Friday Oct 26, 2007

FISH -n- CIFS

There is motivation when skeptics like to preach that there is no way <substitute here> is going to happen.  Examples include come from behind victories in sports, new discoveries in science and cures for disease.  Good intentions are one thing, but following through on those intentions is a bit more difficult. 

The storage community at opensolaris.org has been busy this past year with community members that include partners, industry standard bodies and numerous code contributions.  The community has been on a journey to continue to enhance, integrate, develop, share and invent technologies applicable to traditional storage and more importantly hybrid storage solutions of today and tomorrow.  The Storage Platform for OpenSolaris Distributions has just had some recent contributions.  Keep in mind these contributions to the community are free, open and not proprietary.  Code is not read only, but available for modification, improvement and bi-directional sharing according to the opensolaris licensing terms.

Recent additions of code and new opensolaris projects include:

  • Kernel based CIFS server (Build 77).  That's right-- designed in as a first class citizen of the os with a kernel based protocol, tightly coupled with NFSv4, VFS, ZFS and Active Directory.  Windows Interoperability.  Another complimentary open sourced solution along side our friends from the SAMBA community.  This service leverages the os and its capabilities.  Need infinite snapshots of your CIFS files?  Want file compression?  Strive for encryption of your data?  Not a problem.  ZFS provides these data services IN the file system.  The kernel based CIFS server source code will post here today.  Need help with source code management tools click here.

  • NDMP service.  Table stakes for backup applications.  The code will be binaries only until the SNIA working group members complete their efforts.

  • Virus Scan service.  Another service that is tightly integrated with the kernel CIFS server and the ZFS file system.  This service provides ICAP protocol support for off-board virus scan engines.

  • NFSv4 Mirror Mounts.  NFSv4 Clients can now automatically mount shared file systems on a NFSv4 Server.

The above new Opensolaris project pages will be posting in the next few weeks so stay tuned.

Adding more and more content to the storage stack of opensolaris may raise some questions of what can be done with this stack.  Well first off it enables better integrated hybrid storage solutions.  The x4500 "Thumper"with Solaris has enabled new thinking storage solutions by leveraging the hardware and software unique capabilities.  One can continue on this journey and enhance the unique hardware and software capabilities.  In fact think of it as Fully Integrated Software and Hardware on a repetitive basis.  The tighter you integrate the incremental features, the more compelling solutions with commodity components using an enterprise open sourced os one can build.  I would think that if you could provide a software heath kit of an open sourced software stack to appeal to the masses you may have something worth investigating.

Come and participate.  Opensolaris is transforming itself from open storage solutions, xVM to Solaris install revisited also known as "Indiana." 

How can you pass up FISH -n- CIFS well prepared? Help spread the word.

Wednesday Sep 26, 2007

If you are painted as irrelevant are you a threat?

What is a better position to be painted as?  Company A: that alternative mouse trap or Company B: that former high flyer but "irrelevant" entity.  It doesn't matter what industry: automobiles, home appliances, beer industry, retail, etc. We have all heard the competition paint their competitors.  Sports teams like to use the "no respect" card to motivate the team.  Satisfaction is gained when the "team" shows the pundits and the odds makers differently.  In fact some like to be the underdog so they can fly under the radar and be taken for granted.  It is a great position for professional sports as any team can be beat on a given night when you are playing the best.  Roger Clemems was supposedly washed up 11 years ago when he was traded by the Boston Red Sox to the Toronto Blue Jays.  How many Cy Young awards did he win after the trade?  Four of them. How many Cy Young awards has he won in total?  Seven of them.  Being painted as all washed up and irrelevant was a motivator.  "He is too old", "Doesn't have the edge anymore", "Lost his spark", "Has too much money", etc. He saw it differently than his pundits and competition.

If you are a company and get painted the same way:  former high flyer, lost its vision, could not adapt after the .BOMB, financially unsound, etc. Those are certainly motivators.  If a company was in the software and hardware business what would they have to do show that irrelevance is determined by the customer not the competition at the end of the day. 

The company would build hardware that is optimized for virtualization on multiple fronts.  Virtulization is not a one recipe fits all problem.  Have your hardware be hyper visor aware.  Make sure your hardware can run the dominate industry operating systems even if one of them happens to be proprietary. Memory density and I/O connectivity should be features that differentiate.    Common industry standard components and subsystems that span across multiple microprocessor architectures is attractive.  If different microprocessor-based blades can share a common backplane all the better.  The company should then make sure that their software is virtual machine aware to be a great dom0 as well as run as a VM in someone else's dom0 even if it is proprietary.  This software would also allow different flavors of VM capability.  For example virtualize and entire OS 'on' your environment or virtualize particular applications 'in' your environment with zoning.  Lastly make sure your software environment runs on competitor's hardware. So far the company would have multiple hardware capability teamed with multiple software capability.  This sounds like motivation. 

Next the company would be able to put the two above items together and build compelling solutions for customers.  Imagine the products that one could build. For example build a server that can eat and serve storage easily because the architecture is closely coupled and the os is optimized.  Or a server that can horizontally consolidate multiple instances of linux by taking advantage of high cpu thread counts and the VM aware os.  How about taking it one step further.  The above 2 examples are based off of general computing.  So now let's extend the solution with embedded capability.  Create dedicated products with the same hardware and software from above-- but leverage their ability to virtulize...  That is both compelling and scary especially if the software licensing terms allow anyone to have access to all the code. 

Cy Young like stuff...

Sunday Sep 16, 2007

The Financial industry IS High Tech

The financial industry has become quite high technology. The old days of banking are long gone.  Does anyone remember the 3-6-3 rule of banking?  Pay your depositors 3% interest, charge 6% for loans and be on the golf course by 3 pm.  The financial industry is a hungry consumer of high technology in order to manage their business.

Number crunching of massive amounts of data is a requirement in the financial industry today.  Complex formulas and modeling on large scale computing engines are no longer foreign to people managing capital.  Complex equations and modeling are not unique to the scientific community.  High performance technical computing (HPC) is being used for financial management. 

A financial institution will crunch lots of numbers to determine their opening position when trading begins each day.  When the market closes trading for the day, those massive computes begin again and crunch numbers throughout the night looking for the advantage via trend, averages, models, derivatives, etc.  The financial industry has leveraged technology to the point that this industry is effectively competing and hiring technology college graduates.

Simple financial management has been replace by everything from sub-prime mortgages, day trading, hedge funds, disaster bonds to mortality bonds.  Mortality bonds are a perfect example of how the industry constantly looks for creative ways to provide a return on an investment.  The finance industry has taken a page from every insurance company actuary.  Disaster bonds are hedging against having to payout for natural disasters.

High Performance Technical computing has become a competitive weapon for the financial industry.

Friday Jul 27, 2007

NFS Mirror Mounts

Attached is a screen cast for NFS mirror mounts.

If you are interested in
watching, check it out by clicking here.

This URL can also be found at the Sun Developer
Center (click it here) ... along with Brian Wong's
article on "Storage Device Evolution," Christian Bandulet's piece on
"Object Storage Devices" and much more.

Get connected. 

About

The blog of Bob Porras - Vice President, Data, Availability, Scalability & HPC for Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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