Wednesday Mar 18, 2009

Time flies when your having fun or ZFS takes storage world by storm

Wow. I can't believe a whole year has passed since my last entry. Who has time to blog? When there is so much going on. A little re-cap may be in order since my last blog about Sun's its plan to open source all of its storage software IP.


All I can say is Open Storage has taken the storage world and Sun by storm. Why all the fuss? The attention given to ZFS inside and outside Sun has been astounding. Without even trying, ZFS has catapulted from hype factor to 'must have' in Sun products in record time.


So what is it about ZFS that is better than other file systems? "Them's fighten" words to many folks that have file system expertise with other Sun file system technologies. And yet, despite its detractors and behind all the hype (it can't solve every problem users face and it's performance isn't ideal in some workloads), for most general purpose applications where you need a local file system, ZFS data integrity,  integrated volume management and FREE snapshot services outshine all the areas that will get better with time. After all ZFS is a baby in file system years.


In my view there are three fundamental things that make ZFS an ideal local file system for most users.


1. Its tightly integrated into the Solaris ecosystem


ZFS can now be the root file system choice when booting from the the Solaris OS. It is the default file system in OpenSolaris today.


2. Its dead simple to administer.


Anyone can be up and running in less than 5 minutes. This fact often gets overlooked because we'd spend alot of time talking about ZFS internals rather than the things that motivate people to change how they do things today and how file systems could be better deployed today.  The "simple factor has helped to drive ZFS adoption, new users and the largest open storage project community on record as evidenced by the growing attendance at the open storage summit held last February in San Francisco.


3. Free snapshots.


No cost to users for additional data services. This fact alone has people motivated to give ZFS and Sun storage another look whether they are considering a Sun appliance based on OpenSolaris with ZFS embedded data services or they are deploying a general purpose server for file sharing. 


 



Monday Mar 17, 2008

Move over St. Patrick, March 17th is officially SAM's day.

Its hard to believe it was just about a year ago when Sun announced it would open source all Storage Software IP. Since then significant contributions have been made to the OpenSolaris storage community. These include a CIFS server, Comstar, and others can be found here: http://opensolaris.org/os/community/storage/

No single contribution has been so eagerly anticipated or misunderstood as the effort to open source SAM and QFS. So for me this is a major milestone for all those involved in making this a reality. Thanks to the dedicated persistence of the SAMQFS engineering team as this was a significant drain on resources that could have been deployed developing new features .

Unlike other OpenSolaris projects, SAM and QFS are software products marketed and sold by Sun and its partners since 2001. The software has many commercial users in medical, media & entertainment, government, manufacturing, financial services, education that benefit from the services this software provides.

SAM or the Storage Archive Manager software is key to Sun's archive strategy today. A few weeks ago, Sun made some noise about new archive systems including a customer ready system that embeds this SAM and QFS in a tiered storage architecture. Way ahead of its time in the mid 90's, SAM still provides users with an innovative way to transparently or virtually manage data across different tiers of storage including tape differentiating it from 'disk' only tiered solutions.

QFS provides users with a shared file system that's ideal for intensive environments. Commercial users with high performance computing requirements will benefit from the seamless transfer between the compute and storage nodes and long term data retention with SAM.

Together this dynamic duo are used to deliver an amazing number of storage solutions that leverage commodity server and storage hardware and help drive Solaris adoption in the data center.

So what exactly does this mean for Sun?
First it shows that we're committed to being open. It's a strategy that affects they way we work, think about, and market technologies and products we offer. As a result, Sun is changing the storage marketplace. Unlike other vendors, Sun's storage software stack is open and with these major source contributions, Solaris gets even more interesting as a storage OS on which to build storage systems or appliances.

What does this mean for the Storage Community?
Storage developers and deployers interested in these technologies will find more than access to the source code when they participate in the OpenSolaris storage community for this software. You can dialog directly with the SAM/QFS engineering team as they develop new features. As a member of the community you can influence the direction for this software only when you participate so join the OpenSolaris storage community today!
http://opensolaris.org/os/project/samqfs/

What does this mean for Sun customers?
Sun customers will benefit from more choice, value and innovation that comes from open software and open standards. For commercial users of this software, a binary version of the software is available with a Sun standard software license, RTUs and Sun services for a FEE.

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