If you look at the other recent posts in this category I have been looking at Solaris and SunRays recently.
Tonight, I decided to go another step and cost a working solution. First scenario is quite simple. A server with 5 SunRays attached. The server to also replace an existing Linux server with Samba for 15 Windows clients, and approx 6 Java web applications (simple servlets using Firebird and MySQL databases).
Now I start looking at the options to meet this scenario and this is where the problems start. Start by looking at the order page for SunRays on the only UK online reseller stocking them. The key problems with this are
- As you add each item to the shopping basket and then continue shopping you keep going back to the top level of the shop. Ok so use the Back button
- Now why in the UK shop is there not a standard UK bundle with UK keyboard, UK Power cord and SunRay 1G, the UK country kit is shown as the 9th item (nice price of 0 though)> A single 1g without monitor means adding the UK kit and the 1G (item 31 in the list) to the basket separately.
- Then I need a monitor unless I choose either the 24″ (drool) or the 19″. Try finding a 17& TFT monitor in the shop (tip entering “17 inch monitor” in the search won’t help you much).
Ok, now we have the price for the SunRays, guess we will need the SunRay server software. H’mm what is it I need from the appropriate page? If I am buying 5 SunRays, why can’t it automatically suggest the appropriate Server licenses? Anyway it is quite confusing. Do I need a CECIS-200-992S per SunRay and just one CECMS-200C99MS. Is CECIS-992S-LIC just the support to add on top, or is that CECIS-992S-1PR or CECIS-992S-1ST or CECIS-992S-3PR or CECIS-992S-3ST (note no comparison tables, no suggested combinations, no links to explain what Standard Support and Premium support mean).
OK lets assume I guess and hope the Sun guys will take pity on me if I get it wrong. Now I need the server. Oh no, so much choice. H’mm I can have 3 processor architectures (I think the SunRay server release in testing will work on all 3). So do I go for x86 Sun Fire V60x Server, AMD Opteron Sun Fire V20z Server, Sparc Sun Fire V250 Server. Again I can’t find any comparison tables so end up hunting through lots of long listings crowded by things like a “Cisco Catalyst 3750 1RU 24-port Gigabit-Ethernet switch” on the Sun Fire V60x Server page.
That is where I have given up for the moment. I can’t see how to choose between these server options. All our own software is written in Java so I guess all should be OK (assuming that the database servers run on all 3 architectures) on all the servers. But which is going to give the best options for low initial cost, best performance, greatest expansion etc.
Now if I were buying for a large data centre I doubt there would be a problem. I could very quickly get a Sun guru down to advise me. But this is low level basic stuff, it should be straight forward commodity standard small office packages. In some ways I am attracted to the flexibility of Solaris and the multiple processor options are a good example of that flexibility. But the Sun catalogue needs a lot of work to make it friendly and helpful.
Maybe this scenario is not traditionally typical Sun customer, but Jonathan does keep telling us he wants the volume and there are a lot of us (small companies) out there.
Oh and by the way, just an aside really, is the iForce VPN/Firewall Appliance available online or in the UK. I can’t find it.