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Sun Unveils RAID-Less Storage Appliance

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the testing-the-cutting-edge-of-data-storage-sounds-less-than-fun dept.

249

pisadinho writes "eWEEK's Chris Preimesberger explains how Sun Microsystems has completely discarded RAID volume management in its new Amber Road storage boxes, released today. Because it uses the Zettabyte File System, the Amber Road has eliminated the use of RAID arrays, RAID controllers and volume management software — meaning that it's very fast and easy to use."

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Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712441)

Pricing:
Sun Storage 7110: $10,995 for 2TB;
Sun Storage 7210 starts at $34,995 for 11.5TB;
Sun Storage 7410: Single node version starts at $57,490 for 12TB;
cluster version (with two server nodes) starts at $89,490 for 12TB.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't charging enterprise prices for simplified hardware that relies on commodity software solutions, kind of defeat the point?

Unless I'm misunderstanding this hardware, the entire idea is to move data safety away from hardware redundancy toward software-driven duplication. In that way, the data is safe from failure in the same way that GoogleFS protects against individual machine failures. The only difference is that Google probably doesn't pay $11,000 for 2TB of storage. :-/

One of these days, I really will understand why Sun regularly shoots themselves in the foot. Until then, I suppose I must trust them to somehow find a customer who's willing to pay exorbitant prices for an otherwise good idea. (i.e. I'd really love to see Sun bring Google-style reliability from unreliability to the market.)

BTW, here's the link to Sun's marketing on this:
http://www.sun.com/storage/disk_systems/unified_storage/index.jsp [sun.com]

It's actually pretty cool tech. Sun could own the market if they just understood how the market views pricing and features.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (4, Funny)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712471)

I suppose I must trust them to somehow find a customer who's willing to pay exorbitant prices for an otherwise good idea.

Have you worked with any of Sun's customers recently? I believe P.T. Barnum was involved in the development of their business strategy.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (2, Interesting)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712535)

> Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't charging enterprise prices for simplified hardware
> that relies on commodity software solutions, kind of defeat the point?

Yea, that is amazing. Ya could put in a pair of 1U servers with RAID1 on each for a fraction of that pricetag. Use any of a number of ways to make the two units cluster, including using OpenSolaris and you get everything they are selling except the pretty front end for about half the sticker, Go SCSI/SAS on all of the drives in 2U machines if you want to spend about what they are charging and still come out with a redundant cluster.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (5, Informative)

chrisj_0 (825246) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712733)

I don't think you could get the IOPs (or anywhere near) out of a pair of off the shelf 1u servers that they're advertising. I just checked dells website, their new AX4-5i (iscsi SAN) starts at over $14,000 and that only includes the 4x 750GB vault drives. Add 4x 1TB SATA drives (at $1,100 each) in a RAID 10 and you still wouldn't get the IOPs that Sun is talking about. This product looks to try and take a market share from the FC SAN vendors, not companies that want their in house geek to build a "cluster storage solution".

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

jebrew (1101907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713623)

Just because I'm too lazy: What are the IOPs they're advertising?

I'm curious because I've seen off the shelf AMD 2U servers hit over 1M IOPs...can they do better?

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

iamme9182 (1281896) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714171)

from a sun blog so take it with a grain of salt, but here are benchmarks http://blogs.sun.com/hotnets/entry/analyzing_the_sun_storage_7000 [sun.com]

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

jebrew (1101907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714265)

I've got to say, from an IOPs perspective, that's extremely disappointing. ~24k IO/s max @ 8k. By their own chart they're getting about 233 IO/s per disk. I can get 1500 on a USB key on my desktop @ 8k. Granted, that's only running in 1 thread (they're using 128 which comes with some overhead).

I dunno, it just seems really low. I expected something more in the 200k-300k range.

Am I missing something critical? Are they running over a 100Mb network?

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (5, Informative)

darkjedi521 (744526) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712543)

Some of that is the custom gear that goes into making those beasts. Yes, it might eliminate the hardware raid card, but in the case of the 7210, the hardware to drive 48 SATA drives and not saturate the bus still isn't cheap. Plus hotswap everything, and the price quickly rises to something close to what Sun is charging. I use 4 x4500s at work for a single cluster, and they are a hell of a lot cheaper for that capacity than the traditional rack of fiber arrays/raid controllers/etc. The 4 of them cost me what another vendor wanted for half the raw storage (and far less usable storage).

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712669)

the hardware to drive 48 SATA drives and not saturate the bus still isn't cheap.

If you're driving 48 SATA drives on one bus, you're:

A) Not looking at the minimum 11.5TB layout
B) Not paying $35,000
C) Not a small-business customer

Which brings me back to: Sun is promising to target the small business and yet totally missed the mark. This is Enterprise hardware.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25714111)

You're not driving 48 SATA drives on one bus. The x4500 has 6 disk controllers each driving 8 disks. There appear to be 3 PCI buses, each running 2 controllers. I'm not deep into the magic of storage, but I can at least putty into one of our x4500s and take a look at what's going on before I start talking.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (3, Informative)

kandresen (712861) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714565)

Just a comment about the 48 disk setup; it is not always about getting the most space, but often about getting fastest response time. In this case the important factor is the amount of spindles. 11.5TB divided on 48 disks would be ~240GB a disk. Many companies would want 48 70GB disks as they are not in need of more space, only faster response times.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712743)

the hardware to drive 48 SATA drives and not saturate the bus still isn't cheap.

Actually, SAS HBAs and JBODs (which is what Sun is using) are cheap; that's why it's odd that Sun is charging so much. For example, the 7210 is the same hardware as the X4540 yet it appears to cost much more.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712579)

I could build a setup that would be way more powerful and less costly and more storage for way less.

What kind of drugs are these people on? two TB for 10K ???? ARE YOU NUTS SUN????

I could probably build this using SSD for less. SHEESH

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (5, Insightful)

Famanoran (568910) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712815)

With the same level of assurance that the solution will operate, first time - every time?

With the same level of confidence that Some Vendor will bend over backwards to fix it if it doesn't work?

Will your solution be as well tested and engineered?

It's not like you can just grab 3 1TB SATA drives, throw them into RAID-5 and say that you've got 2TB of production ready storage. Well, you can, but you'd be an idiot.

Your "home brew" solution will not meet any of the objectives Sun are achieving with this product. Your spindle count will suck, so concurrent access will be slow. You will probably be limited to one of iSCSI, CIFS, NFS or WebDAV, I doubt your solution would have all - and if it does, the integration will suck.

Will your solution have the diagnostic tools that Sun can provide? Oh wait, you don't have the millions of dollars to invest in engineering quality diagnostics, right from disk analysis (Sector scanning, remapping, etc) through to performance related faults? Well, then your solution will suck. What about snap-cloning?

In short, yes - storage is cheap. You can grab large drives very cheaply and put together something that works. That does not mean it will be good. Production quality storage is expensive, and for good bloody reason.

As for doing this using SSD storage, that's just ridiculous. 2048GB of storage would be at least 16 128GB SSD disks - this is not counting any disks for redundancy (i.e, raid-5/6 parity), or hot-spares. Assuming 2 drives for RAID-6 parity and 2 hot swaps, you'd need 20 SSD disks - with 10 grand, you're expecting to pay $500 per disk - and no other hardware, i.e, motherboard, case, cooling (more important than you think), etc.

So, until you have a clue about designing production quality storage systems, please refrain from making statements you have no clue about, you're only serving to confuse those people who are actually interested in what this product has to offer them. Keep to building crappy 3 or 4 disk RAID-5 systems using extremely large drives for storing your music, movies and pr0n on, but don't ever ever ever ever think about using those in any situation where your financial livelihood depends on that data.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (4, Interesting)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713167)

Okay perhaps not with SSD.

I've built 1.5 TB systems over a year ago, RAID for $1200. FULL including swappable drives, gig ethernet and plenty 2 GB of ram to cache the system. They are FAST and reliable. They worked FIRST TIME, and have worked exactly perfectly for 1.5 years. Drives fail, we have hot swaps available. While not quite 2 TB, they are also 1.5 years old now, and I'll be replacing them in another 1.5 years with bigger drive systems.

And these, will be spares and lower priority sytems when I update them with newer stuff in a year or two.

Expensive Technology for the sake of all that other stuff you listed is just silly. It is exactly why SUN doesn't get it, and why some pointy hair boss is buys the bs.

Production quality storage means that it works for the time needed. I've actually had WORSE reliability from Name brand "Server" quality stuff. We've got HP Proliant Servers in production, and at least THREE from three different lots have all failed due to MOBO Failures. While they do send out a tech to replace the MOBO, it is really really annoying to have to tell people that the server is down because the MOBO failed. And all the great diagnostic tools HP has on those servers didn't predict nor would they fix the errors.

You can build it 1/2 as much then you can easily have two on hand, in case one dies.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (4, Interesting)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713503)

We've got HP Proliant Servers in production

Some things you should keep to yourself no matter how bad it operates ;)

This is a real case of quality, support and "bling" factor. To use a (bad) car analogy: There is no need to buy a Mercedes when you can own a Nissan for half the price and it has exactly the same features (it may even be more powerful in some cases). However anyone can drive a Nissan (or can afford to), so there is a certain bling factor to driving the Mercedes. Just like there is a hell of a "bling" factor to owning Sun equipment as opposed to the "hack job" we can all put together. Personally I would prefer to spend twice as much and know that it's no longer my problem, even if it crashes, but that's just the opinion of one Network Admin.

Completely off hand: I've never had a mobo fail in any server, IBM or Dell based.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713177)

With the same level of assurance that the solution will operate, first time - every time?

Sure.

With the same level of confidence that Some Vendor will bend over backwards to fix it if it doesn't work?

Heck, I'll even throw in the same vendor!

Will your solution be as well tested and engineered?

Even better. It will have had the same testing and engineering, PLUS a pre-existing history of operating in the marketplace.

I give you, the Sun Fire X4500 Server [sun.com] :

12TB (48x250GB) - $23,995.00
24TB (48 x 500GB) - $34,995.00
48TB (48 x 1TB) - $61,995.00

Let us compare with Sun's new line, shall we?

11.5 TB (46 x 250GB) - $34,995.00
22.5 TB (45 x 500GB) - $71,995.00
44.0 TB (44 x 1TB) - $117,995.00

So... twice the price for the same storage? To steal a line from a very famous "programmer":

Brillant

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713199)

With the same level of assurance that the solution will operate, first time - every time?

Where are you getting your Sun hardware?

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713837)

I've had a lot more off-the-shelf success with HP and Sun server gear (the non-x86/x86_64 stuff) than with your typical server-class HP, Dell, etc.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (4, Interesting)

segedunum (883035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714153)

It's not like you can just grab 3 1TB SATA drives, throw them into RAID-5 and say that you've got 2TB of production ready storage. Well, you can, but you'd be an idiot.

That's exactly what Google and many others do, and they spend their money, and significantly less than this, on managing that storage effectively. It works. When it boils down to it, you can have all the exorbitantly expensive and brilliant 'enterprise ready' tools you want but the bottom line is you need redundancy - and that's pretty much it.

Your "home brew" solution will not meet any of the objectives Sun are achieving with this product.

Sun say they are targeting small businesses, and they have lost already with this poor showing. They have advanced no further than when they stiffed all the Cobalt Cube customers and withdrew the product, who then went out and bought Windows SBS servers ;-). If you think people are going to jack them in for this then you need a stiff drink.

Your spindle count will suck, so concurrent access will be slow.

Ahhh, shit. I'm heart broken. What I'd like to know is how a small business will handle a behemoth like that, how they'll fund the electricity for all those drives and who'll manage it all. I expect that will be an ongoing cost to Sun support ;-).

Keep to building crappy 3 or 4 disk RAID-5 systems using extremely large drives for storing your music, movies and pr0n on, but don't ever ever ever ever think about using those in any situation where your financial livelihood depends on that data.

I have news for you. People have been doing it for years, and the reason why Sun's business has gone down the toilet to commodity servers, Linux and Windows, especially with small businesses, for the past ten years is exactly for this reason.

Sun need to stop pretending that they can package up some commodity shit with some features very, very, very, very, very few need (and is waaaaaaaaaaaaay outside their target market) and label it as 'enterprise ready', which they think justifies an exorbitant price tag and ongoing support. They lost with this strategy with x86 and Solaris where they tried to protect SPARC, they lost with the exodus from SPARC after the dot com boom and they will keep on losing.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

runningduck (810975) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714249)

It seems others disagree with you about 2TB SSD systems.

http://www.superssd.com/products/ramsan-500/ [superssd.com]

Ironically, these devices are less than an order of magnitude more than the Sun storage.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714483)

How does 2TB of Solid State Memory compare to 2TB (14 x 146GB) of spinning disks [sun.com] ? Apples to oranges, my friend. Apples to oranges.

(FWIW, you need to spend about $71 grand [sun.com] (!) to get a mere 18GB of SSD. Almost like a cracker-jack prize or something. :-P)

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (2, Insightful)

edsousa (1201831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712855)

You all must be on drugs.. DRAM, SSD & HDD. You got all the software you will ever need. 75% less energy than same capacity solutions.
Do you ever use an EMC Clariion? Did you check those insane prices? The CX4-120 costs around $4000 and the software for 1 user another $4000 (prices vary)
The folks at Sun are not stupid, specially when it is HPC.
And BTW, storage space isn't the most important thing. Have you ever wondered why Google keeps offering more space for GMail? They need huge amounts of IOPS (Input/Output operations Per Second) and the standard way is adding more and more HDDs.
Or Sun style, using an approach that I will consider when my enterprise starts.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712869)

I could build a setup that would be way more powerful and less costly and more storage for way less.

What kind of drugs are these people on? two TB for 10K ???? ARE YOU NUTS SUN????

I could probably build this using SSD for less. SHEESH

Promise VTrack 16-drive array...$4,500
(16) Seagate 1TB SATA300 @ $130 each...$2,080

$6,580 for 16TB of disk space connected to one server.

Then you install OpenSolaris and install ZFS.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (2, Insightful)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713229)

You forgot the SSD's for ZFS secondary ARC cache. Oh, and the server.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713643)

It is SSD.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (5, Insightful)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712747)

I don't think it's that expensive.
I use Promise's VtrakJ610s at work (16x1TB SATA), and it cost about half that - but I still need a server for it (DL385 in our case). And I need to fit the disks myself (16x4 countersunk screws...) into the ultra-cheap harddrive containers.
A MSA70 full of SAS-disks (25) costs 10k, IIRC - but you need a server, HBAs etc.
I'm soooooo sick of the "I could build one for XXX% less using YYY"-comments.
Please, all the winers: go and start your own company selling and supporting storage-systems.
Good night and good luck....

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25714453)

I do storage using HP DL380s hooked to some Promise VTJ310SDs (12 disks in 2U trumps 16 in 3), and my math says this Sun thing is kind of expensive unless you're really going to be maxing out the speed.

Using my storage cost spreadsheet, it looks like I'd expect to pay about $40k for roughly the same capabilities that Sun is selling for $72k.

That said, it's not that big of a difference all things considered. We probably used another $20k in man-hours during the initial configuration and performance testing.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25714583)

I'd take your comment more seriously if I couldn't actually buy one for XXX% less from exactly the same vendor.

Seriously if you don't think it's that expensive you deserve to get screwed. 5 minutes on Sun's own website will probably save you tens of thousands of dollars with their other products.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (4, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712927)

It's SUN.
They're goal is to stay relevant, their strategy is to make headlines.

It's like a cross between a child acting up for attention and an emo cutting themselves.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

Guspaz (556486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713239)

You can build a single server containing 12TB powered by ZFS and RAIDZ for about $3000-3500 Canadian, including hot-swap drive bays. And the drives.

Sure, there's probably a lot of redundancy in these Sun boxes, but if they're relying on ZFS/RAIDZ to provide much of the reliability, and you build your $3500 box (which is housed in a mid-tower case with 9 drive bays) using OpenSolaris, you're most of the way there. At that point, you've got the data reliability, you just might not have quite the same uptime.

The thing is, for the prices they charge for even a single node ($57,490), I could build half a dozen of my commodity boxes and replicate the data between them. And it would still cost less. And probably perform faster; I could also cluster with redundancy for less than they charge, and they're using commodity 7200RPM SATA drives.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713511)

You are aware that those prices are for SSDs, not for spinning disks, right?

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25714201)

You are aware those prices are for spinning disks with a tiny amount of SSD cache, right?

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (0, Troll)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713655)

I suppose I must trust them to somehow find a customer who's willing to pay exorbitant prices for an otherwise good idea.

It works for Apple.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

SuperQ (431) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713673)

Yea, I recently built an 8T server. It cost me about $5000, and has no raid controller, and uses linux software raid.

If I really wanted, I could buy a second $5000 server and do DRBD between them to have 2x redundancy.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (2, Insightful)

Godji (957148) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713715)

the entire idea is to move data safety away from hardware redundancy toward software-driven duplication

You are exactly right. When you pay the exorbitant price, you pay for great hardware, the development of great software (which you could have gotten for free), the convenience of a prepackaged solution, and for the hardware and software support.

Should anything happen to these machines, you can always get your data back. If you can't afford another set of machines like these, simply plug the drives into anything that runs Solaris (or generally ZFS), and you have your data.

Just because it's open doesn't mean it has to be cheap. But Solaris is open source, so if you don't like these, roll your own and support it yourself.

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (2, Insightful)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713719)

  • Sun X4240, cheap from third party reseller not necessarily in the best of configurations: ~£2700.
  • 2 cheap and cheerful SSD's for ARC second level cache: £300. £1200 if you want ones with decent write performance.
  • 14*146GB 2.5" 10kRPM SAS disks: £2100.

Even if you put it together and test it using slave labour, you're not getting much change from $11k.

Sure, you could just plonk three 1.5T Seagates in there, shove a RAIDZ over it and call it a day, and that would be fine for some uses, but it's not really something you buy a storage appliance for, is it?

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713733)

Look at EMC prices for Hulk or Maui or Centerra, which seems to be what this competes against. Or perhaps Isilon.

The price per GB is actually pretty reasonable for list prices. A lot of enterprise customers pay more than twice that if they got a deal, and more than six times that if they didn't ($30/GB anyone?). I bet if you were a customer with leverage you could get it down to less than $1/GB on this gear.

I know you can get a couple of 1TB drives via mail order and put them in a linux box, but that is not the same market, and I suspect you know that. Size isn't the only storage metric people care about. You can get a single box with 12 1TB SAS or SATA drives in it from several vendors.

Can you serve iSCSI or FC out of GoogleFS? (Solaris will enable FC target mode via COMSTAR, something I'm watching closely.) How's the GoogleFS performance with an RDBMS?

Re:Sun shoots, and... well, you already know. (1)

dfn_deux (535506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714585)

Look at what netapp charges for similarly sized boxes and I'm sure you'll see this is probably at a similar price parity for size/performance. Netapp's wafl-fs is basically doing the same thing as ZFS (see netapp's lawsuit against Sun for more details). The addition of upgradeable cache ram, (something netapp only introduced to their product line with the 3040 addon cache card), and SSD based zfs disk cache should really make this system haul ass and explains a good portion of the pricing model.

At the enterprise level the purchase price of the hardware is nothing compared to the support contract cost, which is what I think will either make or break this for sun. I know that if my netapps take a shit I will have new hardware onsite inside 4 hours, my faith in sun delivering the same level of support is similar to my faith in the tooth fairy.

On a semi-related note (-1, Offtopic)

Cyberllama (113628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712515)

Has anyone noticed that if you look at the sun logo like one of those "magic eye" things it turns into a swastika? I've always felt that was a poor marketing decision. It's also very similar to the Columbia logo

Looks great.. but (0, Redundant)

Pengo (28814) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712525)

$12k for 2TB of storage is hardly a small IT shop pricetag.

I'm not a OpenSolaris expert, but for under $600 you can build a 4 TB pooled ZFS server on relatively low cost hardware. Hell, even $1k you can get a nice rack mount with 4 1TB sata2 drives from Dell, throw opensolaris on it and your up and running.

With that said, linux REALLY needs ZFS , and not in userspace.

Re:Looks great.. but (1)

Unknown Relic (544714) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712765)

While that may be true, you're hardly comparing apples to apples. The entry level 2TB model has 14 146GB 10K RPM SAS drives.

You'd still be able to whitebox it for a lot cheaper, but not 4x1TB SATA cheap.

It was also mentioned on the pre-announcement discussion that some people at Sun wanted to price it lower, but internally the powers that be didn't want their hardware to look "cheap". As such, prices went up. The good news is that supposedly the VARs will have some room to play with on the pricing. Not the most straight forward way to go on Sun's part, but the actual prices may be a fair bit lower at the end of the day. Hell, you can get it at 20% off from Sun directly through their try and buy program.

Re:Looks great.. but (4, Informative)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712919)

Will that $600 box be using 14 146 GB 10k RPM SAS disks?

These boxes aren't about providing stupid storage, their about providing massive I/O throughput. The larger boxes scale to 44TB and 576TB respectively. This also automatically moves frequently accessed data to flash drives (and RAM) for even faster I/O.

These are absolutely monstrous compared to anything you could build for $600. There seems to be quite a bit of custom hardware to power this setup.

Re:Looks great.. but (1)

Fweeky (41046) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713379)

Second level ARC is standard in recent ZFS; you could just plonk some X25-M's in your X4240 [sun.com] , attach a disk shelf [compaq.com] to it, configure ZFS to use the SSD's as secondary ARC for it, and pretty much have something like what Sun are selling.

You know, just with less vendor support, and more effort involved in building, configuring, tuning and testing. If you come out of it with change from $10k, you probably earned it with the effort you put in.

Re:Looks great.. but (1)

boner (27505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713657)

You should use a mix of SLC and MLC. MLC for the frequent read, infrequent write, SLC for the frequent write.

There is more underneath the covers than meets the eye.

Re:Looks great.. but (2, Informative)

JesseMcDonald (536341) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712991)

With that said, linux REALLY needs ZFS , and not in userspace.

Due to deliberate licensing issues we won't have native ZFS in Linux any time soon. However, BtrFS [kernel.org] should be merging into the mainline kernel soon enough (~2.6.29), and it includes most of ZFS's features plus a few of its own: storage pools, checksumming, mutable snapshots, built-in extent-level striping and mirroring, etc. It even supports in-place, reversible conversion from ext3 via a copy-on-write snapshot.

Re:Looks great.. but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713461)

Checksumming is in ZFS. Some of the other features you mention are also in ZFS.

Re:Looks great.. but (2, Insightful)

E-Lad (1262) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713485)

Yes yes yes, you can do that with just $1000 and a afternoon at Fry's or browsing Newegg, right?

Everyone's missing the point here, and a lot of what is being said could be applied (just as wrongly) to NetApp... after all, those are just x86 boxes running a BSD kernel.

The special sauce here is not so much the underlying OpenSolaris OS (which does provid the IO and services such as CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, data replication, and so on) but the Fishworks software put on top of it. Built-in failover clustering, the integrated web GUI and CLI... if you weren't paying attention to the console during boot, you might not even have a clue that's it's OpenSolaris underneath... which is one of the marks of a good appliance OS... easy to manage and the idiosyncrasies of the underlying OS is sufficiently abstracted away.

You don't need to be a Solaris admin to use this, just like you don't need to know about BSD to run a NetApp. The difference here is that this takes pretty high-end x86 hardware and does better than NetApp, for cheap. Ever see a support contract for any of the NetApp filers? I guarantee you'll spin a 180 on your heals and pretend you never saw the number.

Sun replace RAID with RAID (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712591)

What a stupid and misleading title. You can, and I suspect most people will, use RAID with these boxes. RAID-Z more than likely, though other types of RAID are possible too. It is not a RAID-less box, it's a box without a dedicated RAID controller.

Re:Sun replace RAID with RAID (5, Funny)

Purity Of Essence (1007601) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713009)

"Sun replace RAID with RAID"

No, they replaced it with "RAD"; they took the "I" right out of it.

Re:Sun replace RAID with RAID (1)

seriv (698799) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714679)

I could easily be wildly off here, but I am pretty sure I spotted a raid controller in the picture of 7110. It was in the position of the raid controller on other sun 2U boxes, and it looked like a raid controller, so.....

How well does it integrate in a M$ environment? (1)

C3ntaur (642283) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712657)

I remember Sun's 52xx NAS storage line was a non-starter for many because it didn't have a lot of the competition's (NTAP) features that made it Just Work with Active Directory, CIFS, etc. I wonder if this is still the case?

Re:How well does it integrate in a M$ environment? (2, Informative)

mistshadow (35753) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714527)

It supports active directory, and user mapping between AD and LDAP. The CIFS stack is in-kernel.

No RAID? (4, Informative)

wonkavader (605434) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712675)

"All of the new unified storage systems include comprehensive data services at no extra cost, Fowler said. These include snapshots/cloning, restores, mirroring, RAID-5, RAID-6, replication, active-active clustering, compression, thin provisioning, CIFS (Common Internet File System), NFS (Network File System), iSCSI, HTTP/FTP and WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning)."

Note that this system includes "RAID".

Re:No RAID? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25712861)

"All of the new unified storage systems include comprehensive data services at no extra cost, Fowler said. These include snapshots/cloning, restores, mirroring, RAID-5, RAID-6, replication, active-active clustering, compression, thin provisioning, CIFS (Common Internet File System), NFS (Network File System), iSCSI, HTTP/FTP and WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning)."

Note that this system includes "RAID".

(overheard in the Sun IT break room)

"You know that fucking clueless Marketing guy? Yeah, he asked me to write up something for the new RAID-free array. Heh, I hooked him up."

*Zetta?* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25712709)

So zetta slow!

Sun's storage strategy (5, Interesting)

thanasakis (225405) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712717)

Considering that they've purchased MySQL, StorageTec and Cluster File Systems (of Lustre fame), developed ZFS, implemented CIFS in OpenSolaris from scratch (not Samba based), participated in NFSv4 and constructed the thumper, these machines hardly come as a surprise.

For the last two years, almost all their moves are targeted towards one goal: Enter the storage market from a non-conventional angle. They want to do it unconventionally, because they know that storage more than anything else is becoming The commodity and today's toys won't cut it. Plus, at this point, all the mainstream storage vendors have difficulty tapping the low end. They may be able to sell their expensive products to clients with deep pockets, but for small businesses it's a different story. No to mention that they are unwilling to reinvent themselves. OTOH with all these inventions Sun may be trying to do what it did with workstations when it started in the 80s, start low and increase. Remains to be seen whether they can pull it.

Not RAID = unRAID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25712721)

Somebody needs to introduce them to unRAID ... parity protection without striping.

12TB for $2,000. (System plus 13 1TB drives (12 for data plus 1 for parity))

What Everyone is Missing (3, Informative)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712745)

This system will intelligently move the data around to put frequently accessed bits on the SSDs. This is a lot more than a 2u server with a few TB drives in a raid 10.

Re:What Everyone is Missing (0)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712841)

What you're missing is that SSDs typically have that built in, and that ideally you want a file system that doesn't worry about large-scale contiguity because it results in unnecessary reads and writes.

Re:What Everyone is Missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25712947)

SSD's typically have the ability to copy frequently accessed data form other disks?

Re:What Everyone is Missing (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713635)

I apologize if I jumped the gun, but that wasn't clear from his post.

Re:What Everyone is Missing (1)

jcnnghm (538570) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712971)

SSD drives can usually detect they are part of a cluster of traditional disks, and can request that data to be written to the traditional disks in the cluster be written to them instead, to improve I/O?

Re:What Everyone is Missing (1)

boner (27505) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713713)

Not according to the Intel X25-E specs...

Care to provide some proof? I don't believe for a second that an SSD drive can intelligently copy bits from a hard-drive. It would violate the way storage drivers work. The system does this, not the drive.

Re:What Everyone is Missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25712895)

This man knows what he is talking about. Listen people, if you can go build something larger, better, faster than what groups of engineers at Sun have quite possibly working on for a long time, then put your money where your mouth is! Either do that or get off Slashdot and go back to configuring your 10 node windows domain.

Congrats to Sun, Looks like a great product.

Re:What Everyone is Missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713497)

Hadoop [apache.org] is significantly more disruptive than Yet Another Storage box. It also scales larger and was written in less time than the 10 years it took Bonwick's team to build ZFS.

Re:What Everyone is Missing (3, Informative)

SiggyTheViking (890997) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713811)

Read this [sun.com] .
Sun rocks.
Real engineering here.

Zettabyte? (3, Informative)

ethan0 (746390) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712773)

ZFS doesn't stand for zettabyte anything. "The name originally stood for "Zettabyte File System", but is now an orphan acronym." from wikipedia, sourced from http://blogs.sun.com/bonwick/entry/you_say_zeta_i_say [sun.com] .

and of course "RAID Array" is lovelily redundant phrasing.

Re:Zettabyte? (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714675)

It could be a cheap, redundant, RAID array of drives :P

E4? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25712791)

lead to 'cleaner window5, SUN or

look at Sun x4500 (1)

luguvalium2 (466022) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712853)

1] The filesystem is called ZFS not Zettabyte

2] They appear to be twice as expensive as storage solutions that sun already sells.

Compare:
  Sun Storage 7210, Option 3, $117,995, 44Tb [sun.com]

with
  Sun Fire X4500 Server, Config 4, $61,995, 48Tb [sun.com]
 

Re:look at Sun x4500 (1)

BrainInAJar (584756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713487)

For data warehousing sure, but if performance matters as well as reliability look at the cost per IOPS and these things come out as damned cheap

Re:look at Sun x4500 (3, Informative)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713761)

While it certainly doesn't make up the ~$50k difference on its own, the 7210 _does_ come with 64G of RAM (vs 16G) and a pair of 18G SSDs. They're not completely identical.

For the love of FSM... (5, Informative)

More_Cowbell (957742) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712863)

People, please stop trying to compare a couple of drives from Newegg tossed in a chassis as a similar product for thousands less, simply because you have the same storage capacity.
That's not even apples and oranges, it's more like apples and redwoods.
Last I checked Netapp was still charging $10,000 per TB! [dedupecalc.com] Do you really think there is no reason for this?

Re:For the love of FSM... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713569)

When Jonathan Schwartz talks about commodity economics, people are going to compare his prices against whitebox prices. He asked for it.

Re:For the love of FSM... (3, Insightful)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713685)

I hate to say it, but for the small business market, they should be compared. If you're selling a 2TB redundant storage device to a small business without a huge IT department, then you're competing against what can be built from commodity parts (aka, crap from Newegg + Linux + RAID) because often cost, not performance, is the defining factor.

Re:For the love of FSM... (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713771)

Last I checked Netapp was still charging $10,000 per TB! Do you really think there is no reason for this?

Of course there's a reason for this...the CEO needs a new private jet.

Really, the profit in the storage arena is insane. Part of that because the marketing convinces management they need 50,000 IOPS to run what is essentially a flat-file database. Add in the "reliability" and "support" (which generally means that if you don't mind being told that a replacement part won't be in for a week and as long as you follow standard backup strategies, you probably won't actually lose any data), and it's pretty much a license to print money.

You really can do a lot of this stuff much cheaper, and even Sun know this. As other people have pointed out, Sun already sells much cheaper solutions to the exact same problem.

no RAID or volume management? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25712905)

Actually...ZFS includes volume management...and while it's not conventional RAID, it still is RAID, just the better ZFS equivalents (i.e. RAID-Z instead of RAID-5).

RAID-Less how??? (4, Insightful)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 5 years ago | (#25712969)

  • It doesn't use Redundant storage?
  • The storage isn't an Array? (Meaning what? That it's composed of non-uniform parts?)
  • It's not Inexpensive?
  • It's not Disk-based?

The third one I believe--the rest I'm skeptical about...

Re:RAID-Less how??? (3, Funny)

raynet (51803) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713119)

Maybe instead of an array of disks it is a hash or maybe even a linked list.

Re:RAID-Less how??? (1)

LotsOfPhil (982823) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713223)

In this ($1000s/TB) case, the I stands for independent.

Re:RAID-Less how??? (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713367)

It's redundant, it's an array, and it contains disks, but with 140GB SAS disks, inexpensive is definitely not an adjective that applies. It's a RAEP solution, which sounds like it's probably illegal.

Re:RAID-Less how??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713553)

Umm. What? Care to comment a little more on that one?

Re:RAID-Less how??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713955)

Redundant Array of Expensive Disks.

Re:RAID-Less how??? (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713559)

It's a RAEP solution, which sounds like it's probably illegal.

A RAEP-ier solution would be even worse. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Xtacles [wikipedia.org]

Re:RAID-Less how??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25714003)

If you spent even one moment educating yourself instead of immediately posting your worthless opinion to slashdot you would realise that ZFS has raid capability built into it. Think linux mdadm that isn't a completely unreliable piece of junk.

DOWNLOAD THE STORAGE SIMULATOR! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713263)

enough whining by people who really dont know what they are talking about (save those of us who do)

Check out the simulator that Sun built for you to try it in a VMWare instance:

https://cds.sun.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/CDS-CDS_SMI-Site/en_US/-/USD/ViewProductDetail-Start?ProductRef=SunStorageSim-1.0-OTH-G-F@CDS-CDS_SMI

Re:DOWNLOAD THE STORAGE SIMULATOR! (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713829)

For anyone interested, when I registered to allow me to do the download, it took the Sun server 30 seconds from the time I hit the "Register" button until it returned the result page.

I guess they aren't using the bad-ass storage they are trying to sell.

The machine is filled with SSD, not hard drives. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25713423)

Did anyone bother in this entire thread to read the full article plus material?

The machines are filled with SSD, this is not about spinning drives.

Go back and rethink your arguments once you do the math.

Re:The machine is filled with SSD, not hard drives (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25714359)

Mr AC, did you bother to read the entire story plus the information that Sun publishes?

These machines are filled with spinning disks. The base models have no SSD at all, while the higher-end models contain varying amounts [sun.com] of SSD to use as a high-speed cache.

The minimum price for a mere 18GB of SSD? $71,995.00.

(You can fall off your chair now.)

Go back and rethink your arguments once you do the math.

Others call this "software RAID"... (0)

gweihir (88907) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713639)

I have been unsing this on Linux for nearly a decade. Marketing again selling something old as "new"?

Re:Others call this "software RAID"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25714567)

you have not been using this for nearly a decade. Come back to the discussion when you have a clue about what Sun has released.

RAID-less? Not so! RTFA! (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713661)

FTFA:

All of the new unified storage systems include comprehensive data services at no extra cost, Fowler said. These include snapshots/cloning, restores, mirroring, optional RAID-5, optional RAID-6, replication, active-active clustering, compression, thin provisioning, CIFS (Common Internet File System), NFS (Network File System), iSCSI, HTTP/FTP and WebDAV (Web-based Distributed Authoring and Versioning).

So, these RAID-less devices all include optional RAID-5 and optional RAID-6?

Putting the RAID as part of the fully integrated hardware-software black box may be a convenience, and the particular way it is implemented may save money, configuration, reduce failure points, or provide some other benefit, but what it doesn't do is make the box "RAID-less" in any reasonable sense.

DL180/185 (0, Troll)

paugq (443696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25713727)

Four easy steps to dead-cheap SAN/NAS storage:

  1. Buy HP [hp.com] DL180 [hp.com] or DL185 [hp.com] servers, with a Smart Array P800 RAID card
  2. Buy 12 to 14 1TB or even 1.5TB hard disks [seagate.com] from Seagate and trays in eBay (I've bought in the past from SCSITray [ebay.com] and there are other sellers)
  3. Install Solaris 10 [sun.com] or Nexenta OS [nexenta.com] , set up ZFS
  4. Sun goes bankrupt

Re:DL180/185 (1)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714183)

This is BS. Clearly.
You have certainly never done this yourself.
First of all, the P800 is a PoS for anything but the included RAID5 or 6 (we haven't even tested RAID6, IIRC).
It has a maximum number of logical disks it can create and you will most likely have to reboot the server and go into Array Manager to setup another "array" (single disk). You can't use the RAID on the card, because ZFS wants to control the disks themself, without a RAID-controller in between (and ideally no Cache-RAM).
My co-worker's been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
So, you've got to buy one of these: http://www.sun.com/storagetek/storage_networking/hba/sas/specs.xml [sun.com] and connect a good external JBOD chassis to it (MSA70 e.g.). For SATA, we use Promise VtrakJ610s (which are not good, but cheap...).
Then it works.
But you will miss some features, like the red or yellow light when a disk is dead (so you'll have to count...).
And of course, you also don't get all the integration-work SUN has done with their new filers, all the statistics, all the health-checks, the GUIs.
In the end, you end-up a bit cheaper, but with a lot more labour and no support and no warrantee from anybody (best-effort only support from HP and SUN for Solaris on the DLxxx,)

Re:DL180/185 (1)

paugq (443696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714589)

I've done with the DL320s, P400 and Linux, as Solaris did not work on the DL320s at the moment. It does certainly work.

Re:DL180/185 (1)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714631)

Linux does not have ZFS.

Re:DL180/185 (1)

level4 (1002199) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714643)

You have certainly never done this yourself.

Or maybe he's still on his 1st or 2nd home-built RAID. In my experience techs tend to build maybe 3 or 4, and be around a while to see the problems, before they say "fuck this" and buy from a vendor.

Home built RAID is great for home use and as a learning experience. Personally, I'd go with a Enhance UltraStor RS16-JS SAS and an Areca ARC-1680ix, but that's just me and because I use macs at home. And I don't really mind it taking 16 hours to rebuild. Oh no, I can't stream my movies at full speed today. Try telling your boss that your ecommerce site will be 10x slower and timing out all over the place for the next day or two at christmastime but that's cool because you saved a few grand last year building the storage array yourself and see the delighted look on his face.

You would have to be nuts to try and pull the "save money by building it myself!" trick in a heavy production environment. You might get away with it for a while, maybe with one or two units. What happens when you have 12? 24? 48? Practically a full time job just babysitting the damn things. And what is your strategy for when, not if, but when the power fails?

I'm actually pretty interested in these Suns. The price isn't *that* bad when you consider that ZFS, in theory, doesn't have to rebuild and should get itself into an inconsistent state less. Those two features alone are pretty much worth the markup IMO. And furthermore, everyone knows Sun RRPs are just there to make the discounts they then offer you look better. No-one pays more than 50-80% of that if you buy more than a couple of things at a time and you have a decent VAR.

oh ok... (3, Interesting)

phaetonic (621542) | more than 5 years ago | (#25714297)

Fortune 500 companies typically standardize hardware, so people who say they can buy this from here, that from there, one more thing from eBay are rediculous.

Also, to those who say small businesses can't afford this, its really an option. Some places like open source hodgepodges of hardware and some do not because their small business generates enough money that investing in enterprise class hardware with gold 4 hour response from a solid company with a history of UNIX experience and integration with Solaris.

Also, said Fortune 500 companies get massive discounts, as what you're seeing is retail price.
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