Universities are known to help drive their students' and faculties' desire to learn and discover. One institution following that line of thought is the University of Delaware, whose IT department often works with vendors' beta programs and tests new products from various technology companies.
The SolarisTM Operating System (Solaris OS) has been one technology the university has consistently tested over years. The school's first Solaris OS beta testing experience came when it participated as a Solaris 2.4 OS beta site.
"Every version of Sun's Solaris Operating System has shown advancements over the previous version," says Daniel Grim, executive director of IT at the University of Delaware. "With Solaris 10 OS, the operating system has reached a new height of technology performance that provides groundbreaking innovations."
The SolarisTM Dynamic Tracing (DTrace), which offers a comprehensive dynamic tracing framework for troubleshooting systemic problems in real time with no effect on system performance, was of particular interest. After experimenting with this dynamic tool, the university's IT department eventually incorporated it into a programming language that has allowed the department to do a very detailed analysis of multiple parts of its operating system.
"DTrace provides us with a brand new window into our operating system, enabling a new level of access, and showing us what processes are doing exactly what within the system. This level of visibility has been unavailable until now," says Grim. "Rather than days or weeks, DTrace has helped us to now diagnose, analyze, and resolve system problems within hours, with no disruption in service."
Solaris 10 OS' increased identity security and its enterprise firewall, provided by a new IP filtering feature, have relieved the university's IT department of security woes. An application on its campus has never become compromised while running on a Solaris 10 OS machine. "The need for security in an operating system has never been greater," says Grim. "Another department on campus had been running a Microsoft Windows-based server, which became compromised. We have found that the Sun Solaris Operating System is much more secure than comparable Windows-based servers."
The University of Delaware, with more than 16,000 undergraduates, nearly 3000 graduate students and 100 academic majors, relies on an infrastructure from Sun comprised of Sun FireTM hardware using UltraSPARCR technology, and Sun UltraTM and Sun BladeTM workstations. These products, working with the Solaris OS, manage 75 to 80 percent of the University's administrative applications.
The university's IT department is like most in that it faces the ongoing challenge of balancing increasing demands with continuing budget constraints. Every decision made and every dollar spent needs to provide the best possible return on investment. Over the past 15 years, the University of Delaware's environment of servers from Sun utilizing the Solaris OS has delivered the performance and scalability at the right price.
"Over the years we have often been approached by other technology vendors. Sun's commitment to education helps us meet our technology goals and has maintained our allegiance to our Sun infrastructure," Grim said.
"Our success depends on working with reliable IT partners that will effectively manage our University's network infrastructure," he continued, "as well as provide a high level of performance, availability, and security to ensure successful application deployment. Sun has consistently proven to be a partner we can count on."
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