Tuesday Dec 08, 2009

Fishworks in StorageSearch and LISA

A recent StorageSearch article, Four ways to use solid-state disk, discusses various ways flash SSDs can be integrated into a storage environment. While discussing offerings from NetApp, EMC, Hitachi, and Texas Memory System among others, they singled out the use of Hybrid Storage Pools in the Sun Storage 7000 series as particularly innovative:

Unlike NetApp, Sun uses flash memory in its Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems to cache all reads and writes — not only metadata —and therefore has one of the most advanced architectures to support flash memory. The Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems run Solaris on an x86 platform with an optimized storage stack and the Zettabyte File System (ZFS) that supports a Hybrid Storage Pool of DRAM cache, SSD and mechanical disks.

The solid-state drive is situated between the DRAM-based Adaptive Replacement Cache (ARC) and SATA drives. The ZFS Intent Log (ZIL), which holds the write journal to allow the file system to recover from system failures, is written to a write-optimized SSD. The L2ARC cache comprises read-optimized SSDs to extend the DRAM-based ARC cache for read operations; L2ARC can be hundreds of gigabytes in size, and its purpose is to keep working data in memory to minimize disk access."

The Sun Storage 7000 series was also featured recently at the 2009 Large Installation System Administration Conference at which Fishworks' own Bryan Cantrill spoke about Analytics:

Tuesday Jul 28, 2009

Fishworks in BusinessWeek

BusinessWeek recently interviewed Fishworks' own Mike Shapiro concluding that "Innovation Isn't Just for Startups". It's well worth a read; here's a brief excerpt:

What Shapiro and Cantrill realized from this [examination of the market] was that they had to devise a genuinely "disruptive product" — not just a souped-up version of what was available. Because of the hassle and expense, customers weren't going to scrap their existing data-storage solutions unless Sun came up with something far superior. "We had to cost half as much and be twice as fast," Shapiro says.
...
With hundreds of customers out of the gate, the Sun Storage 7000 Series has definitely established itself—and Fishworks, which Shapiro continues to run, could well prove one of the hidden gems of the Oracle acquisition. In the meantime, the new product line stands as powerful proof of what Drucker preached: When it comes to innovation, it's smarts, not size, that matter most.

For more on the story of Fishworks, take a look at Bryan's post on the subject.

Monday Nov 10, 2008

"The competitors' systems ... don't realize the full potential for flash"

The launch event is still several hours away, but the press has been furiously scratching their quills to parchment. A lot of articles are mundanely similar, but Andy Greenberg at Forbes has written an article with some interesting analysis.

But Sun may have a leg up. Gene Ruth, an analyst with research firm Burton Group says that Sun has trumped its competitors by optimizing storage arrays to automatically hold the most frequently accessed files in faster flash memory while less-used information is moved to slower disk drives. That algorithm, which Sun calls its ZFS file system, has the potential to make Sun's system far cheaper and more effective than the competitors', Ruth says.

"The competitors' systems are a novelty, but they don't realize the full potential for flash," he argues. "Sun's big idea is integration of the storage systems’ hardware and software, with a file system that's intelligent enough to know where to place data automatically."

Andrew Reichman from Forrester Research has some cautious praise; we'll take it for now:

"I'm not ready to say that Sun totally has its act together," says Reichman. "But if they continue on this road, they could be on the right track."
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