Donnerstag Jul 23, 2009

Munich Business Run B2RUN 2009

Amidst violent thunderstorms tonight the Munich Business Run B2RUN 2009 took place in the olympic park of Munich. Lightning, thunder and rain just before the start - how fitting for this year's valiant Sun Runners team! Lightning and thunder subsided, the rain stayed with us. Did I mention that I love to run in drizzle rain?
Well, fortunately Sun HR had equipped us with a second set of shirts to warm the exhausted and wet heroes after the run. So we hat violent Red during the contest, and calming warming Green afterwards.

Klick on "Firmenlauf 2009" under the picture below to get the whole story:

Von Firmenlauf 2009

Sonntag Jun 01, 2008

Windows on a wireless Sun Ray

Small computers a neat, but if you want to attach a real keyboard and a real monitor to something, ultra thin clients are the way to go. For a thin client, the thinner and dumber the better, because that saves on ressources building, running and recycling the box, not to forget administrative simpleness.

At work, I use a Sun Ray Ultra Thin Client daily (still the same box as eight years ago). The latest generation comes in a package even smaller and consumes only 9 Watts (measured at the 240V german power grid) of precious energy. So I wanted one at home. But I didn't want an energy-guzzling frigging server to serve the little Sun Ray at home - we have Sun Ray servers in the office, let's use them (and share their energy consumption with others). Second: I only have wireless at home. Will that bandwidth be sufficient for the Sun Ray?

Answer first: Yes, it will be sufficient. Even with low signal (two stories from Sun Ray to my access point in the basement). Have a look at this picture, and you'll notice a couple of things:


First: A little box with blue LEDs. That an ASUS WL-330g which just converts 100base-T to Wireless. Works with the Sunray out-of-the-box.
Second: Isn't that Windows on that screen? Yes it is. I connected with VPN (built into the Sun Ray) to our Sun Solution Center in Munich. There we run a Windows service proudly hosted by VMWare VDI on Sun Fire x64 servers and delivered via Sun Secure Global Desktop. That setup would even allow me to transfer my session to a browser window on another device. Or I could just pull my Smartcard (seen on the left) and plug it into another Sunray configured to connect to the Solution Center on the Internet to transfer my session.

Next task: Connect via VPN to our internal Sun Ray Servers in the office. I want my Solaris environment back!

Samstag Nov 03, 2007

Unterschriftensammlung im Google-Zeitalter

13949712720901ForOSX - die einfachste Möglichkeit, das Mitmachweb zum Unterschriftensammeln zu benutzen. In diesem Fall für die Petition, Java 6 in Max OS X "Leopard" zu unterstützen.

88 Hits bis jetzt...

Dienstag Okt 24, 2006

Dawn of the Daus

Midnight. The Sun Office in Munich is abandoned, only a few servers are still awake. Only a few servers, and the dutiful System Administrator, a real System Hero. Enjoy the unsung adventures of this lonely hero: Dawn of the Daus, the Trailer and Episode I.


Coming soon: Episode II.

Have fun!

Dienstag Jun 27, 2006

Better than coffee: Inside Jack and More is More

What do you do while waiting for a benchmark on a Sun Fire T2000 to finish? Since the system may be too powerful to allow enough time for brewing a cup of coffee and drink it without burning your tongue, try watching these short and funny videos instead:
  • The famous Inside Jack Animation Series from 2004/2005 - Jack (Hi, my name is Jack, and I write code) daydreaming about Sun and Microsoft, Solaris 10, AMD and the V40z server. Watch out for Scott speaking Klingon
  • Followed by the More is More Video Series from 2005/2006 - The adventures of a heroic datacenter guy who does not use Sun Fire x64 servers, CoolThreads engineering miracles or Sun Storage

Tags:

Freitag Jun 23, 2006

Tech Tip Videos for CoolThreads Servers from Denis Sheahan

I already blogged about the experience of having Denis Sheahan for a whole day sharing his UltraSPARC T1 performance and tuning tips.
Now some of his tips are available as Tech Tip Videos. Eight pieces, each one of them five minutes long. Go watch them!

Tags:

Dienstag Jun 13, 2006

Sei ein Systemheld

Are you a blogging geek with a soft spot for cool Sun Technology? Is the only reason you didn't sign up yet to test a Sun System free for 60 days because you don't have time to play with it until you finished watching all sixty-something games of the FIFA world championchip? Then you can consider yourself being a real Systemheld, or system hero.


So how do you find other people playing with the same stuff, for example one of those new T2000 servers (my favourite topic, I admit)? Who in Germany has successfully implemented an iTunes Streaming Server with a Sun Fire T2000, who managed to get 100% utilization out of all 32 threads and where are the tools to measure that?


The answers to questions like these are typically buried somewhere in blogs. Those blogs are aggregated for the Systemhelden community. So go visit www.systemhelden.de and read what our heroes write about technology, soccer and all the rest of it. As a bonus, you will learn the german language as the webpage and most of the blogs are written in german, but: What's another language for a real system hero?


Tags:

Mittwoch Mai 31, 2006

UltraSPARC T1 Ask The Expert with Denis Sheahan

If you're running one of our cool new Sun Fire T1000 or T2000 CoolThreads Servers, you have to do three things:

1. Read Developing and Tuning Applications on UltraSPARC T1 Chip Multithreading Systems written by Denis Sheahan. When finished, read it again.

2. Check for updates and up-to-date Recommendations for various applications at the Sun Fire CoolThreads Try and Buy Resource page. If a question remains which is not answered there, you can ask our best experts via a web form - or -

3. Meet them in person. This is what customers, partners and Try & Buy testers did yesterday. Stefan, winner of the CoolThreads Performance Contest in May, was there (and beat me on blogging about the event...). Norbert from lokalisten.de was there. The system heroes of some real big customers were there. The system heroes of our best partners were there. Everybody already had their first experiences with UltraSPARC T1 servers and Solaris 10, so Dennis compressed a 3-day shedule into one day (heroes are heroes): Hardware, Solaris, Drivers, Applications, Experiences, Cool Tools and much more.

Check out this flickr photo stream on the event and do not hesitate to contact your Sun representative if you'd like to have such an event a little bit nearer to your location than Munich, Germany. Rumours are that Denis is currently busy dumping all his T1 knowledge and experience into the minds of local Sun folks all over the world.

Tags:

Mittwoch Mai 17, 2006

German Engineers testing the Sun Fire T2000

Redmonk Analyst James Governor said "I tend to trust Germans on engineering issues" when he reported the positive feedback from our Sun Fire T2000 Server Betatesters Strato and Fiducia last year.

So you bet the first thing our Sun Fire T2000 Server Try & Buy participants here in Germany did was carefully unwrapping the server package and inspecting the system how well all parts are physically engineered. As documented in their Blogs, the Sun Fire T2000 Server passed this test easily. After that of course, they went straight ahead into heavy application testing.

So here are the best Sun Fire T2000 Server Blogs from Germany so far:
  • The UltraSPARC T1 ("Niagara") based Sun Fire T2000 Server - Very detailled report from the Technical University of Aachen on UltraSPARC T1 for HPC workloads (those without floating point, of course)
  • Sunny Days - Stefan Rubner, Linux Guru, finds out that Solaris is not that different. 11 Chapters so far, with detailled benchmark spreadsheets and photos
  • Stress test Sun Fire T2000 - Thilo Hardt describes a shootout of a T2000 and an x86 Server with Auctioning Snipersoftware
  • Lokalisten T2000 Blog - The lokalisten.de is a fast growing social network site who were able to handle thousands of concurrently active users with one T2000.

Tags:

Mittwoch Dez 07, 2005

One of the best jobs to have at Sun



It's been an embarrasing long time since I posted my last blog (more than a year) - but I finally resolved to start blogging again.

In the meantime, I ran two Marathons (more on that in another blog) and changed jobs inside Sun: From Partner Development as part of Sun's Client Solutions organisation to local Product Marketing for Volume Servers in Germany. And that job was much fun in the last weeks, since we just announced the coolest servers on earth: The Sun Fire Servers based on the UltraSPARC T1 (nicknamed Niagara) processor.

So I had the honor of doing a 6-city Sales and Partner Training educating our Sales Reps and those of our Partners how to sell and position these beasts. After that, we did a Customer Roadshow (same 6 cities) telling our customers our whole UltraSPARC T1, UltraSPARC IV+, Solaris 10 story. As a mascot for UltraSPARC T1 we took a polar bear (since a polar bear is STRONG, EFFICIENT and COOL). Every customer got one cute little polar bear (with Sun logo) to take home to his children.

The best part both of the Sales Training and the Customer Roadshow was the amazement on people's faces that UltraSPARC T1 is not just cool "must-have" technology (which it is, just check out the blogs posted by the proud engineers), but solves real business needs: More power with less ressources (energy and space), so it saves money every minute.

Yesterday we performed our local launch event in Munich, Germany, doing a show for the press.

This show involved two cyclists, one lady cycling with 180 Watts (= Sun Fire T1000) versus one of our strongest servicemen cycling with 500 Watts (= Dual Xeon Server). To match web server performance compared to the Sun Fire T1000 , we tried to recruit three polar-bear-strong 500 Watt cyclists but only got one (Lance Amstrong was not in town).
See this blog by Thomas Cloer from the german magazine "Computerwoche" for a nice picture of the two heroic cyclists. The best part (next to the picture) is one sentence I have to translate: "Ich kann selbst bei reiflicher Ueœberlegung wirklich keinen PferdefussŸ entdecken bei den neuen CoolThreads-Servern" - "I really tried, but was unable to find a drawback with these new CoolThreads servers". Wow.

Freitag Aug 27, 2004

Multi-Booting Sun Java Workstations


As I have written in my last blog, you can do a lot of interesting things with a Sun Java Workstation. One of these things certainly is installing and running a lot of different operating systems: Solaris (soon to be 64bit), Linux in 32bit and 64bit flavours, and Windows. Setting up a multi-boot system for all these operating systems needs careful planning regarding bootloader configuration and order of OS installation.

I wanted to have these operating systems side by side:



After going through lot of installing and re-installing, the following outline worked for me:

  • Start with empty disk

  • Install Windows XP 64-bit on a primary partition (the installer allows you to create one) - Important: Format the partition with FAT32 filesystem, not NTFS!!!

  • Insert Sun Java Desktop System CD, use expert partitioner and create:

    • a second primary partition (for later Solaris installation), with no filesystem

    • a third primary partition (spared for later use), with no filesystem

    • an extented partition covering the rest of the disk, inside that one these logical partitions:

      • one /boot partition for Java Desktop System and the GRUB bootloader

      • one swap partition

      • a root partition with ext3 filesystem (not reiser, RHEL cannot read it)

    • Then install Sun Java Desktop System. It recognizes the Windows FAT32 partition and installs GRUB into the MBR. If the Windows filesystem would have been NTFS, it would be damaged now - FAT32 is OK

    • Now you have dual boot

    • Insert Solaris Express boot CD. It will offer the first empty primary partition as installation target

    • After installation, GRUB is gone and replaced with the Solaris boot manager which only knows primary partitions (and so the Sun Java Desktop System partition is hidden)

    • So re-run Sun Java Desktop System install CD, select update. Update updates no packages, but reinstalls GRUB

    • Boot Sun Java Desktop System, edit „/boot/grub/menu.lst“ to include Solaris again. The easiest way to do that is to copy the Windows part which is already there and change the device path accordingly („root (hd0,2)“, for example. See GRUB documentation)

    • Redhat installation follows the same schema. Boot with RedHat CD, create and install in a (newly created) extended partition and DO NOT let RedHat install its own GRUB

    • After Redhat installation, Sun Java Desktop System GRUB again starts, with Redhat hidden. So boot Sun Java Desktop System, modify menu.lst again. This time it's trickier, you have to find out the kernel name (Sun Java Desktop System just uses /boot/linuz, Redhat uses /boot/linuz-<kernel version>)

    • This can be repeated until the disk is full

    • Backup all partitions with System Rescue CD (unfortunately not yet available for Solaris partitions)



Mittwoch Aug 25, 2004

How to install Sun Java Desktop System with OpenGL support on Sun Opteron workstations

Constantin wrote a blog on what you can do with our shiny new Opteron workstations, the Sun Java Workstation W1100z and W2100z. High on that list was running serious 3D applications for MCAD like PTC's ProEngineer Wildfire 2.0 on Linux.

The W1100z and W2100z currently come with out-of-the-box support for RedHat Advanced Server 3, but I wanted to have a neat integrated office desktop to run my 3D applications and decided to use the Sun Java Desktop System instead.

The machine for this excercise was a Sun Java Worstation W1100z with NVIDIA FX3000 graphics card. I did not manage to do a graphical installation with Java Desktop System for this combination (only got garbage screen), but the text interface worked fine. After one hour, three CDs were installed, the system booted sucessfully, albeit in text mode only.

Next task: Setting up the FX3000 graphics card. There are no drivers for the FX3000 included in Java Desktop System, but NVIDIA has Linux drivers on their Linux driver webpage. The Sun Java Desktop System is based on SuSE Linux, so it is very important to follow the detail step-by-step instructions decribed on the Nvidia Installer HOWTO for SuSE Linux users (which is also linked on the NVIDIA Linux driver page). First, use „yast2“ to add the „binutils“ and „kernel-source“ packages to the Java Desktop System default installation. After that, follow the instructions given in the HOWTO for SuSE Linux 8.2.

Almost done. Now consult the Readme file which is available on the NVIDIA Linux driver website and check all symbolic links. My Java Desktop System installation had „/usr/lib/libGL.so“ pointing to some MESA (an OpenGL clone) but not the original NVIDIA OpenGL driver, for example. After correcting that, OpenGL application worked with no problems. The defaults worked for me, but for those of you who want to dig further, the Readme lists literally hundreds of options for the XF86Config file to fine tune the driver.

Montag Jun 28, 2004

Webstart Flash made my day

Wow, browsing through the blogs these days makes you think it's Java everywhere. Since even my mobile phone I got last month now carries Java (always reminding me "You promised to write your own small little Java program for me, don't you") that statement is absolutely true. But I gave up to code for a living the very same year Java took the world by storm (ironically the year I joined Sun), so I want to share some non-Java goodies with you here:
If you ever had to install or reset dozens of servers and have no time to waste, Webstart Flash is the tool you will love. It's been part of Solaris for some years now (since Solaris 8 07/01). What it does is to take a snapshot of one master machine which was installed, patched and configured before and then installing many more hosts using this snapshot as a blueprint. The installed hosts do not need to have the exact same hardware configuration, they get their own IP address and hostname, but otherwise their are identical clones of the original master host.
Why did this feature made my day? We were doing a Hands-On Sun Java System Portal Workshop for Sun partners last months, touring through Germany and Austria, one city a day, with a B1600 Blade-Shelf and ten little SPARC blades in it. Every group of participants had their own little blade to install Java Enterprise System on it during the workshop, play with it etc. At the end of the day, all blades had to be resetted to a state that the next participants the other day could start over again from scratch. Using Flash and one Blade as an Install Server, this task took just 20 minutes. Reinstalling ten hosts in just 20 minutes - it did not only made my day, but also gave me some healthy dose of sleep.
An eight-step guide to setting up a Webstart Flash server will be part of the next "Solaris 80:20" revision to be available on bigadmin soon.

Montag Jun 21, 2004

Ode to my SPARC laptops

When I joined Sun more than six years ago, I could choose between a SPARC workstation for my desk (that was before the golden SunRay age we now live in) and an Intel based laptop on the road or a SPARC laptop for both tasks. I immediately opted for the Tadpole 3000XT and did not regret my choice a single minute. Running Solaris 2.6! Having a portable Javastation server (that were my first sales calls)! Preparing presentations on the train (some german trains have power outlets next to the seats) and much more.
Well, the years went by, and StarOffice ressource requirements began to take its toll on the valiant 170MHz MicroSPARC CPU, Solaris 7 and 8 appeared on the market with no drivers for the Tadpole. Fortunately at CeBIT trade show in the year 2000, we spotted a small taiwanese company called Naturetech. They managed to squeeze almost an entire then brand-new Sun Blade 100 workstation into a nice laptop enclosure. No extra drivers needed, ready for Solaris 8, and an UltraSPARC CPU! Still no more than one hour of battery life - but hey, I already told you about the power outlets in the trains.
This is the machine I'm still using today. That is, until temptation grows too big to get an Opteron laptop running Solaris 10 64-bit with all bells and whistles...
Tadpole is still around: Today they sell a wide range of SPARC based laptops (one review here), including a (hold your breath) wireless SunRay laptop!

Freitag Jun 18, 2004

The Google supercomputer and Solaris

Look at this short weblog entry from Jon Udell at Infoworld: Google's supercomputer. It initially caught my attention because Jon states that Google does searches with their 100k small server cluster, but runs their business applications on Sun Servers.
Be sure to follow all links in that article an you'll find this great discussion or a white paper on Google's distributed filesystem. Very interesting read on a friday afternoon!
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