Wednesday Mar 02, 2011

Sharing the Breadbox

A Better BreadboxIf the Oracle Solaris ZFS is the greatest file system since sliced bread, then, well, the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance is the ultimate breadbox. (I had to work long and hard on that analogy, so stay with me...) The Oracle Solaris ZFS Datasheet summarizes it nicely:

Anyone who has ever lost important files, run out of space on a partition, spent weekends adding new storage to servers, tried to grow or shrink a file system, or experienced data corruption knows that there is room for improvement in file systems and volume managers. Oracle Solaris ZFS is designed from the ground up to meet the emerging needs of a general-purpose local file system that spans the desktop to the datacenter

The Oxford American Dictionary defines an appliance as 'a device or piece of equipment designed to perform a specific task.' We have all the pieces to build powerful storage appliances that marry this powerful file system with an optimal combination of both disk and flash storage. Implied in the term appliance is generally ease-of-use, and we also have an incredibly slick graphical front-end (formerly known as Fishworks) that ties it all together. It's not a surprise that the Sun ZFS Storage Appliances have been a hit.

Of course, to be a true network appliance, you have to manage competing protocols and file services. While some of us have lived in the world of NFS for seemingly most of our lives, one must not ignore Microsoft's Active Directory, common to the Windows environment. Supporting this, too, doesn't even break a sweat with ZFS Storage Appliances

Sun ZFS Storage Appliance Rule-based Identity Mapping Between Active Directory and NIS Implementation Guide, by Art Larkin, tells you in detail how you can configure it to support multiple file services. Art explains in detail how the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance identity mapping service manages users of both Active Directory services and Network Information Services (NIS) by associating the Windows and UNIX identities of each user. This allows shares, such as directories or files to which access is controlled by a password, to be exported and accessed by clients using either Common Internet File System (CIFS)/Server Message Block (SMB) or Network File system (NFS) protocols. Even if you aren't concerned about this specific configuration, you will find the paper is an excellent introduction into how painless it is to do non-trivial management through the graphical front end: this 30-page paper is full of illustrations.

- Kemer

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Contributors:
Rick Ramsey
Kemer Thomson
and members of the OTN community

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