Friday Jan 22, 2010

Moshi Monsters Running Wild with Sun Technology


Mind Candy, launched in 2004, is a leading developer of multi-player games targeted at the rapidly expanding social online games market. Its main product, Moshi Monsters, is its biggest hit to date and is enjoying exponential growth with over 10 million players worldwide, and more than one million new players subscribing each month. The game relies heavily on an IT platform managed by Mind Candy, and became the focus of the company’s attention in 2009, when the number of players was set to top 4 million.
Sun Customer Mind Candy
(Image courtesy: Mind Candy)
At that point, Mind Candy realized it needed to make changes to its IT infrastructure. The Moshi Monsters infrastructure is based on the Java Platform, Standard Edition 6 running Debian GNU/Linux. It includes Apache Tomcat Web application servers, memcached and PostgreSQL databases as well as open source frameworks such as Spring and Hibernate. Prior to the upgrade, Mind Candy already had Sun Fire X2100 servers acting as load balancers, and chose to make the use of Intel’s new “Nehalem” Xeon processors a key criterion for the update.

Working with Sun as a member of the Sun Startup Essentials program, Mind Candy finalized the infrastructure expansion design based on two of Sun’s newest Xeon-processor based servers, the Sun Fire X4170 servers for applications working alongside a Sun Fire X4270 server for one of the platform’s main databases. The new Sun solutions were installed in just a couple of days, and deployed alongside the existing equipment. The Sun Fire X4170 servers gave Mind Candy significantly higher I/O speeds, along with multithreading technology for greater performance and power management. The Sun Fire X4270 server provided more than four times the processing performance and memory, and doubled the number of disk drive bays to 16.

Since the full solution went live in July 2009, Toby Moore, Chief Technology Officer at Mind Candy said the performance and scalability of the new platform has fully justified the company’s investment. He stated: “The platform is incredibly fast. Before, the CPU utilization rate for our database servers was about 70%, but now it’s dropped to 15%. The speed of our Tomcat Web application servers has doubled, and the amount of RAM on our servers has quadrupled.” In addition to the increased speed, the Sun platform consumes relatively low amounts of energy, and still has plenty of headroom for expansion. The company is now looking to focus on storage and has plans to deploy a Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System in the near future.

Check out the complete details and a podcast here.

Monday Oct 05, 2009

PC Pro: "X4170 undoubtedly delivers a choice specification in a well-built package"


PC Pro's Dave Mitchell recently published his review of the Sun Fire X4170, which he described as a rack server for the most demanding applications,” saying it “delivers a cracking specification,” giving the server's performance a 5 out of 6 star rating.

Dave noted that “the X4170 is well endowed in the storage department,” and also pointed to the SAS, SATA, and SSD variants available. He stated that this storage potential puts the X4170 “on a par with HP's ProLiant DL360 G6,” and said it is better than “the A-listed Dell Power Edge R610.” Dave also noted that “plenty of array options are on offer,” including RAID 6 and 60.
He highlighted the fact that “the X4170 has room to expand,” and credited Sun with being the first to embed four Gigabit ports into rack servers, saying Sun set the trend now emulated by the PowerEdge R610.” He also pointed out that the X4170 can be remotely managed with Sun's embedded ILOM chip, which uses a Fast Ethernet port and provides full KVM over IP services, “allowing the server to be controlled regardless of its condition – so as long as you have power you have access.”

Dave concluded by saying: The X4170 undoubtedly delivers a choice specification in a well-built package.”

Tuesday Sep 01, 2009

eWEEK: X4170 is a "compelling offering for data center IT managers"


eWEEK's Cameron Sturdevant recently reviewed the Sun Fire X4170 server, which he described as "a compelling offering for data center IT managers." Cameron noted that the X4170 packs “copious amounts of computer power, local storage, network bandwidth, and PCIe expansion capability into a neatly engineered, 1U footprint.”

Using eWEEK Labs' VMware vSphere 4 as a test environment, Cameron reported “the X4170 ably functioned as a virtualization host.” He highlighted X4170's carefully crafted compartmentalization and fan architecture that expels air through the top rear of the unit, thereby saving space for connectors and expansion cards on the back side.
Cameron also pointed to the flexibility offered through the X4170's smart configuration, including the three PCIe 2.0 slots and dual hot-swappable power supplies, while noting that the top lid is articulated to enable access to the fan trays without exposing the processors and memory. He also highlighted the ILOM 3.0, which he noted can be configured to be accessed via the standard network interfaces.

Cameron noted that the X4170 is a part of a family of performance- and capacity-oriented servers, and recommended it to organizations already invested in the Sun platform that need “a reliable, easy-to-service rack-mount production server for virtualization or for applications such as e-mail and file/print."

Tuesday Apr 14, 2009

Now Available: Sun's Open Network Systems Powered by Nehalem


Today we announced the latest Open Network Systems from Sun.

John's perspective:

"Today's IT customer is looking for three things - speed, simplicity and savings. With Sun's Open Network Systems approach, we're integrating our networking advancements, our system expertise, and our core IP and innovative designs to transform commodity components into entirely new platforms with breakthrough application performance, efficiency and scale," said John Fowler, executive vice president, Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. "Our new x64 systems with breakthrough networking technologies, advanced thermal management, open software stacks and Open Storage enhancements will give the datacenter an extreme makeover, revealing new efficiencies and maximizing IT investment."

Dimitrios Dovas, Director of Product Management, x64 Volume Systems, joined me to talk about Sun's latest Open Network Systems products powered by Intel Xeon Processor 5500 Series (aka Nehalem). Listen to the short segment below for the highlights.

Sun Fire X4170 Server

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