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.

Tuesday Dec 15, 2009

Petrobras Meets Oil Production Challenges with a Sun High Performance Computing Network



The BR Network is a high-performance computing initiative funded by Brazil's national oil company, Petróleo Brasilero, and is managed by an alliance of five federal universities to support the country's oil and gas industries. After the discovery of a vast new oil field off the coast of Brazil, the BR Network was selected to develop computer simulations to aid oil production at the new site, which is under approximately two miles of ocean floor riddled with geological faults.
Sun Customer BR Network
(Image courtesy: BR Network, a Petrobras initiative)
The Alberto Luiz Coimbra Institute-Graduate School and Research in Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro realized that the alliance of universities needed a high-performance computing grid to handle the complex new project that would be both an affordable and easily expandable solution over the next few years. Ultimately, the alliance selected Sun, which not only was the vendor that would best meet the performance, scalability, and energy efficiency goals, but also cost almost 30% less than the next closest offer from a competing vendor.

The new HPC solution includes 448 Sun Blade X6275 Server Modules with the new Intel Xeon processor series 5500, Sun Blade 6048 Modular Systems, and the Lustre File System. The solution also features the first blade server with on-board QDR InfiniBand for high performance and low latency. The alliance runs the Red Hat Linux OS on a Sun open-network solution, which supports multiple operating systems. The BR Network is currently running at three universities on a grid that provides approximately 100 teraflops of peak performance and 21.5 TB of memory.

The alliance expects that the BR Network will be fully operational by February 2010 with nearly 300 researchers working on the new clusters. Sun Professional Services is providing ongoing support for the project's air-conditioning and hi-visualization environments. The Sun solution more than doubles the universities' processing speed with ample room for growth. Alvaro Coutinho, a professor at the Center for Parallel Computing and Department of Civil Engineering, COPPE/UFRJ said: “We are very excited about the scalability of our Sun HPC system. We are currently at about 100 teraflops and we are thinking of doubling or even tripling it in the next two years.”

Check out the complete details here.

Tuesday Dec 08, 2009

Sun Ray thin clients help leading UK retailer to improve operations and reduce costs



Founded in 1979, ScrewFix is the leading tool, accessory, and hardware product supplier to both building professionals and DIY enthusiasts in the U.K. The company's original business model was based on high-volume catalog orders, but it now runs a substantial online operation in addition to its network of 143 trade outlets, delivering millions of products to customers every year.
Sun Customer ScrewFix
(Image courtesy: ScrewFix)
The ScrewFix contact center plays a critical role in daily operations, taking customer calls to place orders while also handling other customer inquiries including refunds and exchanges, using internally developed customer relationship management software. Until recently, contact center agents used the CRM system running on desktop PCs connected to the company's datacenter. However, slow system performance was making it increasingly difficult to respond quickly to customer inquiries. In 2008, as the PCs came to an end of their lifecycle, ScrewFix looked into an alternative solution with Sun.

Sun recommended a proof of concept using five Sun Ray 270 Virtual Display Client terminals that were deployed in different areas of the contact center, and ScrewFix reported that “the end-user response was impressive.” The proof of concept was enough to convince the ScrewFix IT team to deploy 350 Sun Ray 270 Virtual Display Client terminals to the entire contact center team, powered by 10 Sun Blade X6250 Server Modules residing in two Sun Blade 6000 Chassis. Six of the blades run Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services, while the other four run Sun Ray Software 4 on top of the Solaris 10 Operating System.

The new solution was installed overnight during one week to minimize disruption to employees and customers, and user migration to the new systems took place quickly. ScrewFix's server and storage team leader Peter Smith reports that because the technology is so easy to use, “for most people it was business as usual from the moment they switched on their new machine.” Additionally, ScrewFix employees are also saving time, with startup times up to 95% faster than the previous solution. The deployment of thin-client technology has also significantly lowered hardware total cost of ownership and made administration much simpler and less time consuming.

Check out the complete details, along with a podcast, here.

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 Nov 09, 2009

Canadian Province Speeds Up Application Deployment and Cuts IT Costs with Sun Server and Storage Solution


The Government of Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada offers services ranging from education and environmental protection, to public health, social services, and transportation to the province's 140,000 residents. In a move to improve these services while reducing IT costs, PEI consolidated all 12 individual department IT divisions into a single Information Technology Shared Services group in 2007. PEI then looked to simplify and standardize the heterogeneous IT department after finding there were 300 separate systems and more than 500 servers in 38 locations running on a variety of applications with no central or unified architecture.

Sun Customer Prince Edward Island Government
(Image courtesy: Govt. of PEI)
PEI, working with IT partners VisionQuest and Bulletproof Solutions, ultimately chose Sun hardware as the foundation of a new virtualized environment solution. The new solution includes a Sun Blade 6000 chassis with five Sun Blade X6250 Server Modules, each with two quad-core Intel Xeon Processors, running VMware Infrastructure 3 virtualization storage. The two-tier storage is based on the Sun StorageTek 6140 array, with Fibre Channel drives for high-performance storage and SATA-II drives for high capacity, and a Sun StorageTek SL48 Tape Library with two LTO 3 tape drives. The Sun servers and storage array are connected by Brocade Silkworm 200E SAN switches.

Sun Enterprise Installation and Implementation assisted with the deployment in July 2008, with VisionQuest hosting the virtual environment in a leased data center, and Bulletproof Solutions providing continuous technical support. The entire solution is backed by a SunSpectrum Support plan. The five Sun blades replaced 40 of PEI's existing physical servers, which is saving PEI approximately 58% a year on labor, support, power, cooling, and data center costs. Additionally, with a virtualized solution PEI will not have to purchase new physical servers, saving an additional $224,000 per year on acquisition costs, setup, and ongoing maintenance and support. PEI plans to increase the savings by adding more blades and eventually replacing as many physical servers as possible with virtual ones.

In addition to the cost savings, PEI has found that many IT tasks require less time and effort to include data backup and disaster recovery. PEI can also deploy new applications on its virtual servers in five to seven days, versus several weeks for physical servers – or even in minutes if the applications use a predefined server configuration. PEI has also achieved high system reliability with a 99.999% uptime. Chris Payne, director of infrastructure and IT Shared Services for PEI said: “With Sun's expertise and high-quality hardware, we reached our goal of building a platform that would run whatever applications we put on it and would be available for our clients 24/7.”

Check out the complete details here.

Monday Oct 19, 2009

City of San Antonio consolidates servers with Sun virtualization technology

The City of San Antonio, Texas (CoSA) is home to more than 1.5 million people, and provides multiple online services to its residents including bill payment, career assistance, licensing, permits, and public safety information. CoSA employees also rely on access to applications and data for use in daily work activities including financial systems, HR software, and public safety applications used by the police and fire departments.

Over time, the city's server infrastructure had struggled to keep pace with its service delivery, and CoSA was running out of room in its data center. The CoSA IT department needed to also upgrade its IT infrastructure to reduce maintenance costs and enhance services. CoSA already had a long-established relationship with Sun and felt that leveraging Sun's SPARC servers as a platform for the Solaris 10 Operating System and Solaris zones provided the best opportunity for ROI with its virtualization technologies and energy-efficient mainframe-class servers.
Sun Customer City of San Antonio
(Image courtesy: City of San Antonio)
The city, managing several separate environments, decided to consolidate its SAP NetWeaver systems on Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000 and M4000 servers. CoSA also migrated from the Solaris 9 OS to the Solaris 10 OS to take advantage of Solaris Zones and allow multiple applications to run in isolation from one another on the same physical hardware. The solution also includes Sun Blade 6000 Modular systems and multiple Sun Fire T2000 servers with energy-efficient CoolThreads technology. Finally, CoSA replaced 80 physical Windows servers with 12 Sun Fire X4600 M2 servers as a VMWare virtual infrastructure platform in its Windows environment.

Sun's server and virtualization solution allowed CoSA to consolidate from 16 to 4 racks of servers, and reduce the datacenter footprint for these workloads by over 85%. The solution has also helped CoSA reduce the maintenance overhead, giving administrators more time to deploy new systems that benefit the city and its residents. The consolidation has helped the city achieve considerable cost savings and CoSA expects to realize a full ROI within two and a half years based on the reduced support costs alone. Kevin Goodwin, the assistant director for CoSA IT department said: “Sun's enterprise-class virtualization technologies have served the City of San Antonio well. They're a critical component of our overall IT transformation and optimization strategy, allowing us to rapidly deploy highly available server capacity to meet the city's changing business needs while saving money in the process.”

Check out the complete details 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.”

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.

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."

Thursday Aug 20, 2009

InfoWorld Bullish on Sun's Nehalem Servers



Sun Fire X2270 Server
Sun Fire X2270 Server

Sun Fire X4270 Server
Sun Fire X4270 Server

InfoWorld's Paul Venezia published a glowing review of the Sun Fire X2270 and Sun Fire X4270 servers, which he described as "the fastest x64 servers Sun has ever produced." The Sun Fire X2270 received an overall rating of an 8.2 (out of 10), and the Sun Fire X4270 received an 8.8, which classified both servers as “very good” on the InfoWorld scorecard.

Paul tested each server on his baseline VMware test application and in the lab, "the X2270 moved like a much more expensive system." He performed two test runs with the X2270: one with the vApp running first on a single 500GB SATA drive, and another with the VMs housed on an NFS share to a SAS array run from an Adaptec Snap Server 650. He reported "the difference was noticeable and resulted in a performance increase of around 15 percent," and concluded saying "there's a lot of power in this little package."

Paul described the X4270 as "the best of both worlds, offering the 2U form factor that adds significant expansion opportunities and a wealth of local disk options." He reported that the X4270 "performs extremely well in the VMware tests," saying "it has power and expansion to spare." He highlighted the many features of the X4270 to include the expansion bus and CompactFlash slot which lead him to declare "there's little that this box can't handle."

All in all, Paul concluded by saying "both models are impressive entries into the Nehalem-based server market." He said these solid server platforms that successfully leverage the power of the Nehalem architecture "should find a home just about anywhere."

Wednesday Aug 19, 2009

IT Pro: X4275 puts forward a strong proposition as a storage server



IT PRO's Dave Mitchell published an exclusive review of the Sun Fire X4275 server which he described as having "a sharp focus on storage hungry applications such as multimedia, data warehousing and video surveillance."

Dave took a close look at the server's build and said the X4275 has a "very tidy interior that is designed to make the most of the internal real estate." He also noted "Sun has the virtualization angle covered" with the motherboard offering an internal USB port and a CompactFlash card slot for booting an embedded hypervisor. He pointed out that "the X4275 certainly has room to grow with demand," highlighting the three riser cards in the back that offer a total of six PCI-Express 2.0 slots.

Additionally, Dave noted "the X4275 doesn't go short in the network department as it has four embedded Gigabit ports." He also reported that the X4275 was "reasonably easy on the utility supply," when tested on an inline power meter, and pointed out that the server comes with 1050W hot-plug supplies included in the price.

Dave also called out the X4275's ILOM chip, and its secure web interface which provides a status report on all critical components and their condition. All in all, Dave was pleased with the build quality as well as the solid three-year on-site warranty. He concluded by saying: "The X4275 puts forward a strong proposition as a storage server as it has a high potential capacity and plenty of room to expand."

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