Sun Updates Streaming System, Adds Solaris Support
Published: April 22, 2008
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
A year ago, Sun Microsystems launched the Streaming System, a cluster of Linux-based application servers and storage servers and a new video stream switch, that Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim was creating when he was working in stealth mode at Kealia, a company Sun acquired in February 2004 to get Bechtolsheim back on board and to flesh out its server, storage, and switch product lines. Last week, Sun made some of the modules of the Streaming System software available on Solaris as well as Linux and also allowed the code to run on smaller Sun boxes.
The use of Solaris for the Streaming System is inevitable, given that Sun wants Solaris to be the preferred platform it sells even as it embraces Linux and Windows for customers who want to run these operating systems. But Kealia spent a lot of time and money creating a tweaked embedded version of Linux with lots of performance tunings and other extensions, so porting the Streaming System to Solaris is not a matter of recompiling some source code. Still, according to Paula Patel, manager of product marketing for streaming systems at Sun, the company will be rolling some of the six modules that make up Release 2.0 of the software stack for supporting streaming media, such as IPTV and other video streams, on Solaris as well as Linux. The first couple modules will be supported on Solaris in the next few months, and by September all six modules will be available on Sun's Unix. The new and seventh module that is part of the Release 2.0 of the Streaming System software stack is an edge caching server, which runs on either Linux or Solaris already. The high-end variant of the Streaming System, which is based on the monster X4950 switch, which supports up to 160,000 concurrent video streams, will continue to be a Linux-only solution for a while yet.
The Solaris variants of the Streaming System are being deployed on a new low-end Streaming System, which is based on the X4150 quad-core Xeon server and an X4600 based on dual-core Rev F Opterons (and presumably soon, quad-core "Barcelona" Opterons). These machines also support Linux if that floats your boat. Companies can plug in X4500 "Thumper" storage arrays or larger StorageTek arrays if they need more local capacity for video storage than these servers offer. The X4150 can handle between 100 and 2,500 video streams (maxing out at 5 Gb/sec of bandwidth) and has about 1 TB of local storage (about 500 hours of video content), while the X4600 can handle up to 10,000 streams (with its 20 Gb/sec of bandwidth). The X4150 has a starting price of $2,500 when configured to run Solaris and Streaming System 2.0; the streaming software costs $14 per stream per year, and Sun is offering volume discounts for service providers who buy in bulk.
Streaming System 2.0 was announced at the National Association of Broadcasting's annual trade show in Las Vegas, and is in customer trials now. It will be ready for prime time in June or July, says Patel.
Sun's X64-Based Streaming Server Runs on Linux
Sun Brings Back Founder Bechtolsheim Through Kealia Acquisition
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