By pmonday on Oct 04, 2007
Hopefully you've seen our new Sun Fire product announcements, the Sun Fire X4150 and the Sun Fire X4450. Now, if you haven't read my other blog which frequently strays into random blatherings, you may not realize what a HUGE fan I am of system's based storage initiatives. Storage Grids, Global Namespace, Content Addressable Storage (CAS) are all here now and will only increase in use over the coming years.
I'm particularly excited about coupling our X4150 and X4450 lines with Project Blackbox to make the container look like one giant compute and store node. Here are pictures of the new systems.
Notice the 1U height of the X4150 and the 2U height of the X4450. Also notice the 8 hot swappable, 2.5" SAS drives! Cool...and if you read the fine print on the web site you would see that a version with 6, 3.5" SATA drives is on its way. I'm going to concentrate on the X4150 for now. We are seeing a lot of interest in packing the racks in a container full of 1U servers. This coupled with grid software, iSCSI, etc... can make a dynamic and powerful environment with both processing and storage capabilities. It is also an environment that does not have to be serviced often if you are mirroring across systems.
An X4150 fully loaded has
- 2 Quad-Core Intel Xeon X5355, 2.66 GHz, 1333 MHz FSB, 120W
- 64 GB RAM
- 8 2.5" SAS Drives (we will assume they are 146GB each since that's the going size for SAS drives for a total of about 1.2 Terrabytes per system)
Some of the maxed out Project Blackbox configurations we've seen have 36 1U servers in a rack with the remaining 4 slots taken up by power supplies and networking gear. This gives us 72 Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5355s each running at 2.66 GHz and 43.2 Terrabytes all in a single rack within the container. Typically, you can have 7 racks of 36 servers, giving you 504 Quad-Core Intel Xeon 5355s and 302.4 Terrabytes of storage, configurable any way you want it when you add our Grid Engine software, iSCSI software, ZFS, QFS, maybe even a little Lustre.
Now what could you do with that type of power packed into a rapidly deployable shipping container? Obviously numerical analysis applications come to mind (the video here mentions electronic and financial simulations).
With 8 SAS spindles of storage near your job, you can operate against locally cached data in your grid. You could also treat the storage in the container as one pool and the CPUs as another pool and let them vary independently of each other. The combinations are certainly intriguing. Personally, this looks like one huge content distribution and web farm to me that can be placed where the cost of power is low and the taxes are right. Imagine the amount of on-demand video this could serve to Tivo's all across the country (at least until these folks figure out how to put Tivo's into a massive protected torrent grid so our Tivo's can help distribute video to each other under the covers).
Don't forget to stop by Project Blackbox next week if you are at CEC in Las Vegas!