Feeds

Sun makes midframe servers more resilient

Feature upsell

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Sun Microsystems Inc has taken some of the high-end resiliency features it created for its "Starfire" Enterprise 10000 servers and improved upon in its "StarCat" Sun Fire 15000 and "StarKitty" Sun Fire 12000 servers and rolled them into its Sun Fire midrange line, which it often refers to as its midframe line because they offer so-called mainframe features in midrange machines,

Timothy Prickett Morgan writes

.

With the original midframe announcements back in March 2001, the dynamic domain partitioning technologies that originated in the Starfire machines were tweaked and rolled into the Sun Fire 3800 (eight-way), Sun Fire 4800 (12-way) and Sun Fire 6800 (24-way) servers. With the recent midframe announcements, Sun is adding two features, enhanced autorecovery and proactive self diagnostics, to these machines in an effort to differentiate these midframe servers from the value-class V series machines such as the V480 four-way and V880 eight-way machines, and the soon-to-be-announced V1280 12-way machine. Sun also hopes that these features will help the Sun Fire midframe line command a higher premium and sell better against competitive commercial Unix offerings from IBM Corp and Hewlett Packard Co.

The enhanced autorecovery technology, which is available as a firmware upgrade for the service processors at the heart of the Sun Fire 3800, 4800, and 6800 servers, debuted in the Starfire servers. In short, this new feature allows a machine with redundant service processors, which are in charge of monitoring the performance of the Sun Fire servers' components and providing the management interface to features such as dynamic domains, to automatically failover one service processor to another.

While the midframe machines ship with a single service processor as default, customers who want to increase the availability of their machines (in the event that a service processor fails) could buy a second service processor. But switching from one service processor to the other was largely a manual procedure. Enhanced autorecovery, which is a default feature in the Sun Fire 12000 and 15000 servers as well as the older Starfires, allows the failover of the service processor to happen automatically.

This feature is shipping in all new Sun Fire 3800, 4800, and 6800 servers as of last week, and is available for download for customers with existing machines. To use it, customers obviously have to buy a second service processor, which Sun says costs $12,000. Chris Kruell, group manager of Sun's Computer Systems Group, said that a lot of Sun Fire customers have these redundant service processors because they are using the machines to run mission-critical applications that cannot be offline.

The Starfire machines, said Kruell, had a rudimentary version of proactive self diagnosis, and Sun has improved on it with the Sun Fire 12000s and 15000s. This capability is being rolled down into the Sun Fire 3800, 4800, and 6800 machines now, too. This feature, which is also enabled by a firmware upgrade for the service processor in these machines, captures the history of key system components, logging performance, temperature, soft memory errors, and so forth so they can be used to fix crashes when they happen and maybe see that something is crashing before it does.

The data gathered by proactive self diagnosis firmware can be used by Sun technicians to identify components that might fail and replace them. Proactive self diagnosis does not, by the way, mean predictive failure analysis, which is a more sophisticated technology that would allow a server to take action to prevent a crash. Nonetheless, the dynamic memory, I/O, and CPU capabilities of the Sun Fire line coupled with this analysis means that companies or technicians working for them can get a machine up and running in a short time frame.

Both of these new features are supported on machines running either Solaris 8 or Solaris 9, and this is the case because these features function below the level of the operating system.

© ComputerWire

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
It's Big, it's Blue... it's simply FABLESS! IBM's chip-free future
Or why the reversal of globalisation ain't gonna 'appen
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Microsoft and Dell’s cloud in a box: Instant Azure for the data centre
A less painful way to run Microsoft’s private cloud
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
CAGE MATCH: Microsoft, Dell open co-located bit barns in Oz
Whole new species of XaaS spawning in the antipodes
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.