Thursday Jul 02, 2009

Sun Startup Essentials powers 6rounds video platform

GixOO is launching this week its 6rounds video communication service. The coolest web 2.0 venture I have seen in quite some time! As GixOO co-founder and COO Ilan Leibovich puts it, 6rounds is a rich, interactive and personalized video chat platform that takes shared experiences and real-time collaboration to a whole new level. 6rounds combines webcams, social activities, and interactive zones to offer its users an exciting variety of experiences that they enjoy and share together. The video experience present users with broad range of opportunities: from watching videos, playing real-time games, listening to music, co-facebooking or youtubing, to shopping together and beyond. Users are also encouraged to exchange gifts, start webcam effects and use the tips machine which provides ice-breakers and advice about their chat partner.




6rounds is the first product built on the GixOO live social platform, initially developped on the LAMP stack. As a member of the Sun Startup Essentials program, GixOO connected with Sun's ISV Engineering team to test the scalability of their platform on SAMP…

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Friday May 08, 2009

Portrix debugs live VoIP service using DTrace

Hamburg-based Portrix is providing and hosting the telephony software SmartDialer for a large German call center. SmartDialer is based on a Solaris port of the open-source Asterisk package. The application performs very well on the Sun Fire T2000 chosen for deployment --Solaris outperforms Linux at running Asterisk and Sparc CMT processors are ideally suited for highly multithreaded applications like Asterisk. In production however, SmartDialer experienced some stability issues after a couple of days of uptime, and a very high system time --up to 60%-- was seen on the machine. As a consequence, the quality of the VoIP connection dropped to the point that a reboot of the server was necessary. Oddly, restarting the application alone did not help.

As a member of the Sun Startup Essentials program, Portrix called upon Sun for additional guidance on the issue; this is how our ISV Engineering team got involved in this debugging effort. Unfortunately, there was no adequate load generator for the Portrix VoIP applications --it would have enabled us to reproduce the issue on a separate server-- and all analysis had to be done on the live production system. Quite a scary thought as we know that traditional debugging/profiling tools attach to the running process and momentarily stop it, as part of the procedure. In the best case, that means the call is interrupted for a second or two; in the worst case, the call is dropped and this was unacceptable to the customer.

Enters DTrace. DTrace is a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework for…

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Tuesday Apr 28, 2009

Performance monitoring using hardware counters : Releasing HAR 2.0

In 2001, our ISV Engineering group at Sun --f.k.a. Market Development Engineering-- released the first version of the Hardware Activity Reporter (HAR) tool for Solaris 8 and up. Starting with Solaris 8, Sun had begun to deliver public interfaces for the SPARC and x86 hardware performance counters --libcpc, to access CPU counters and libpctx, to track a process--, leading to a new generation of performance monitoring tools: the Solaris cpustat and cputrack commands, hardware-counter profiling in Sun Studio's Performance Analyzer, SPOT and HAR, to name a few.

HAR differs from other tools in the fact that it combines the low-level counts into higher-level metrics more useful to application programmers. Application programmers are typically interested in the following metrics: CPI, FLOPS, MIPS, address bus percentage utilization, cache miss rates, branch and branch miss rates, and stall rates. These metrics help in assessing the fair usage of available processing units, locating bottlenecks and guiding tuning efforts, when needed. Check out this SDN article on how to use HAR to identify performance bottlenecks and quantify code-tuning improvements through a couple of case studies in the fields of CFD and MCAD.

Since the release of Solaris 10, HAR 1.x had become somewhat obsolete as we stopped adding support for new processors after UltraSPARC IV and Pentium P6. Today, thanks to the work of Amir Javanshir, we are happy to announce the release 2.0 of HAR, featuring…
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Friday Nov 28, 2008

Coolthreads & Containers come to Comverse

"We evaluated the Sun Fire T1000 server for our product needs in Value-Added Services. Our benchmark results show significant overall performance gains over existing Sun servers. We are pleased with these results and will continue work with Sun to deploy CMT technologies in our next generation systems."
Alexander Katz, Director, Platforms Product Management, Comverse

At the time Sun released its first server line based on the revolutionary Chip Multi-Threading (CMT) a.k.a. CoolThreads processor design, Comverse was a long customer of traditional UltraSPARC systems from Sun. Over the years, they had learned to love the predictable performance of such a RISC processor pipeline, the reliability of Sun Netra servers (NEBS-certified for demanding Telco environments) and the guaranteed upward binary compatibility of the Solaris operating system. The latest supported configuration then, for the component of Comverse Messaging Alexander Katz was referring to, was 210/240-class UltraSparc3i-based systems running Solaris 9, and a typical customer deployment would include several of these servers.

In a permanent effort to strengthen customer loyalty and improve the price/performance of its solutions, Comverse challenged Sun Microsystems and our ISV Engineering group to gain an order of magnitude in price/performance for Messaging. The Telco industry had started to adopt Linux then so Lintel looked here like the default alternative and safe choice. Such a choice however was not leveraging the trust the customers had built in SPARC, the up-front cost of migrating from Solaris to Linux was high, and a me-too solution was not giving any competitive advantage to Comverse. So we introduced the Sun T-series systems and their CMT design, running Solaris 10...

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How open innovation and technology adoption translates to business value, with stories from our developer support work at Oracle's ISV Engineering.

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