Mobile Tornado adopts Solaris features for better RAS and TCO
By Frederic Pariente on Mar 12, 2012
Mobile Tornado provides instant communication services for mobile devices, with a focus on enterprise workforce management. Its solutions include Push-To-Talk and Instant Locate, Alert & Message applications.
As a software developer, Mobile Tornado's main challenges are up-time --the applications are largely sold today into the homeland security and defense markets-- and scalability --during network peak usage. With these challenges in mind, and as part of the on-going engineering collaboration between Mobile Tornado and Oracle's ISV Engineering, we investigated which Oracle Solaris technologies would improve the application's availability and scalability while reducing the solution's TCO.
We looked at the following Oracle Solaris technologies: Solaris Cluster, ZFS and Zones.
Mobile Tornado was able to benefit from Oracle Solaris Cluster as follows. Solaris Cluster's automatic failure detection at every level --application, server, network-- reduces unplanned downtime, increases application uptime. It also enables application scalability during peak usage by offering a single IP address to manage the increased capacity of the application service; there is no disruption to the application for adding more systems to the cluster. Finally Solaris Cluster can fail-over the application to another server in case of maintenance, thus removing many sources of planned downtime.
Second, Mobile Tornado used the ZFS file system for storing the Oracle 11gR2 database files in order to secure the customer data. Indeed, ZFS provides end-to-end data integrity vs metadata integrity only for a traditional file system that Mobile Tornado was previously using. ZFS validates that each data block be verified against an independent checksum, after the data has arrived in memory, all of that without any performance degradation. Introduced in Solaris 10, ZFS is now the default file system in Oracle Solaris 11. Configuring Oracle Solaris ZFS for an Oracle Database is detailed in this whitepaper on OTN.
Finally, Mobile Tornado improved the TCO of its application by implementing the partitioning license model for the Oracle database on Solaris Zones a.k.a. Containers. This license model helps to reduce the Oracle Database license cost. Mobile Tornado implemented the capped container feature --the ability to cap CPU usage in a Zone-- and paid only for the needed CPUs. Under the previous architecture, Mobile Tornado was paying for all CPUs in the physical system although the Oracle DB may not make use of them all. Best practices for running Oracle Databases in Oracle Solaris Zones are given in this whitepaper. TCO was further reduced by running the Solaris Zones on powerful heavily-threaded SPARC T4 systems, allowing Mobile Tornado to consolidate its IPRS PTT server and the Oracle Database on the same machine.
"The usage of Solaris Zones in combination with advanced SPARC T4 CPUs allows Mobile Tornado to consolidate its IPRS PTT server and Oracle database in same machines, reducing TCO with higher level of performance."
Shlomo Birman, R&D Manager, Mobile Tornado
In conclusion, using unique Solaris technologies, Mobile Tornado was able to improve the high availability of its application, provide better workload
distribution for scaling the application and reduce its application's TCO on the Oracle hardware and software stack. If you are interested in what Solaris features can do for your application, we're listening.