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Sun Studio compiler options – a beginners guide Comments Off on Sun Studio compiler options – a beginners guide

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Over at Sun’s HPC blog, Thierry Manfe has a nice blog up looking at compiler optimisation flags in the Sun Studio compiler. I try and use Sun Studio when building stuff on Solaris, because not only does it aid performance, but if you know what you’re doing you can use it to really optimise for your processor.

And that’s the problem – there are a whole raft of command line options, and if you’re just starting out you’re presented with a dizzying array of possible optimisations.

Theirry’s post discusses some of the obvious ‘quick win’s you can make, as well as covering their potential downsides. It covers such gems as -fast:

If you are in a rush, you can use the -fast option. What it really does is triggering a set of other options for maximum runtime performance.

Head on over to this page and have a read through the full post – it’s very handy and has some useful tips on building some really optimised code.

New home for orphaned Sun projects Comments Off on New home for orphaned Sun projects

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There was always going to be some fallout from the Oracle takeover of Sun – projects that were still in the development phase, technologies that weren’t making enough money – and there have been questions about how the open source casualties would continue.

Izumo Shinohara, a recently ex Sun employee, has setup a new site – Red Giant Phase – which aims to provide a new home for these orphaned projects.

Currently listed are projects like Wonderland, Dark Star, and Project DReaM, amongst others.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens to these open sourced projects now that they’re outside Sun – I wish them all the best.

Sun and Oracle – aftermath of the big event Comments Off on Sun and Oracle – aftermath of the big event

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Last week Oracle held a marathon 5 hour webcast session, where they laid out their plans for Sun and their technologies. Sun’s website now redirects to Oracle, and although all the old Sun website links are still live, it’s now Oracle through and through.

The webcast held no surprises, really. As I mentioned previously about the Sun/Oracle merger and Larry’s talk on Oracle’s use of Sun technology, Oracle weren’t going to ditch Sun’s hardware line. The analysts were full of hysterics and gloom, but I’ve yet to meet an analyst who has the slightest clue of what’s going on. They’re paid to make noise and sell ‘research’, not to know what they’re talking about.

As predicted, there’s more investment in Sun’s hardware line, including lots more tasty new CMT processors, and a scaling up of the line to larger multi-socket machines. The high end gear will continue, as will the partnership with Fujitsu. SPARC continues to get a lot of investment and love, and will be a big focus going forwards. Amen to that.

Pretty much all of the software stack will stay and get integrated with Oracle’s offerings. I note with distaste that Oracle’s crappy Internet Directory remains the ‘enterprise’ offering for LDAP and identity management, with Sun’s LDAP products being pushed at smaller deployments. On the OS side, it’s a bit of Linux, and Solaris, Solaris, Solaris – Oracle recognise it’s the best commercial UNIX currently on the market, and that the feature set is unmatched.

Storage lives on, with Sun’s excellent Amber Road Storge 7000 Unified Storage boxes becoming ZFS appliances. Particularly exciting is their integration into OEM – imagine simple management of RMAN backups to ZFS appliances, giving low level snapshots and all sorts of goodness. I can see a lot of places going for that in a big way.

The big question for me was around OpenSolaris. No mention of it at all. It’s Open Source – that particular cat is out of the bag, and it’s not going away. So the question is what sort of effort will Oracle put behind it? Lots of new, OpenSolaris specific features – the new IPS packaging system and the Automated Installer – have potential, but aren’t up to scratch yet, and quite frankly don’t play well with existing Solaris infrastructure.

My bet is we’ll see less effort in re-inventing the wheel, and more focus on making OpenSolaris a more palatable Solaris 11. There’s a big Solaris installed base out there, and the focus on x86 and new features has so far meant that OpenSolaris isn’t really a credible upgrade path.

As I expected when I first heard the news, Oracle are going to be leveraging Sun’s technology and services and own and optimise the entire stack, from the silicon up to the application. This gives them a chance to really tune everything and to go head to head with IBM. May you live in interesting times, as they say.

Obviously there’s more, lots more. Oracle have handily posted up each section of the webcast so you can pick and choose which session you want to watch here. There are also a series of special short webcasts which focus on specific product areas – you can view them all here.

PS: as a side note, Thomas Kurian, who presented the Software Strategy webcast, managed to give one of the dullest presentations I’ve seen. Seriously, that was a really important session, but I almost nodded off a couple of times. Dire.

Sun Grid Engine for Dummies Comments Off on Sun Grid Engine for Dummies

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DanT has posted up a fantastic introduction to Sun Grid Engine. Most discussions of Grid Engine assume a decent level of knowledge of clustering and distributed load balancing – fine if you know your stuff, not so good if you want to get up to speed with little prior knowledge.

Dan’s post breaks down the concepts behind Grid Engine and provides an excellent explanation on how and why it works. This is a really great resource and is well worth a read through – even if you’re not planning on deploying a Grid Engine solution, it’s well worth understanding the technology and how it works.

Sun HPC Consortium presentations and videos posted Comments Off on Sun HPC Consortium presentations and videos posted

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Alongside the recent SC09 show, Sun ran their HPC Consortium, which featured a number of interesting technical presentations from Sun and their customers. Obviously there was a big focus on using technologies within HPC, but discussions on things like file system roadmaps and how to scale performance with multi-chip hardware solutions are just as relevant to business as they are to HPC.

So it’s great to see that Sun have posted PDFs of the presentations, and videos of the discussion panels, up at the HPC Consortium website.

Head on over to https://meeting-reg.com/sunhpcc/presentations.php to get the full list.

There’s a lot of good content there and some very interesting discussions.

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