Sun 'Opens Up' More Storage

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-07-09 Print this article Print

The New J4000 storage array line is modeled on the high-end X4500 Thumper server, but is aimed at smaller enterprises.

Sun Microsystems July 9 added to its self-styled "open storage" portfolio by launching a new line of storage arrays for the midmarket and a new high-performance addition to its Sun Fire X4500 "Thumper" storage server.

The various editions-Sun Storage J4200, J4400 and J4500-are differentiated by varying raw capacities and designed for midrange to enterprise users.

Economics plays a big role in all of this; these machines are decidedly cheaper, starting at $3,000 apiece, than competing arrays from companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and EMC. Dell has a few arrays in this price range.

Sun Storage Group Product Manager Ray Austin told me that the J4000 product line offers a "10-times cost savings over traditional arrays when used in combination with other Sun servers, OpenSolaris operating system and Solaris ZFS."

This is largely because the software that runs it-including the OpenSolaris operating system and Zettabyte File System-is open source and free of charge. No licensing fees, ever. A data center manager has to consider that factor pretty seriously; repeating costs can be a killer over time.

"We look at these arrays as building blocks for enterprises to enable open-source storage deployment," Austin said. "The 'J' in the product title indicates an array, which has no compute module in it. It will work with virtually any controller on the market, because it is an open systems architecture."

Sun also introduced the Sun Fire X4540 storage server version-including a powerful compute module-of the Thumper system, which offers high storage density and 30 to 50 percent in power and cooling savings over competing servers, Austin said.

Austin said the Sun Fire X4540 SATA (Serial ATA) is the first open storage server that integrates low-cost industry standard server and storage components under an open architecture that runs Solaris OS and Solaris ZFS.

The X4540 system has also been certified for the MySQL database and the open source Zmanda Recovery Manager for MySQL data backup.

Some specs on the J4000 line:
-J4200 system: Holds up to 12 drives per tray and up to 46 SAS/SATA drives;
-J4400 system: Up to four drives per tray, up to six SAS ports, up to maximum 192 3.5-inch SAS/SATA drives;
-J4500: Four-rack unit offers 48 drives per tray, up to four SAS ports and up to 480 3.5-inch SATA drives.

Sun also announced a new connectivity component, the Sun StorageTek SAS RAID controller. This is a RAID host bus adapter for Sun servers that allows the J4000 systems to connect directly to servers through one or more high-speed interfaces for highly scalable external storage expansion. It enables users to connect the J4000 arrays to Solaris, Linux or Windows operating systems, and also can be deployed into open storage and OpenSolaris environments.

The Sun Storage J4000 line starts at $3,000 and is available immediately. For more information, go here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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