Wednesday May 20, 2009


Open Repositories 2009

Greetings from Open Repositories 2009, the premier Open Source Archival and Repositories conference. Sun has a strong presence here, with lots of good interactions, and an exciting rollout of our Open Archive solution....

Oh. Wait. You say you don't know what a Repository is? You say it sounds like an embarrassing, unmentionable over-the-counter medication. Well, soothe thyself, gentle reader, it's nothing like that. Think of a repository as an online Library. A huge collection of digital data or documents. As human beings continue to create petabytes (1PB = 1 million GB) of data each and every day, it not only has to live somewhere, but almost always requires long-term storage. Forever. For the ages. A Real Long Time.

The trick, you see, is not just in storing the stuff. We can do that. We can stream data to disk and tape and optical media and eventually holographic cubes (oh, wait, I'm getting ahead of myself). The real Interesting Thing is not just storing it, but being able to intelligently access this data days, months or decades later. Intelligently. Quickly.

That's why we're here, along with developers, archivists and software architects. Sun is working closely with the Fedora (Commons) community, as well as University of Prince Edward Island. Look for more postings this week on this in greater detail. Until then, the gracious hospitality of downtown Atlanta awaits...

Wednesday Mar 11, 2009

DrupalCon DC Rewind

Amazingly, it was my very first DrupalCon, but that made it even more memorable! What an amazing, dynamic, welcoming, sharp, productive Community the Drupal bunch are. It was really a pleasure to attend, participate, soak it up and interact.

Others, including my colleagues Scott Mattoon and George Drapeau have done a good job at covering what happened, so I'll just mention what struck me in D.C. last week.

  • The Drupal Community is still very interested in, and welcoming of, what Sun can bring to the table. I suppose that means we're being Good Community Citizens. The most common question at the Sun Table in the Exhibit Hall was 'so, what is Sun's role in the Community'. Because of that, Scott covered all this goodness in the Sponsor Interview of Sun conducted by DrupalCon organizers this year.
  • Angelo gave a compelling BOF, mostly on DTrace -- too few people know about DTrace, ZFS, etc., and when they find out, they're excited!
  • When I arrived Tuesday to set up, a fellow was squatting at our table. I politely asked him if we could have the table, and at that time I recognized him as Victor Kane, author of the book I'd just purchased (and is just available), Leveraging Drupal - Getting Your Site Done Right. I do have to recommend this book as one of the best 'hands on'/practicum books for Drupal, and that honestly has nothing to do with the fact that I now have my very own autographed copy!
  • has two live Drupal sites on Postgres/Solaris/SPARC, and possibly two more on the way!

My biggest lasting impression: Sun remains a welcomed and productive member of the Drupal Community because we Listen to it, rather than Sell into it. Though we must constantly resist the corporate urge to treat Community as Potential Customer, there are significant benefits to be had.

P.S. 12 March: One big lasting thing: The Powers That Be in the Drupal Community are very serious about their assertion that the Drupal Core shouldn't be touched (and for good reason). The reason I personally will always remember this henceforth comes from the enduring line of the week:

"Every time someone hacks the core of Drupal, God kills a kitten."

Drupal In A Flash


Flash at Sun

No, really, this isn't a Marketing or Sales FluffPiece! I promise!

Today, Sun announces SSD drives for our servers. One of the proof points we used in support of this was the Drupal CMS. While Drupal 6 doesn't always stress the I/O subsystems themselves (or maybe because of it!), we went ahead to test some pseudo-real-world workloads against Drupal/PHP/Apache/MySQL/Solaris/ZFS. The results are posted today here in the Drupal-on-Sun Wiki site.

What did we find?

  1. As predicted, more performance benefits were observed with Read-only or Read-Write loads than Write-only (we populated a Drupal MySQL database from script)
  2. Up to 50% performance improvement was seen in complex Drupal workloads when using SSDs compared to traditional hard disks
  3. A most cost-effective ZFS Hybrid Storage Pool (utilizing both technologies) provides more modest performance gains for less money

Hybrid Storage PoolExpected, yes, but still good when it proves out!

Intelligent site and database architectures will be able to take advantage of this technology in ways we've not yet envisioned, especially in a tiered approach that localized most-accessed data in the faster tiers (main memory, Flash/SSD, hard disk).

Thursday Mar 05, 2009

Birdwatching --- errrrrrr, Laptop-watching...

Shhh.... be vewwy, vewwy quiet... we-yah hunting laptops! Hehhehhhehehehehehehhhhhh...

As I strolled up and down the Drupal Sponsor table promenade this morning here at DrupalCon DC, it occurred to me to make note of the various Personal Computing Fauna about. Kinda like the Audubon Society bird counts. But not really.

A ten-minute walk was enough to capture the following variants in their natural habitat:

  • Macintoshus Numerous - 70.5%
  • Laptopus Win and Laptopus Lin - 26.5% (Subspecies Netbookulus - 3%)
  • OpenSolaris Rex - 3%
I am struck by the ubiquity of Apple -- as well the paucity of Netbooks -- in this vibrant, grass-roots community. Take this for what it's worth (or not worth, as the case may be).

Wednesday Mar 04, 2009

Acquia @ DrupalCon DC

Sitting in the Acquia update presentation this afternoon. What are they up to?

  • Announced a new CEO today (Tom Erickson) 
  • 40 customer and 50 partners so far
  • The Acquia Drupal Stack Installer ("DAMP)" (Note to Acquia: when is this available for OpenSolaris?)
  • New Acquia Themes
  • Acquia Search (based on Apache Solr)

Greetings from DrupalCon DC!

We're on the ground at DrupalCon DC in Washington, D.C.... five of us from Sun:

  • Eric Reid, Open Source Communities Engineering
  • Scott Mattoon, Western Region Sales
  • George Drapeau, Open Source Communities Engineering
  • Angelo Rajadurai, Startup Essentional Evangelist
  • Steve Quan, Systems Marketing

Well, Scott should be here today if he's recovered from food poisoning (eep!)...

Washington D.C. is cold and clear today, and the Convention Center is packed with 1400 Drupalistas. Many old friends, many friendly people coming up to talk with us. Creamy goodness, to be sure.

This week, my goals are to:

  1. Get a sense for what Sun can do for the Community this year
  2. Learn more about Drupal 7
  3. Get out the word on Sun's Cool Things (including tomorrow's Sun presentation)
  4. Huddle with Acquia to help tighten up the partnership

Are you here in D.C. at Drupalcon? Come by and say Hi! If you come by with coffee, even better - if you come with beers, even better still!!

Tuesday Feb 10, 2009

Glassfish Goodness - Yes, Virginia, There's Still An AMP Stack!

Today Sun is announcing our Glassfish Portfolio, and while this link and other blogs explain it much better than I ever could, I did want to clarify a few things about one piece of this Portfolio. Specifically, the newly-announced Sun Glassfish Web Stack....

Who Should Care?

Anyone who develops or uses applications atop AMP stacks.

What Does It Get Me?

The best performing, best integrated AMP stack for Solaris, OpenSolaris and Linux.

What Does It Have To Do With Glassfish?

No doubt, the Glassfish App Server is quite cool, a great example of Open Sourced-ness, and a very tight Application Server. And it's what we all think of when we hear the word 'Glassfish'. As of today, however, Glassfish means much more.

All that said, just keep these points in mind:

  • Sun Glassfish Web Stack is simply a rename of what we were calling 'Web  Stack'
  • ...which, in turn, was the newer, improved version of what was before called 'CoolStack'

Remember, all the goodness, cool new name!

Monday Feb 09, 2009

Join us at DrupalCon!



Come see us at DrupalCon DC March 4-7!

Sun is a Gold Sponsor, is presenting a session,and will have its hands in 1-2 BOF sessions.



Friday Jan 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Drupal!


Eight years ago today, Drupal 1.0.0 was released. How far it's come!


Check out what we're doing with Drupal at



Tuesday Nov 18, 2008

Drupal Along the Amber Road...

Last week Sun announced the Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems (codenamed Amber Road). Because I was able to play with one of these puppies before its release, I thought I might useful to share my takeaways.

Um, what are these things really?  They're NAS-type storage appliances comprised of Sun server/storage hardware and Sun Open Source software stacks.

Why should I care? Aside from the incredible cool engineering inside (see here), these boxes impress me with:

  1)  OpenSolaris-based, which, among many other cool things, means ZFS top to bottom; reliable, scalable... it just works...

  2) Some very cool on-board analytics to tell you what's going on and what/how to tune it...

  3) Some pretty intuitive administration capabilities... again, it just works...

  4) Very good performance, thanks to ZFS and Flash drives... it just works fast...

What was that about Drupal? I tried it with Drupal 6, plus the Sun Coolstack (note: apps run on a server, not on the Amber Road box itself). You configure the thing as an NFS appliance or as an iSCSI target, tell MySQL to talk to it, then set up Drupal normally. While tuning takes place on the device itself or in MySQL, performance is good out of the box.

Again, it just works... are you detecting a theme here?

So, yes, this a very good start to Sun's OpenStorage line, and you can certainly read all the promo and marketing foo around it. I normally don't blog at Sun announcements, but given my very positive experience with, and appreciation of, these products, I felt a mention was in order.


Main Sequence: 1) an astronomy term denoting the lifecycle of a majority of known stars. 2) err @ Sun/Oracle: long-time (since 1988) Sun/Oracle veteran, still shining in an ever-changing high-tech universe


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