-developed reservation system for bookings, which is based on the OS/2 operating system.

Sun Customer Gebeco
(Image courtesy: Gebeco)
However, this infrastructure build recently became a problem because the productivity solutions Gebeco used were effectively obsolete with the OS/2 operating system, and new programs, such as OpenOffice, that the company wanted to introduce were no longer supported on OS/2. Rewriting the reservation software for a new operating system would have been too expensive, so Gebeco searched for a solution that would allow the company to continue using its OS/2 software programs while simultaneously introducing new systems and applications.

Gebeco ultimately decided on the VirtualBox emulator from Sun, which not only allowed the company to integrate OS/2 software with new systems, but also gave them the opportunity to migrate from PCs to thin clients. Gebeco is now conducting operations on 200 Sun Ray 2 Virtual Display Clients along with two Sun Ray 2FS Virtual Display Clients for developers. Gebeco also implemented both the Sun Ray Server Software 4.1 and the applications on four Sun Fire X4440 Servers and two Sun Fire X4150 Servers.

The primary benefits to the new solution are the power and cost savings. The new infrastructure has reduced electricity consumption significantly and is saving the business 7,000 a year. Additionally, the horizontally scaled computer farm can be easily expanded with another machine without any difficulty. Noise reduction is another added benefit, as Thomas Schönemann, IT manager at Gebeco observed “it is much quieter now,” also noting “the buildup of heat is much lower.” Schönemann also praised the reduction in maintenance time stating: “It now takes minutes to do what took hours before.”

Check out the complete details here.

Wednesday Sep 09, 2009

TweetMeme Manages 85% Monthly Growth with MySQL Enterprise and Sun Startup Essentials Program


TweetMeme is a social media company that is quickly becoming one of the most popular Web 2.0 sites in the world. TweetMeme uses custom-made software to count the number of links posted on Twitter, which it then organizes into categories on its Web site so visitors to the site can easily find stories that interest them. Visitors can also cast their own votes by “retweeting” a story through their own Twitter account, which in turn increases a story's popularity.

Sun Customer TweetMeme
(Image courtesy: TweetMeme)
TweetMeme has experienced tremendous growth in recent months, experiencing 85% month-on-month growth in unique visitors and serving more than 1.6 billion retweet buttons each month.. TweetMeme uses open-source software, running the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system, Apache HTTP server software, and MySQL database. TweetMeme has worked closely with Sun since its launch earlier this year, taking advantage of the Sun Startup Essentials program for support, discounts on hardware, and specialist advice.

TweetMeme has focused on maximizing uptime because, as founder Nick Halstead noted, “Downtime has the potential to break a social media business.” Sun Startup Essentials has helped TweetMeme keep pace with the fast-moving social media industry by migrating TweetMeme to MySQL Enterprise, deployed on a mixture of 10 Sun Fire X4440 and Sun Fire X4150 servers. The MySQL Enterprise subscription includes expert technical support for the database and advanced database monitoring tools, which enable TweetMeme to optimize performance and maximize uptime.

The new hardware is delivering impressive results and helping to reduce IT costs through simpler maintenance and reduced power consumption, while offering outstanding availability and utilization. TweetMeme continues to expand rapidly, with the site analyzing, categorizing, and indexing more than 50,000 links per hour, while handling 600 million retweets per month. With its new solution, TweetMeme can grow without worry, thanks to the MySQL Enterprise database, that will scale to meet any level of exponential growth in the future. Halstead recognizes this significant advantage and noted: “Things move so quickly in this industry that you can't afford any distractions. But thanks to Sun, we can now focus on strategy rather than on technology.”

Check out the complete details, including a podcast, 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.

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

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

Monday Jul 21, 2008

Sun -- the Olympic champion infrastructure provider!!!


Beijing Olympics is just around the corner, and we are in it too!

Sun is providing the technology platform to NBC Universal for its Olympic web site, NBCOlympics.com, during the network's coverage of the 2008 Olympics.

Powered by 160 Sun Fire X4450 and Sun Fire X4150 servers, NBC's online coverage of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing will set a new standard in delivering digital content to viewers with live streaming of events, video archives of completed events, blogs, live chat, athlete profiles and many other unique features.

Olympic fans will have access to approximately 2,200 total hours of live streaming of 25 different sports!
nbcolympics.com -- powered by Sun
(Image courtesy : NBC)
Sun's infrastructure solutions will be working extra hard to make sure you've a pleasant web-experience of the 2008 Olympics.

Go Sun, GO!!! :-)

Monday Jul 14, 2008

InformationWeek loves Sun Fire X4150 server...


This week's print issue of InformationWeek has a very positive review of Sun Fire X4150 server.

Jeff Ballard examined this 1U powerhouse and wrote, "The Sun Fire X4150 delivers the goods with 16 DIMM slots, three PCI-e slots, and dual quad-core Intel Harpertown processors. The X4150 supports up to 64 GB of memory and sports four Gigabit Ethernet slots, double what is offered by the Dell 1950, IBM x3550, and HP DL360."

Jeff provided an excellent overview of the product, digging deep into the key features of processor, memory and expansion capabilities of the X4150. He wrote, "Sun crams a lot of gear into this 1U device. To put it in perspective, a standard rack can hold as many as 40 of these servers. Thus, a rack full of the units as we tested would give you a whopping 320 processor cores, 320 hot-swappable hard drives, 640 DIMM slots, 120 PCI-E slots, and 160 Gigabit Ethernet connections."

Jeff's conclusion: "With all of its disks configured as RAID 60, the X4150 would make an excellent compact database server, video server, virtualization platform, or other data-critical machine. Even without its disks, the X4150 is a powerhouse of performance in a small profile."

Sun Fire X4150 Server

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 Feb 27, 2008

PC Magazine Posts A Very Positive Review of Sun Fire X4150 Server


PC Magazine has posted a very positive review on the Sun Fire X4150 server as side bar to a round up review of other SMB-focused x64 servers.

The review praises the powerful features and functions that are included in such a small box -- stating that "Sun has kept its new Sun Fire in a 1U enclosure but has sacrificed absolutely nothing in the way of hardware or management features, building a box capable of competing with servers twice its size."
Try X4150 free for 60 days
Oliver Rist, the reviewer, goes on to list the CPU and driver components that are included on the system he tested, such as two quad-core Intel Xeons, 16GB of RAM and four 136GB 10,000-rpm SAS drives attached to an Adaptec RAID controller. He then positively highlights that the X4150 has "enough memory and disk space to run a heavy virtualization load in half of the space you'll find in most other server solutions ...[positioning] the Sun Fire as one of the greenest servers of 2008."

The review wraps up mentioning "... the Sun box would have blown the doors off anything else here" and Sun "deserves kudos for managing all this in a box this small."

PS: Had we known this opportunity in time, we would have sent a similarly configured and priced Sun Fire X4150 server that would have blown the doors off others anyway. ;-)

PPS: If you don't believe it, try it out free for 60 days via our Try & Buy program. You pick the configuation (and price range, we're sure you're going to buy it once you try... :-) )

Saturday Feb 16, 2008

Blogs of the week: Solaris, Servers, OpenOffice.org and more...


1. The DaVinci Zone: Automating Zone Installation -- Solaris Jedi, 2/12
Christopher describes his first-hand experience in "piecing together" how to automate Solaris Zone installation and tells his readers that, "with the proper grasp of docs.sun.com, man pages, and Google query syntax anyone can automate their zone installation." He goes on to list out his step-by-step notes and ends by giving kudos to the OpenSolaris Zones and Containers FAQ, which aided him along the way.
Solaris

2. Sun xVM Server Appears in Solaris Express Developer Edition 1/08 -- Virtualization.info, 2/7
This blogger expresses his excitement for the upcoming Sun xVM Server by noting that, while we are all waiting for the official launch, Sun has already exposed some initial documentation on the product including details on how to boot the SXDE build to run in xVM mode, how to configure ZFS to expose storage for the virtual machines, and how to remotely control guest OSes through the embedded VNC server (Xvnc).

3. How to split a file, process the pieces in multiple threads and combine results using a shell script -- Onkar Joshi's Blog, 2/11
Onkar describes how to speed up processing of parallel files by "splitting" the file and processing it on multiple threads. He highlights using a T2000 running Solaris 10 to make 20 files with 15K lines. Onkar states that the Sun server "worked like a charm."

4. X4150: lit up -- The Trouble with Tribbles..., 2/9
This entry ends a series of five consecutive posts by Peter detailing his experiences installing the x4150 server. He starts by mentioning how the x4200 and x4500 boxes were installed flawlessly, but the x4150 installation is not going as smoothly. After receiving help from Sun Support as well as from one of his blog readers, along with some troubleshooting of his own, Peter gets the x4150 booted and running successfully. He ends the entry by commenting on how quickly the server has managed the workload he has tested so far, and writes: "It was a bit of a drag getting there, but I think it was worth the effort."

5. Proprietary Programs and Open Source Alternatives That Can Drive You Crazy Even More -- Springsteam, 2/9
Rainer writes an overview of OpenSource alternatives that are currently available. He notes that he has been using StarOffice/OpenOffice.org since 2000 and has been impressed with the application since the release of 1.0.

6. Need a copy of Office applications for free? - myGTDstuff.com, 2/9
David suggests his readers who have just purchased a laptop for their children consider downloading OpenOffice.org for free over Microsoft Office. He provides a history of how the application was purchased by Sun and then offered for free to compete against Microsoft Office. He includes several links to reviews where StarOffice/OpenOffice.org is compared favorably against Microsoft Office.

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