new shiny toys but it isn’t all sunny for Sun

Our rack (well, half rack) of the new Sun T2000 servers has arrived. There is something rather cool about seeing prtdiag reporting 32 processors in a 2u machine 🙂

Location CPU Freq Implementation Mask
———— —– ——– ——————- —–
MB/CMP0/P0 0 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P1 1 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P2 2 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P3 3 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P4 4 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P5 5 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P6 6 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P7 7 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P8 8 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P9 9 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P10 10 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P11 11 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P12 12 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P13 13 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P14 14 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P15 15 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P16 16 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P17 17 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P18 18 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P19 19 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P20 20 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P21 21 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P22 22 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P23 23 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P24 24 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P25 25 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P26 26 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P27 27 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P28 28 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P29 29 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P30 30 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1
MB/CMP0/P31 31 1000 MHz SUNW,UltraSPARC-T1

Yeah, I know they aren’t *real* cpus but still, a few quick tests shows that a T2000 can well and truely flatten a speced up v240 🙂 Also, the x4100s that we have build with LVS to replace our problematic Extreme load balancers appear to be impressively meaty – attempts to stress them have failed to even produce a noticable load increase so far! Time to pull out the big guns and start thrashing them I guess 🙂
It’s nice to see in Jonathon Schwartz’s blog that Sun are turning around again (in the right direction this time!). Having always been a fan of Sun this is good news to me . However, from where I sit it isn’t all sunny. Yes, the new hardware is shiny and nice (hell, it even looks pretty – although the 3510 in the rack with the T2000s now looks ugly as hell – can we have a replacement silver front available please :-)) Yes, Solaris 10 is great and ZFS looks really neat – not had chance to play with that yet (please, make it bootable soon) but where Sun appear to be losing face at the moment is in the application side of things.

We have been running Messaging v6.x and calendar server for a couple of years now. We selected it knowing it was new and knowing there were some issues. However, 2 years on and we still have problems with it. The backends seem ok (not a surprise knowing their history – they are not exactly new) but the user experience is rocky at best.

Comms express sucks. Yes, it’s getting better but I’m not convinced that a product that has been out for a couple of years should still need to run several T patches beyond stable just to make (most of it) work properly. Similarly, the Outlook connector that we had hoped would be “just like using exchange” while improved hugely, it still a prime suspect in many odd, odd helpdesk queries. Yes, we ought to log all of them with support but a) it takes hours of our time to collate the logs etc that are required and b) once logged it seems that beyond the odd known bug most things just take ages once escalated to backline and eventually result in yet-another-Tpatch that we then end up with more downtime to install and often results in a whole new set of odd and obscure problems…

We are now coming up to the midway point in this deployment – a point were originally we were hoping to be building on the core software set that we now had (using access manager more widely, ldap becoming core naming service away from AD etc etc). As it stands, we are looking at a re-evaluation of where we want to be in a couple of years time. Given that Oracle Collab suite appears to be a non starter for a number of reasons the realistic options are stick it out with JES or move again but this time to Exchange.

Given senior managements view of JES I can only see one winner in that arguement – and I’m begining to think I agree 🙁

Yeah, JES5 will answer all of our problems I’m sure. Deploying a whole new load of code isn’t going to be a popular suggestion though (been there, got bitten. Repeatedly). Also, if the upgrade is anything like the move from 2004Q2 we will have sit through another 6 months of publicity sent to us saying how wonderful it is before the upgrade patches are actually available.

Note to Sun: when you have pissed off my director by installing buggy software please don’t send him loads of glossy brochures about how wonderful the new release is when it isn’t actually available to existing users. It really doesn’t help…

Finally, sort out the training *please*. We have been looking for a messaging 6 training course for 2 years now. There are still none available. Also, it winds me up slightly when suned keep chasing us about courses and as soon as I mention *Java* enterprise system they only hear the word Java and send me loads of details about courses on “Fundamentals of the Java Programming Language” or “Developing Applications for the J2EE Platform” (or maybe they are suggesting we have a crack at debugging the bloody thing ourselves?). The best we have had so far is

MSG-2379 covers the Sun Java System Messaging Server 6 product .Unfortunally there are no scheduled course dates.

Looking at the proposed course content it sounds interesting but a 3 day course that covers Messaging, Calendar and IM is really not going to be all that detailed. Still, it’s a start I guess (well, it would be if they actually scheduled one…).

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One Response to new shiny toys but it isn’t all sunny for Sun

  1. Hello – happened across your issue. Exchange has oodles of issues and horrors in its own right but no one fusses about them because it just “is”. However we have successfully run Lotus Domino 6.x on Solaris for several years and it has equivalent feature set to Exchange without much of the shortcomings. Plus you can develop excellent workflow applications in it should you desire to it puts Sharepoint to shame. Just an idea have a good day. Larry C

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