Vacation from overload

By Anne Chen  |  Posted 2005-11-07 Print this article Print

Last month, Transat replaced the Sun Fire 6500s with the two Sun Fire 6900s in the production environment.

Once the peak holiday season is over, in January, the company will re-evaluate its performance and capacity needs and decide whether to upgrade all processors to the new UltraSPARC IV+ chips or to run a mix of UltraSPARC IV+ and UltraSPARC IV chips. Because the server architecture supports different types of chips on the same system, few adjustments will have to be made if Transat does go the hybrid route.

"The investment we have right now will be maintained, and when we add more capacity to our systems, well simply add twice as much power without increasing our licensing costs," Guillemette said. "This is of direct financial benefit to us because there is no forklift upgrade—we can just keep on adding new technology."

Guillemette and Babin are now beta testing a Sun Fire V890 server with the UltraSPARC IV+ chip and are using the test results to gauge performance in their specific environment. So far, Guillemette and Babin said that they have been happy with the performance.

To ensure that the UltraSPARC IV+-based server would fit well in the Transat production computing environment—and that upgrades would not disrupt operations—Guillemette and Babin deployed the V890 server in a test environment. Once the system was up, they configured the database and reservations application on the server to test their functionality.

In benchmarking tests, the V890 server with UltraSPARC IV+ was able to conduct transactions in about half the time it took the Sun Fire 6900 servers with the UltraSPARC IV to finish the same job. "Sun says the UltraSPARC IV+ will provide twice the performance of the UltraSPARC IV, and were getting close to that," Guillemette said. "In a compute-intensive environment, it seems we would get that kind of performance."

Guillemette said he hopes to upgrade in the near future from Solaris 9 to Solaris 10 to take advantage of the newer operating systems performance increases. The Logitours application is not yet certified for Solaris 10, and Guillemette said Accovia may be asked to participate with Transat in the certification process. In the meantime, Transat is planning to migrate its Informix database servers onto Solaris 10 as soon as the IBM application is fully certified.

"The initial configuration of the 6900s will satisfy our needs for this year, and when peak season is over, we will simply order additional CPUs and add them into the same box," Guillemette said. "The 6900 servers with UltraSPARC IV+ will last at least three years in our environment if the load continues to grow by about 20 percent a year."

Senior Writer Anne Chen can be contacted at

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses. Next Page: Case file.

As a senior writer for eWEEK Labs, Anne writes articles pertaining to IT professionals and the best practices for technology implementation. Anne covers the deployment issues and the business drivers related to technologies including databases, wireless, security and network operating systems. Anne joined eWeek in 1999 as a writer for eWeek's eBiz Strategies section before moving over to Labs in 2001. Prior to eWeek, she covered business and technology at the San Jose Mercury News and at the Contra Costa Times.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel