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.

Thursday Oct 22, 2009

Tips & Tricks from OpenSolaris Enthusiasts

opensolaris

1. Setting up OpenSolaris Extras Repository for VirtualBox, True-Type Fonts, Flash & JavaFX SDK –- thushanfernando.com, 10/16
The blogger demonstrated how to install and configure the OpenSolaris Extras repository in this tutorial, specifically focusing on the repository for VirtualBox, true-type fonts, and the Flash and Java SDK.
OpenSolaris
2. [Level 2] File ACL... –- stanley-huang.blogspot.com, 10/15
Stanley Huang responded to a question asking how to copy/backup files with acl, noting that in OpenSolaris “there are several ways to do so,” which he demonstrated in this tutorial.

3. Drupal packages available in OpenSolaris Repositories – at last! –- wcmwire.com, 10/14
The blogger announced the availability of new IPS packages in the OpenSolaris “Contrib” repository, and described how to install them into OpenSolaris 2009.06 in this tutorial.

4. Add OpenSolaris Extras Repository from pkg.sun.com –- rachmatfebrianto.com, 10/13
Blogger Rachmat Febrianto gave instructions on how to access the OpenSolaris repository from pkg.sun.com, as well as how to “see” the available package from the extra repository in this tutorial.

5. [Level 2] How to share screen within 2 sessions -– stanley-huang.blogspot.com, 10/12
Blogger Stanley Huang gave a step-by-step breakdown of how to share screens with a vendor ssh in order to “monitor” the commands for the vendor keyins using OpenSolaris.

6. Expanding your OpenSolaris NAS –- irrationale.com, 10/11
The blogger followed up on his guide to setting up a Solaris NAS by demonstrating how to change out a failed disk, which he also said mimics changing out smaller disks for larger ones, as well as the addition of disks to the NAS pool.

7. Create tar.gz in OpenSolaris –- .rasyid.net, 10/11
The blogger demonstrated how to make a backup for a public_html directory in OpenSolaris using a tar.gz command.

Thursday Oct 08, 2009

Now available: Solaris 10 10/09 Operating System


Today we announced the availability of the Solaris 10 10/09 Operating System. In this update, Solaris 10 has been extended with new performance and power efficiency enhancements, more streamlined management of system installations, updates and fixes, new updates for ZFS and advancements to further leverage the functionality of the latest SPARC(R) and x86 based systems.

I talked with Larry Wake, Group Marketing Manager, Solaris Software, about what is new and exciting in this Solaris 10 10/09 update. Listen to the short podcast for the details.


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 Jul 17, 2009

Interview with OpenSolaris Enthusiast Octave Orgeron


Reviews Interactive recently spoke with OpenSolaris enthusiast and influential blogger Octave Orgeron about the new OpenSolaris 2009.06 release. Octave is a Systems Architect with more than a decade of professional experience in designing, deploying and supporting Solaris solutions for the enterprise. He has been involved with OpenSolaris since the beginning and actively contributes to the OpenSolaris Logical Domains (LDoms) community through blog posts, articles and support.

Octave discussed the new features in OpenSolaris 2009.06 stating "I've found that the desktop integration and increasing amounts of IPS packages to be very helpful and productive for me." Octave also said that Crossbow and Xen have been "of great interest to me" on the virtualization front. However, he claimed the biggest enhancement personally was the SPARC support because of the work and testing he does on the SPARC platform.

Octave also gave his opinion on what the future holds for OpenSolaris, noting that although much of the focus has been on the desktop and user experience, he feels more emphasis needs to be placed on the provisioning, server administration, and support of the SPARC platform. He feels that "doing so will help bring OpenSolaris into the Data Center and help the transition from Solaris 10 to whatever the next product version will be named."
Octave Orgeron
Octave Orgeron
Octave is currently writing a book about Solaris/OpenSolaris LDoms and hopes to keep on contributing in this area. He also plans to start work on projects to address system administration needs and concerns with the long-term goal of helping out with Containers and Xen.

The complete interview with Octave can be found here.

Thursday Jun 25, 2009

eWEEK: Network Virtualization Stands Out in OpenSolaris 2009.06


eWEEK's Jason Brooks tested OpenSolaris 2009.06, as a means to grab a "sneak peek at what's coming down the pike in Solaris." He found Crossbow network virtualization as the "most compelling feature" of OpenSolaris 2009.06. Overall, he was impressed with its flexibility and functionality, and used Crossbow to create "a virtual network with a pair of host systems and a router system" during his testing.
OpenSolaris
Jason also noted that he found OpenSolaris to be very accessible for new users, "such as those accustomed to using Linux." He also highlighted improvements in performance and functionality of OpenSolaris' software packaging system, which "now consumes less memory and boasts a faster start-up time" for the graphical package manager.

Jason was a bit critical about VirtualBox support of OpenSolaris as a host OS. However, he pointed out that should VirtualBox take fuller advantage of OpenSolaris-specific features, "the combination of VirtualBox and Crossbow could make OpenSolaris the go-to host environment for Sun's desktop virtualization product."

Wednesday Jun 24, 2009

Last Week's OpenSolaris Reviews


1. OpenSolaris automated installs - WilliamHathaway.com, 6/21
Bill Hathaway reviewed the OpenSolaris automated installer utility, and shared his source code and instructions. He concluded, "I was happy that it was relatively straightforward to get working, but I think it will be a while before the system has as much flexibility for customizing installs as Jumpstart."
OpenSolaris
2. OpenSolaris on the ThinkPad -- Solaris Jedi, 6/21
Blogger Christopher Hubbell posted about his early interactions with OpenSolaris on his laptop, saying he was excited about using OpenSolaris after being dissatisfied with Windows and Ubuntu. Chris concluded, "At the moment everything I do, including web browsing works well and is responsive under only 1GB ram and a 1.1 GHz processor. Sweet."

3. Configuring jumpstart to install Solaris on a ZFS root -- Blog O'Matty, 6/21
Blogger Matty created a ZFS root pool and associated file systems, and shared the code for how he did it. He also noted that "it's nice having the various ZFS features (checksums, snapshots, compression, etc.) available in the root pool!"

4. Solaris Zones Parallel Patching -- Lildude.co.uk, 6/19
The blogger reviewed the Solaris 10 Zones Parallel Patching feature, saying that the getting functionality from the feature is simple and leads to "significant performance gains in patching operations."

5. OpenSolaris Receives New X Server, Mesa -- Phoronix, 6/18
Phoronix's Michael Larabel said that the newly released OpenSolaris SXCE Build 116 has an updated X stack, and brings in X Server 1.6 and Mesa 7.4.

6. OpenSolaris 2009.06 -- Technology Geeks' Heaven, 6/23
Blogger Ananth Gouri posted instructions for installing OpenSolaris 2009.06, noting that he "could get the Desktop and I could check my Gmail too using Firefox and most of the other applications seem to work flawlessly."

7. Solaris 2009.06 (and 2008.10) on an HP nc4010 Laptop -- UNIX Administratosphere, 6/17
Blogger David said he updated to Solaris 2009.06, and while he found it to be a smooth install, he found installing from text mode undocumented. He shared a few steps that helped his install.

Friday Jun 12, 2009

Italian medical foundation boosts health of its storage system with Sun solution


The Gabriele Monasterio Foundation was founded in Pisa, Italy in 2007. The foundation assists doctors and researchers across Italy who are performing cutting-edge medical research, and provides IT systems to help them with their work. Recently, the foundation realized the existing storage environment for image data was quickly reaching its limitations with no way to increase capacity.

The foundation wanted to implement a new storage infrastructure that offered greater capacity while keeping management simple. It also aimed to reduce energy consumption and costs in support of its efforts to be recognized as an environmentally friendly organization. The foundation chose Sun over other leading vendors, HP and IBM, with a solution that was 40% less expensive than the alternatives.

The new Sun storage environment is based on the Sun Fire X4150 and Sun Fire X4500 servers, which are both running the Solaris 10 Operating System. The foundation switched its core database from a PostgreSQL to MySQL 5.0, and bought a series of Sun Ultra 24 workstations and a Sun Fire X2100 M2 server for its research laboratories. A local Sun partner supported the installation, and Sun Services provided a week-long training course so the IT team had the skills necessary to take full advantage of the new technology.

Paolo Marcheschi, manager of the Operating Unit of Computer Science Technologies at the Gabriele Monasterio Foundation says “We believe that the Solaris Operating System is demonstrably ahead with respect to Linux. Plus, the combination of Solaris ZFS and Solaris Containers for virtualization has given us a simple-to-manage and scalable storage environment to support the foundation long-term.”

Check out the complete details here.

Thursday Jun 11, 2009

OpenSolaris 2009.06 Review in Ars Technica


Ars Technica's Ryan Paul examined OpenSolaris noting that this third major release "introduces support for SPARC hardware and also brings improved Windows interoperability and advanced virtualization capabilities. Along with 2009.06, Sun is also announcing the first-ever release of the OpenSolaris ARM port, which could bring the operating system to mobile devices."
OpenSolaris
Ryan highlighted the increase in prepackaged software to 2009.06 as well as the introduction of Project Crossbow and time slider. "The time slider, which is probably my favorite OpenSolaris feature, got several enhancements in 2009.06. The new version has a button for manually initiating a snapshot and has support for deleting snapshots. There is also a new tool for exploring the version history of an individual file," he noted.

The reviewer then turned his attention to the OpenSolaris port for the ARM architecture, providing some history as well as the steps the project has taken with 2009.06. "The OpenSolaris ARM port is also a promising development that illustrates the growing versatility of the operating system," Ryan concluded.

Tuesday Jun 09, 2009

OpenSolaris in ZDNet, Solaris Zones in Linux Journal


ZDNet’s Jason Perlow took a first look at the latest release of OpenSolaris and blogged about his findings. Overall, he was quite pleased with what he saw, noting “the June 2009 (2009.06) release of OpenSolaris provides a solid Open Source GNOME desktop experience like that of a modern Linux distribution combined with the scalability and stability of UNIX. OpenSolaris
Jason stated that this “evolutionary” build of Sun’s OS delivers a refresh of all major open source packages and provides a “comparable user experience to most Linux distributions.” He went on differentiate today’s modern Linux distributions from OpenSolaris, which “comes from a commercial UNIX pedigree and blends both mature UNIX SVR4 kernel code developed by Sun Microsystems for its Solaris 10 enterprise server OS with a mix of code which was originally proprietary.”

Jason concludes that this mix of enterprise class features, open source tools and binaries offers “the best of both worlds.” He goes on to highlight OpenSolaris attributes such as stability, scalability in the context of processor, ZFS and networking support in the OS.

His final conclusion: “OpenSolaris 2006.09 is indeed a significant release for the project and is an excellent enterprise workstation and server OS, and I’m looking forward to tracking future progress of the developers working on it.


In a recent edition of Linux Journal, Victor Burns provides an in-depth how-to article on Solaris Zones. In the piece, he showcased how his company, Texas Instruments, has used Solaris Containers to combine Linux and Solaris resources together within one physical environment. He noted, “when lx branded zones are used in conjunction with the ZFS (Zeta-byte File System), Linux environments are able to do more, faster.” Victor began with some background on zones, introduced and presented the necessary tools and detailed each step in the zone management process.

Monday Jun 08, 2009

At a Glance: Last week's OpenSolaris, JavaFX and NetBeans Reviews


OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris 2009.06 received positive hands-on reviews this week, with Phoronix’s Michael Larabel concluding, “We have been testing out OpenSolaris 2009.06 this morning and so far, it looks like a nice update.” Michael also posted a benchmark review of OpenSolaris 2009.06 compared with OpenSolaris 2008.11, finding improvements across the board. OpenSolaris
Engineers from Intel and IBM gave rave reviews of both OS’s, with Intel software engineering manager David Stewart saying, “Kudos to whomever set up the web infrastructure for day-of-launch [of OpenSolaris 2009.06]. (I think Intel could learn something from you guys).” IBM expert Ken Milbert discussed benefits of Solaris 10, noting it “compares favorably in many ways to JFS2 from AIX and VxFs from HP.”


JavaFX
JavaFX
JavaFX 1.2 received a strong welcome from developer bloggers this week. The JavaFX Journey blogger wrote, “The code is getting better and better…If they keep up these performance increases, no one will be able to touch them.” Jethro Grassie echoed this when he said that the update to JavaFX is “just what I was hoping for and more.” In regards to specific product features, the blogger of Exploding Pixels wrote that he was “happy to see many more UI controls included in this latest release of JavaFX.”


NetBeans
NetBeans maintained a strong presence among developers, starting with blogger Logan who said, “Netbeans it's very easy to define your own templates…I've recently picked up Netbeans 6.7 RC1 and will be actively using it for my JRuby/Ruby projects.” NetBeans
Blogger Wille said, “When switching to NetBeans I was pleasantly surprised by how its UI had turned, well, modern.” Finally, another blogger discussed the top features he found in NetBeans that allowed him to become “instantly productive.”

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.

Tuesday May 12, 2009

At a Glance: Last Week's OpenSolaris, VirtualBox and NetBeans Reviews


OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris and ZFS had blogs buzzing last week, starting off with a look at OpenSolaris 2009.06 from Phoronix’s Michael Larabel who called out several feature improvements. Michael highlighted the Image Packaging System, ZFS snapshot time-slider and new desktop artwork, as well as saying the new “Firefox package is bleeding edge.” OpenSolaris
Blogger Simon shared an extensive post about his experiences using Solaris and ZFS on a home fileserver, concluding that he “learnt a lot over the last year about ZFS, and using it has convinced me that I made the right choice in selecting both Solaris and ZFS.”

Gabe Reys, a Solaris systems administrator for a multi-national company, published almost 40 posts to date. His topics include everything from helpful tips on using global and non-global zones in Solaris, to managing ZFS filesystems, to basic and advanced uses of DTrace.


VirtualBox
Sun xVM VirtualBox
VirtualBox 2.2 continued to garner positive blogger reviews this week, as Brighthub’s Steve Mallard gave VirtualBox a 5 out of 5 rating in his review that said installation was “straightforward and easy.” Steve also noted that, “VirtualBox has dozens of options and features found in virtualization software that cost hundreds of dollars…the value of virtualization cannot be stressed enough.”

Blogger Tom Puleo said he was really happy with VirtualBox, and “when given the chance, will choose it over Virtual PC or VMware.” He said he liked VirtualBox because it is “fast” and “great for day to day use.”

Blogger Carl reported that he has experimented with a lot of virtualization software and had “come to like VirtualBox best.” After switching his Windows XP virtual machine from VMware to VirtualBox, Carl says “I'm not likely to switch back from VirtualBox any time soon.”


NetBeans
NetBeans 6.7 was the focus of several positive reviews this week, with Dean at Grails Blog saying that the 6.7 Beta is a great release for the Grails community. Dean noted, “NetBeans' support of Grails functionality is nearly on par with that of IntelliJ 8.1.”
NetBeans
The blogger from cld.blog-city.com stated that the new release of NetBeans has excellent support for PHP, and highlighted key aspects such as syntax highlighting, a navigator, and code folding, as well as “nice support for PHP debugging.”

Blogger Brian Silberbauer discussed how when he’s teaching a course on JEE, he begins with NetBeans. He noted, “This is a great help to the students as it gives them the overview of what we will be working with and shows them how quick and easy it is to create a JEE application in NetBeans - It takes the complexity fear out of them (to a certain extent).”

Saturday May 09, 2009

The Storage Architect's Amber Road Review -- Part II


Amber Road

Hybrid Storage Pool Model for Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System Family

In his continuing series, Chris Evans of The Storage Architect blog took another in-depth look at the Amber Road platform. In this post, he turned his sights on the disk components of the hardware, specifically looking at the use of flash (SSD) drives and ZFS to produce a commodity storage device.

Chris began with a primer on ZFS, sharing the basic concepts and bringing the filesystem features to life and what they bring to the Amber Road platform. He also provided an overview of the Unified Storage System's cache architecture, noting the adaptive replacement cache and the ZFS intent log, and the fault tolerance and performance these features offer the 7000 series.

Chris picked up the core difference between Amber Road and traditional storage devices. "In a typical general storage array there will be LUNs presented to hosts which are very active, some moderately active and some totally inactive." He noted that Amber Road provides and alternative to the traditional "Long Tail" model, highlighting "fronting disk access with SSD ensures that high performance is dynamically provided to LUNs as it is needed."

Overall, Chris is positive about the architectural choices made for Amber Road and was unable to find fault via his evaluation. "I can say that in the testing I performed, the array coped easily with the workload I threw at it," he stated.

Chris' next post will be an in-depth look at the analytics provided by Amber Road and how it allows detailed device reporting.

Monday Apr 20, 2009

At a Glance: Last week's JavaFX, OpenSolaris and MySQL reviews


JavaFX
JavaFX continued its strong introduction to the developer blogs. IBM developer/blogger Bob Balfe called JavaFX the "most pervasive platform in the world," and discussed it being an Adobe Flash killer. He concluded saying, "I am sure we will be hearing more about JavaFX in the near future." The blogger from Softified gave a thorough introduction to JavaFX, as well as tips for downloading, coding, and sample applications.
JavaFX

OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris
OpenSolaris and ZFS received positive praise from bloggers this week. The blogger from Me, Myself and I said that the Solaris version of the Cg Toolkit was a "nice Solaris package" that worked "flawlessly" in OpenSolaris. He also noted he "can't wait for the native Skype port, especially for OpenSolaris." Blogger Teodor Milkov discussed operating systems supporting DTrace, highlighting Solaris and OpenSolaris. After installing he said that "everything was smooth... I was thinking about playing with ZFS these days anyway."

MySQL
MySQL use in the enterprise was the focus of a post from Enterprise Systems this week, discussing the scalability of MySQL for business use. Author Richard Cooley said that "MySQL is scalable if you look at the entire architecture and not just at the database tier," noting that prominent MySQL users include Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and WordPress. "If these companies can run portions of their companies on MySQL so can you."
Sun MySQL

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