Sun's 'Try Before You Buy' Program Wins Back DigiTar - InformationWeek

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Sun's 'Try Before You Buy' Program Wins Back DigiTar

The messaging services outsourcing company, once "anti-Sun," decided to consolidate on Solaris 10 and Sun's new T2000 servers after testing the hardware in advance.

DigiTar was "anti-Sun Microsystems" for many years when it came to buying technology. The messaging services outsourcing company had some bad experiences with the vendor's products in the past and wasn't eager to relive those days. But Sun is developing new customers and winning back old ones with its seven-month-old T2000 servers through its "try and buy" program.

DigiTar needed some convincing, but the messaging services outsourcer has recently adopted Sun's Solaris 10 operating system and consolidated on two T2000 servers. The move lets the company get the performance of "10 to 20 x86-based servers for the cost of only four," says Jason Williams, COO and CTO of DigiTar.

The transition began about a year ago, when DigiTar moved from a Linux operating system to Solaris 10, says Thomas Rampelberg, director of development for DigiTar.

"My first date with Sun happened in college where the computer science labs were running Sun systems on Solaris 8," Rampelberg says. "It was a painful experience. Putting Linux on a Sparc system four or five years ago was about like pulling teeth, but it wasn't as bad an experience as trying to use Solaris 8."

DigiTar decided to give Sun another chance last year after hearing good reviews for its Solaris 10 release. Rampelberg says he found a "laundry list" of features and tools that made the new release of Solaris easier to use and a good fit for the company's infrastructure requirements.

After being sold on the abilities of Solaris 10, the company decided to see if Sun's claims about the new T2000 server, which is based on the eight-core UltraSparc T1 processor, held up to testing. Sun offers a 60-day "try and buy" program for its servers that gave DigiTar time to see how the new server might fit its needs, Williams says.

The T2000 did require some tuning to meet DigiTar's production requirements, but once it was working "it scaled incredibly compared to the dual-core Opteron servers we had been running," he says.

DigiTar has since purchased two T2000 servers and has consolidated the operation of 10 Hewlett-Packard servers based on Advanced Micro Device's Opteron processors onto each machine, with about 50% headroom left, Williams says.

"We were kind of an anti-Sun house for a long time because of our earlier experience with Solaris, and in the past Sun was expensive and the price-performance just wasn't there for their servers," he says. "When we put Solaris 10 and the T2000 into production, those issues were resolved."

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