Kicking the Crap Out of Storage Economics
By Josh Simons on Nov 10, 2008
While I'm mostly a "compute" guy, I know very well that at the end of the day servers are really just data manipulators and that for our customers storage plays an absolutely central role in their businesses. Which is why I've watched with fascination as some of Sun's best engineers banded together with the deliberate intention of rethinking how storage products are built, how they are priced, and what they can do. Today, Sun has announced the fruits of their labors--the Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems. Or better, check out Mike Shapiro's blog for his thoughts on what he and the rest of the team have accomplished. And be sure to check out the Sun Unified Storage Simulator Mike mentions if you want an easy way to see what all the hoopla is about.
View these products as an example of what Sun can do as a systems company when we bring our wide array of expertise and intellectual property together to create unique solutions that we believe customers will value and our competitors will loathe, especially those in the business of charging premium prices for capabilities we can now deliver at an entirely new price point.
In this case, we've integrated Sun server technology, flash memory and storage together under the control of a software stack based on OpenSolaris software innovations like ZFS and DTrace to create a set of NAS appliances that offer both extreme performance as well as built-in functionality other storage vendors either don't have or treat as expensive add-ons. We've talked a lot about Open Storage recently and this new product line is a poster child for what we've been talking about.
The capabilities of these new systems is amply documented elsewhere, so I will not delve into details here, except to mention that an enormous amount of engineering work and talent has been applied to this product line, the result being a system that offers a simple appliance-like installation and management experience; unmatched observability of overall system status as well as much more detailed drill-downs based on DTrace technology; high availability; and hybrid storage pools--a transparent combination of DRAM, FLASH and HDD that delivers significant read/write acceleration and some amazing performance numbers.
I could blather on about how great these products are, but thankfully you don't need to take my word for it. What matters is how these systems perform in particular deployment environments. These storage systems are available through Sun's Try and Buy program, so you can judge for yourself. We pay shipping, you put the system through its paces and make your own decision. You don't like it, we pay return shipping. You buy it, we give you a big discount. Seems like a deal to me.