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Case Study: Sun makes it possible to buy wine online

The IT folks at the online wine store are toasting Sun hardware and the Solaris operating system.

Not long ago, the company was experiencing tremendous growth and needed to redesign its Web site and database layer in order to support their ever-increasing traffic. After much consideration, the company decided to go with a complete end-to-end solution comprised of Sun StorEdge arrays, Sun Enterprise servers and the Solaris operating environment.

"We turned to Sun to simplify our complex environment and make it easier to manage and use," said Dennis Riley, director of information systems for "Sun StorEdge arrays and Sun Enterprise servers minimize the complexity of our IT infrastructure and provide a robust back-end environment."

Ken Murphy, a system administrator at, explained that because laws regarding the purchase of wine online are different from state to state, each transaction is highly complex. Transactions begin with the selection of wines offered in a particular delivery area. This information then links with location information, telling employees where the wine is produced and when and where it will be delivered. Finally, this information links with details about the laws governing that particular state.

"Sun StorEdge is a fundamental piece of our cluster environment where all of this mission-critical data is stored," said Murphy. "StorEdge arrays provide extremely high bandwidth and easily handle the cross-referenced data needed for each transaction."

IT folks at said Sun Enterprise servers and Sun StorEdge arrays provide the processing and information storage capacity for their entire production environment.

Sun Enterprise 4500 servers, they said, are clustered to deliver high availability to online shoppers. And Sun StorEdge A5200 arrays support the environment in a shared storage configuration, which they claimed eliminates the possibility of disruption of service to the application layer and ultimately the customer. Sun StorEdge A1000 arrays are also used to store application and configuration information.

On the Web layer, uses load balanced Sun Enterprise 450 servers running Netscape enterprise service to maximize response times for customers. The Web servers take the request from the customer and then interact directly with the application layer, which consists of pairs of Sun Enterprise 4500 servers. The storefront database consists of Sun StorEdge A5200 arrays that are designed to handle lots of traffic.

"The Sun solution we have today is strategically designed to handle our tremendous growth," said Riley. "We have the added assurance that, as we need more storage or processing power, we can easily scale our existing Sun environment."

FOR MORE INFORMATION:'s definition of back-end's definition of cluster

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