Some thoughts at X4500 (Thumper) for a Messaging Server

Sun's much touted Thumper (Sun Fire x4500) is billed as a "Data Center in Box." Even with that hype, there is a lot of reality in this claim. They take a system with two dual-core AMD Opteron (Model 285) and bolt on an incredible amount of storage. The storage is 48 hot-swappable SATA II HDD (500 GB Each) with a totally availability of 24 terabytes of storage.

My thoughts are that this might actually work as a great Message Store server. Our Messaging Server is nearly dependent on Disk I/O. The Disk i/o pathways to these drives are spread out over six SATA controllers, so Disk i/o isn't really a concern. I can actually see this server meeting the needs of an enterprise with 500-2000 employees. Giving them services to Email via IMAP and SMTP. Calendar services could also be installed, but I'm less hesitant to include Communications Express on a single box.

The big concern comes with availability. Although the x4500 has redundancy built in, it is always best to spread your data to two or more storage arrays. The single internal array would violate this availability requirement. I'm sure that the PCI-X slot could be taken by a FDDI card to give SAN access to an external store. There are some sites that may not want to op for this type of redundant requirement, and so the Thumper would be a good solution for them.

I would be really happy if I could get my hands on one of these for a few months. (hint hint Sun Marketing)

Some ideas for this box:
1. Email Store
2. Communications Server for less than 500 users.
3. VoIP or Voice Mail Server

Comments:

Comms server for \*less\* than 500 users? What do you believe are the gating factors that would prevent it from serving larger populations? It seems to me like positioning a $60k x4500 as a mail server for a small population would be a tough value sell. My only caveat with the x4500 is that since the mass storage is internal, you can't use it in a cluster (unless adding external storage). If you are going to hook up external storage you might as well be using x4200s (or T2000s for that matter).

Posted by William Hathaway on March 29, 2007 at 02:44 AM PDT #

My understanding is that Thumper was intended for simplified mass storage over SAN for certain scenarios. I agree that a single chassis doesn't support the high availability requirement. Do you know from engineering or services what the response is to that question?

Posted by Rene Ugarte on March 29, 2007 at 03:17 AM PDT #

You forgot one very interesting solution... content and compliance or C2MS... this would make a wonderful compliance appliance, storing everything...

Posted by Dave Pickens on April 04, 2007 at 12:55 AM PDT #

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