Wednesday Dec 03, 2008

Keep Austin Weird!

A few weeks ago I was in Austin for SC08. There were a number of things going on. Prior to the main event Sun organised a HPC consortium at the Airport Hilton. We managed to get a trip out to TACC, although I had to film a bunch of the presentations which meant I didn't get to view the TACC setup.

There was also a SAMQFS BOF session associated with the HPC consortium. It was really interesting to see how enthusiastic the customer base is for SAMQ. Harriet gave an overview of SAMQ 5.0 and I gave a presentation of COMSTAR and iSCSI/iSER which provides essentially a storage transport layer for SAMQ 5.0. I also had to film the event. As it turns out the tape ran out in the middle of me speaking :-/ (which I didn't notice), so I won't have to subject you to yet more video of myself.

We also had a student event that we organised at the Karma Lounge. We had a bunch of students, live music, ipods, macbooks and the occasional beverage. Much fun was had by all. Deirdre did an awesome job organising the event.

It was then on to the main event, SC08. There was a lot going on here. I spent some time walking the vendor hall, it was massive. However, I unfortunately had work to do. Dominic and I were manning the Open Storage Bar. This sounds very cool, but it really is a pub with no beer. We'd set up a demo for SAMQ 5.0 using VMWare. However, there was a lot of talk about the Unified Storage appliance with demos too. Several other folks had the VMWare image running to demo the analytics. So I presented that and talked a lot about the Hybrid Storage Pool concept and flash in general.

SC08 kept going for the rest of the week, but I had to hit the road to PASIG in Baltimore, I'll put a post up soon about what was going on there.

Friday Nov 14, 2008


Being involved with the community involves a lot of listening. Recently at the Open Storage Summit we engaged with the audience to talk about where we were at with the Storage community and what things people would like to see improve:

Take a look and let me know what you think. What is needed to help _you_ use OpenSolaris. What do _you_ need to make this a first choice storage platform. Inquiring minds want to know!

Tuesday Sep 23, 2008

The Open Source Challenge

What is the challenge of Open Source? I keep on hearing from different places and over different times about are we giving away the "Crown Jewels". Similarly are we arming our competitors to compete with us more effectively? What I'd like to do is to lay out the challenge of Open Source to the developers and to the market place.

For me the challenge of Open Source is one of innovation. Essentially we are challenging ourselves to out innovate the competition. It is not about sitting on a pile of patents and saying we'll sue you or keeping everything hidden in the hope that people won't see how incredibly trivial the 'technology' we sell is. I see Open Source as making a bet on us. We need to come up with the ideas and the technology to make us successful.

A big part of this is execution. The time from idea to product needs to be very short so that we can be dynamic and attack the market in an efficient fashion. If the idea is out there and someone can more efficiently come to market it can certainly be a problem for this model.

For me this is a bet I want to make. I want to challenge myself to be able to outthink and outperform the competition. It doesn't meant that I'll always be able to do it ;-)

Friday Sep 19, 2008

Open Storage

I guess it never really occurred to me to provide an outline of what I see Open Storage as being. Clearly this is an incredible oversight with my new role as "Open Storage Software Community Guy" ;-) So I'll attempt to outline below what I see Open Storage as being.

As you'd expect Jonathan has actually already beaten me to the blogging punch. However, I will endeavour to provide some additional value to the subject.

So what is Open Storage? It's an effort here at Sun to provide storage technology through open source, specifically through OpenSolaris. Essentially:

  • Open Standards + Open Source = Open Storage

This area is ripe for disruption. There are many proprietary solutions in this area, but the technology in the OpenSolaris storage stack is compelling. We're seeing examples of the following:

  • Explosive data growth
  • Increasing CPU power
  • Parallelising of CPUs
  • Ever increasing data access rates

ZFS is a piece of technology that allows us to take advantage of commodity hardware. It provides the reliable backing store. Among many features it provides guarantees about ondisk consistency (Note it's not the only filesystem that does this). This provides a strong building block for the OpenSolaris Open Storage stack. The stack looks like:

As you can see there are a huge number of components in Open Storage. We provide all sorts of initiators and significant ability to function as a target through COMSTar. There are many different filesystems too. This all provides significant flexibility in using Open Storage to solve the problem the way _you_ want to solve it. You are not constrained by the box that Sun or anyone else sells. If OpenSolaris runs on it you can use it.

It is the ability to provide storage technology on any equipment that OpenSolaris runs that is disruptive. It allows the flexibility to choose the hardware to match the task at hand and scale that as necessary.

So in my view the above comprises what is Open Storage and highlights some of the problems it allows us to solve. Moving ahead I'll dive into more details of some of these components. I'll also blog about random other things to keep everyone on their toes too ;-)

Friday May 30, 2008

Honeycomb 1.1.1 Open Sourced!

Today we posted the source code for the current 1.1.1 release candidate. This is a huge achievement by too many people to name. We are grateful both to the current folks who are working on Honeycomb today, and to all of those who have touched it in the past. This is a chance to re-engage as part of an open community built around Honeycomb and it's technology!

Monday Mar 17, 2008

Honeycomb Opensourced!

So we did it. We finally put the source code out there for Honeycomb. We put it in several locations: OpenSolaris, SNIA and So there are several questions about this, eg what did we actually open source, why three communities, etc.

So we released several pieces. We released the "Honeycomb Open Edition", this is basically a standalone java version of the Honeycomb protocol stack. It doesn't have the reliability, nor the RAIN architecture. However the bulk of the code that provides that functionality was in the drop. We also released the source to the VIM which will allow Honeycomb to work with the reference implementation of XAM from SNIA (note that the standard is still in the development phase). We also provided a photo demo which links XAM and honeycomb together. We used this as part of a demo at SNW last year showing our XAM compliance.

The obvious question is what can you do with all of this? We've provided the pieces so that it's possible to craft a single node instance of Honeycomb. You would be able to write applications to our API to this instance. It's also possible just to use the "Honeycomb Open Edition" to be an application development environment for Honeycomb.

So where are we going? This was the first code drop that we've done, we're not going to stop here. We are currently working on getting more of the pieces that make Honeycomb out. We are planning to start developing in the open very soon, so stay tuned!


Peter Buckingham


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