Storage News, November 10, 2008: Sun Announces the Sun Storage 7000 Family

...and history is made. Keep an eye on this blog for additional articles throughout the day.

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Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems - The official website.

Fishworks - the team blog

Official announcement streamed live at 3:30 pm Pacific Time today 

Introducing the Sun Storage 7000 Series - "Today I'm pleased to announce the new Sun Storage 7000 Series of unified network storage devices. For the past three years, the Fishworks team have been locked away at an undisclosed location creating this incredible new line of storage devices, and today we're taking the curtain off and announcing them to the world. We'll do it live by webcast from at 3pm Pacific time." - Mike Shapiro

Fishworks: Now it can be told - "...despite being a great foundation, the truth was that the technology wasn't being used in many essential tasks in information infrastructure, from routing packets to storing blocks to making files available over the network. This last one especially grated: despite having invented network attached storage with NFS in 1983, and despite having the necessary components to efficiently serve files built into the system, and despite having exciting hardware like Thumper and despite having absolutely killer technologies like ZFS and DTrace, Sun had no share -- none -- of the NAS market..."- Bryan Cantrill

And now, some words from Sun's community of bloggers, in order of appearance:

Analyzing the Sun Storage 7000 with Filebench - "One of the tools we used to evaluate this platform is Filebench, an open-source framework for simulating applications on file systems..." - Amitabha Banerjee

Designing Performance Metrics for Sun Storage 7000 - "...So we used filebench to gather basic performance information about our system with the hope that customers will then use filebench to generate profiles that map to their own workloads. That way, different storage option can be tested on hopefully more meaningful tests than benchmarks..." - Roch Bourbonnais - who has also published several more posts in this series

Cool! Can we use it for VDI? - "...This is really interesting for us on the desktop side because storage is a big hurdle for VDI deployments.  Sun is introducing an amazing storage platform leveraging ZFS and ISCSI, two technologies that will have a big impact (both in terms of performance and cost reductions) for us in the VDI world. They are eco-friendly, too, using about 75% less power than competing systems. A 4 watt client device (like our Sun Ray clients) is great, but isn't it a problem if your backend systems are consuming gobs of power? Now they don't have to! Add in DTrace Analytics, ZFS Snapshots, clustering, and so on, and we're looking at a serious platform for VDI storage..." - Proponere

Fishworks Hardware Topology - "...For my first technical post, I'd thought I'd give an introduction to the chassis subsystem at the heart of our hardware integration strategy. This subsystem is responsible for gathering, cataloging, and presenting a unified view of the hardware topology. It underwent two major rewrites (one by myself and one by Keith) but the fundamental design has remained the same. While it may not be the most glamorous feature (no one's going to purchase a box because they can get model information on their DIMMs), I found it an interesting cross-section of disparate technologies and awash in subtle complexity. You can find a video of myself talking about and demonstrating this feature here..." - Erick Schrock

Hidden in plain view - "...The task wasn't exactly straightforward: Provide easy access to an administrative control point, enabling users to group together chunks of shared storage with common attributes, without getting in the way. However, once the concept was explained to me by the engineers, I had a hard time understanding why anyone wouldn't want to make strong use of projects\*. They held an important key to scalability and efficiency, and just seemed so obviously useful. And yet, surveying the competitive landscape, this clearly wasn't an obvious solution, because no one else was doing it. Other vendors wanted to limit administrators to setting policies for each share individually (and painfully), which I suppose makes a certain amount of sense, until you scale above even a few dozen shares. One could alternatively set policy for an entire set of shares, if one size fit all." - UX Design

This is big! Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems (Amber Road) - "Today, Sun announces a radically simple way to use storage at a fraction of the cost of traditional systems- the Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems (Amber Road) are the world's first open storage appliances, forever changes the way businesses and enterprises experience storage. Learn more and join the official announcement at!" - Sun Student Connection

Another Fast Backup and Recovery Solution for DB2 Database Applications - "...I tried out the product a while ago, with running DB2 workload to use it as database table space containers and log containers. What impressed me most is its simplicity in administration and comprehensive analytics. There are no commands needed for installation and configuration, all these can be done via click and drag in GUI interface. Dtrace is used underneath to trouble shoot, analyze, and optimize the system, and all these features are presented via graphics..." - Cherry's Blog

A new Networked Appliance is the Appliance Appliance for Storage and IT - "Going against the establishment or trying to redefine standards in an industry is always hard.  While believers encourage you the industry critics are happy to knock you down.  For the critics as Dale Carnegie says: "Criticisms are disguised complements."  Today after lots of encouragement, hard work and collaboration Sun is announcing it's first wave of OpenStorage appliance solutions built from some pretty compelling systems and software technologies. " - Bob Porras

Wowza Media Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage Array - "Wowza Media Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage Array NAS Streaming at more than 735 MB/sec! The Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage Array (SS7210) provides high performance with industry-leading price-performance for Video on Demand applications. The Sun Storage 7210 Unified Storage Array can support up to 5,880 users for 1 Mbits/s (Mb/s) streaming video files...." BM Seer - and more from this author

One of the ways we tested the ZFS L2ARC - "...Our job as QE engineers on ZFS was to write and maintain the ZFS test suite. Clearly we needed to update the test suite to work with these new L2ARC devices. We'd done the same thing for slog devices, but in this case, we were looking for test coverage quickly. There was a ton of other work piling up on my plate: Solaris 10 update testing for ZFS, the Newboot Sparc work for Nevada, test sponsor duties for the fingerprint authentiction project, on top of all the other daily stuff going on. Busy busy.So, I started hacking about to see how quickly I could get us a very general set of tests on the L2ARC. The answer? Pretty quickly indeed...." - Tim Foster

Kicking the Crap Out of Storage Economics - "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." - Josh Simons

It's finally here! Introducing the Sun Storage 7000! - "...It started shortly after Solaris 10 was released. All of the big names involved in Dtrace and ZFS were pulled off of their projects to go to work on a special, super-secret project. My own colleague Chandan (best known externally as the developer of the source code browser opengrok) went as well. Poof! All disappeared. All of the rising stars of Sun..." - Trantorian Gazette

YouTube: Why Amber Road Rocks - "In this video, Sun's Ray Austin describes the breakthrough innovation of the Sun Storage 7000 series of Unified Storage devices. If you're wondering what it might mean to HPC folks, check out Josh Simons' blog. For a great technical writeup of Amber Road, be sure to check out Mike Shapiro's unpronounceable Fishworks blog." - Sun HPC Watercooler

Well, what did you expect? - "...Ok, times are tough, but we sure as hell aren't curling up in a little ball and going away, right? I like the attitude of this launch. I like the focus on innovation and the determination to build something new. I like the buzz in the blogs. That's what you should expect..." - Jim Grisanzio

Storage 7000 - "...I’m not an expert on pricing or electricity, but on the medium two points above, I can testify that the setup and monitoring screens are scary-smooth and apparently idiot-proof. Obviously, there is some predictable ZFS and DTrace magic behind the scenes, but there’s also an immense amount of (here’s a surprise) JavaScript. Because as we too often forget, the user interface is the application..." - Tim Bray

You Have to Stop to Change Direction - "...The storage industry bears a remarkable resemblance to the proprietary server industry at the bursting of the  internet bubble - closed, highly profitable, frustrating customers with exorbitant charges. Plump, and ripe for change. Like a plum. Flash memory and open source file systems are about to change the landscape, and upend the industry - you read it here, first..."- Jonathan Schwartz

PostgreSQL and Project Amber Road (Sun Storage 7000 Series) - "...This now allows systems which DO NOT have ZFS capabilities  (ala Linux, Windows, etc) to use still benefit from the features of ZFS and DTrace (albeit limited to the "Storage" part only). PostgreSQL (on Linux,Solaris, Windows) can use such systems through one of the standard protocols that these OpenStorage devices support..." Jignesh Shah

Live at Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems Launch - "I am live at the CEC show today, lots of things going on.  Looking forward to hear John Fowler talk on Sun Storage 7000 family (AKA Amber Road). It will be exciting today!! Check out what is happening. I will keep you posted as the day progresses. Great to see the integrated story between systems and software..." - Terri Wischmann

Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems... - "...How many times have you seen your NAS devices suddenly "go slow"? And you have \*no clue\* as to why. I can tell you it happens often when running big infrastructure. You dig around for a while and maybe you can figure out that it's one machine and if you're particularly good you can figure out one user on one machine and slap their hands. With the 7000 you get the ability in real time to dig into whats being done using which protocol by user, by file, but whatever you want. It's stunning to see, and incredibly useful in managing the infrastructure. For a mostly detailed overview of the capabilities, check out Bryan Cantrill's presentation on analytics..." - Will Snow

Blogfest : Performance and the Hybrid Storage Pool - "...The killer App is of course Bryan Cantrill's brainchild, the already famous Analytics. As a performance engineer, it's been a great thrill to have given this tool an eary test drive. Working a full 1 ocean's (the atlantic) + 1 continent (the USA) away from my system running Analytics I was skeptical at first that I would be visualizing in real time all that information : the NFS/CIFS ops, the disk ops, the CPU load and network throughput, per client, per disk, per file ARE YOU CRAZY ! All that information available IN REAL TIME; I just have to say a big thank you to the team that made it possible. I can't wait to see our customer put this to productive use..." - Roch Bourbonnais

Opening up Unified Storage - "...I've known many of the well known and not so well known engineers who made this product possible and I congratulate them all on an outstanding job. I'd also like to thank the OpenSolaris Storage and Appliance community members who have provided feedback over the years on what they'd like to see in a unified storage appliance. Your input is most welcome and has helped guide Sun in addressing those needs... and will continue to guide Sun (and other savvy companies) on what the community needs to solve the data management challenges of a radically different economy where proprietary solutions restrict not help broaden the options for managing explosive data growth..." - Lynn Rohrer

Storage Done Right - "...In the meantime, here's a few teaser screengrabs from a loaner unit our team got early access to..." - The Sect of Rama

A Pivitol Change in the Storage World - "I'm no storage expert, but when one of my favorite uber geeks (a term of endearment used to describe a guy who has run massive sites for decades) tells me "This is the greatest [bleeping] thing since sliced bread!", I know it's a big deal -- not the kind of "Oh, Sun released another new product" kind of deal, but more of a "This has never been done before and changes the whole ball game" kind of deal..." Linda Skrocki

Not just another NAS appliance - "Sun just announced a new line of storage appliances that will forever change the NAS appliance market. By using OpenSolaris and technologies such as ZFS, DTrace, FMA and SMF with standard-based storage server, Sun is able to bring the products to market at a much cheaper price point than its competitor and yet provide more differentiated features..." Robert Lor

Performance Improvements Using Read Optimized Solid State Disks - "The Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems can use fast storage devices - such as flash memory based SSDs (solid state disks) to extend the main memory cache.  There are two types of SSDs: read optimized and write optimized. In this blog, we will show the performance improvements by using the read optimized SSDs when running simulated applications on file systems. ZFS has a new feature - the second level ARC or L2ARC - to allow people adding read optimized SSDs to file system stack. Brendan has a blog about ZFS L2ARC, including examples and block comments on L2ARC internals; for more background, check it out..." Jing Zhang

Technology Underlying the Sun Storage 7000 Series - "...The best part is the integration, the spectacular BUI (browser user interface). No, wait, the best part is the underlying technologies. No, wait!, the best part is the futures. It's hard to decide what the best aspect of the Sun Storage 7000 series, the story, the people, the technologies, the future, or even what it says about Sun: that Sun Microsystems can innovate and reinvent itself even when the financials don't look great, even while doing much of the development in the open!..." - Nico

My personal story on the Sun Storage 7000 series - "The two things that stood out to me when I saw the prototype were: a) the innovative use of flash memory as part of the storage hierarchy, and the work that has been done to ZFS in order to manage flash in an intelligent way. If you are interested in the science/engeineering behind this, you should look at Adam Leventhal’s article in the first issue of the revamped CACM on this topic. The impact on both cost and performance is very impressive.b) the AJAX based UI that the Fishworks team has created for interacting with monitoring tools like DTrace..." Ted Leung

A Video Streaming Solution using SS7210 - "...To deliver streaming video via internet requires huge storage for content, high network bandwidth and sufficient computing power. In addition space efficiency is also very important since many content delivery service providers deploy their edge nodes on ISP facilities that have limited real estate to be shared by the customer. Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Array from Sun Microsystems address these requirements all in one box. The storage appliance comes with an easy to use management tool, which makes it a perfect fit for content delivery applications..." - Hsiang-Lung Wu

Sun Reinvents Storage - "...John Fowler, EVP Sun Systems Group, provided an overview of these new products and services during a conference call today, along with Sun’s partner Forsythe. You can listen to the replay through 11/15/08 by calling: Toll Free:866-393-0870; International:203-369-0437. And, be sure to please view Sun’s virtual tour of this exciting new storage solution and check out this blog by Sun's Mike Shapiro for more details." - Sun Analyst Relations

Disruptive Open Storage - "Today at Sun we're all bouncing off the walls because today Sun launches the Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Series (code name "Amber Road"), the world's first open storage appliances. Words like "disruptive", "revolutionary", "transformative" and "radical" have been used to describe the new Sun Storage 7110, 7210, and 7410 Unified Storage Systems. Deserved or hype? I can think of three things off the bat that argue for deserved: an Open Architecture, ZFS Hybrid Storage Pools and unprecedented, unheard of Storage Analytics..." - Amy O'Connor

Sun's new "Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems"  "We announced today our new "Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System" a.k.a. code name "Amber Road".  This is an open storage appliance based around OpenSolaris technologies.  Very cool.  Here's a fun "IT Guy" video featuring the new 7000's and more info on the appliances below..."- Tom Lester

Sun Storage 7000 / Microsoft Windows Server 2003 WHQL Qualified! - "Although this isn't the preeminent blog or information source regarding Windows and the new Sun Storage 7000 series, I do want to comment on its current and future certifications." - Ryan Pratt


Congratulations to the SUN Storage Team!
This is an outstanding product development and a new milestone for "The Storage Revolution".
You have changed the rules of storage today.
Great work!

Posted by Mike La Spina on November 10, 2008 at 03:16 AM PST #

Could this also be used as a NAS gateway? if not will there also be A NAS gateway product release?

Posted by eli kleinman on November 10, 2008 at 04:09 AM PST #

What a great round-up, Deirdre! Thank you for compiling!


Posted by MaryMaryQuiteContrary on November 10, 2008 at 04:51 AM PST #

Hi Eli... No. The 7000 systems announced today cannot be used as a gateway. Look for the gateway capability to be available sometime mid next year.

Posted by rohrer@borealis on November 10, 2008 at 06:17 AM PST #

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