Tuesday Jan 17, 2012

ZFS secures your application

One of our ISV partner, a leading vendor in the financial services space, commonly recommends as deployment platform a commodity 2-socket Lintel server to minimize cost, but equipped with an internal RAID storage controller to increase the application uptime on such entry-level servers by mirroring the root disk. We recently worked with its professional services team to explore if we could improve on the solution, i.e. continuing to bring the cost down while increasing uptime.

The proposed solution was to use the Oracle Solaris 10 operating system and its ZFS file system in lieu of the hardware RAID to mirror the root hard drive. ZFS is a new kind of filesystem that provides simple administration, transactional semantics and immense scalability. ZFS natively supports all common RAID functionalities and also embeds advanced fonctionnalities in compression, encryption and snapshot, typically expected from proprietary high-end storage systems.

The benefits of the ZFS-based solution is …

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Monday Jan 09, 2012

Infovista VistaInsight for Networks shows 3.7x performance on Oracle

System management vendor InfoVista markets the VistaInsight for Networks® application to enable telco operators, service providers and large enterprises effectively meet performance and service level agreements of converged and next-generation communication networks. As part of our on-going technology partnership, InfoVista and Oracle ISV Engineering together ran a performance test campaign of VistaInsight for Networks® over Oracle Solaris and Sun CMT hardware. The two companies shared many common objectives when starting this project.

The most obvious was to improve the scalability and performance of VistaInsight for Networks® over Oracle's SPARC T-Series systems and thereby provide customers with a better price/performance ratio and a better ROI. From the onset, virtualization was considered a promising technology to improve scalability, thus testing VistaInsight for Networks® in the context of Oracle Solaris Zones was also a major milestone.

Second, InfoVista was interested in setting new limits in terms of the workload that its application can sustain, in response to the evolving needs of its customers.

Lastly, as the first improvements on computing scalability were delivered, it became obvious that the storage was the next critical component for the performance of the entire solution. A decision was then made to test the Oracle Solaris ZFS file system, the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance, and the SSD technology from Oracle to move to the next level of performance.

The result of this performance test campaign is a new Reference Architecture whitepaper that provides detailed information about the configuration tested, the tests executed and the results obtained. It clearly shows that VistaInsight for Networks® takes full advantage of the server, storage and virtualization technology provided by Oracle. By leveraging the Oracle Solaris Zones, Oracle Solaris ZFS, SSD and Sun ZFS Appliance storage, Infovista increased the throughput performance by more than 370%, meeting the highest expectations in terms of workload and performance while maintaining the cost in a very attractive range.

Learn all the details about this new Reference Architecture published on OTN.

Monday May 23, 2011

Leveraging a disaster recovery site for development - Part 2

In our previous post, we introduced the idea of using Disaster Recovery (DR) sites as a private cloud for hosting virtual development and testing environments. The solution we developped for an ISV partner of ours in the Healthcare sector looks like this.


The solution is based on the Zones and ZFS features of Oracle Solaris --available from Solaris 10 and up. Solaris Zones (a.k.a. Containers) are an operating system level virtualization technology that…

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Monday May 09, 2011

Leveraging a disaster recovery site for development - Part 1

As part of the software development lifecycle, the application testing environments are often overlooked and mostly left to the appreciation of each developer, who routinely end up using their own PC or laptop for that. The main advantage here is that it gives developers full control on the testing environment without interfering with other developers or worse, with the production system.

There are however some serious drawbacks with this method:

  • Installing and configuring the various layers of software is time consuming and unproductive. Not to mention that developers (rightfully) test a lot by messing around with their environment or data, so the burden of installing and configuring is a repeating one.
  • Developers are unable to leverage and test the scalability of their code on the hundreds of threads that modern production servers offer.
  • Copying hundreds of gigabytes from the production database to every laptop is not an option, leaving the developers test their code on small, often outdated, data sets.

With the advent of virtualization, using ready-to-boot virtual images of a fully pre-installed and configured application testing environment on an internal cloud has become…[Read More]

Wednesday Apr 07, 2010

Helia secures MySQL with ZFS

ParisLabs is a French Web 2.0 startup, that came out of the TELECOM ParisTech Entrepreneurs incubator. ParisLabs develops and markets a SaaS platform for building networking sites, built off a Java / MySQL stack. It is being used, among others, by the French-speaking professional networking site Helia, kinda Facebook meets Monster. Helia stood out of the pack last year and is now reaching 300K monthly unique visitors as of March 2010 --we wish them a continued success!

Paris Labs currently hosts the Helia service on a dedicated server at Dedibox, a leading French hoster. With a rapidly growing database, Helia needs to make frequent backups, to be able to recover from a disaster. So far, Helia had been using mysqldump to export the data into flat files. The exported files are then zipped, and sent over to a remote server. Apart from being a completely manual process, this process has a major downside: exporting a large database with mysqldump can take a long time, during which the database is stopped, putting the entire site off-line. Also, recovering a database after a disaster from dumped SQL files is a long process, which would create even more downtime for the service.

As a member of the Sun Startup Essentials program, ParisLabs connected with the Sun-Oracle ISV Engineering team to come up with a solution that would create an acceptable security level for their data backup strategy, with minimum service downtime and minimum hardware/software additions. We ruled out, to start with, the option of setting up a slave MySQL server to act as a hot backup, which meant a more complicated architecture, more administration and a bigger infrastructure cost that the start-up could not afford. Instead we explore the possibility to leverage the novel ZFS filesystem included in 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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