Sun Archiving Goes Open Source

A new tape library and drives use OpenSolaris and ZFS to make them go.

Sun Microsystems, which is always fighting to come from behind in the storage hardware and software space, is staying on message about the way it is integrating open source and open standards capabilities into all of its products.
The company Feb. 28 introduced four new additions to its archive portfolio-two new models and two upgraded versions of standard products. All of them use software that already is open source-or that will be open source soon-as part of OpenSolaris and the Zettabyte File System.
Data archiving is the fastest-growing segment of the storage market, according to analysts from Gartner, ESG and others. Archive sales are being sparked by the huge expansion in unstructured data growth, longer data retention periods, organizations using digital assets for business growth, and regulatory compliance needs.
Sun added a scalable, energy-conscious modular digital tape library, the StorageTek SL3000, and a smaller fast-access tape drive, the StorageTek T9840D. The company also introduced enhancements to its archive data security software and to a multitiered archive appliance that will work cross-platform with Solaris 10, Windows, Linux and various versions of Unix.
The new products, some several years in development, represent further results of Sun's $4 billion acquisition of StorageTek in 2005.
"The StorageTek SL3000 is the world's first midrange library to deliver enterprise-class availability and features like non-disruptive capacity and performance scalability," Alex North, Sun's group manager for tape and archive products, told eWEEK.
The SL3000 is the first of its kind to allow upgrades up to 3,000 tape slots without needing downtime, North said. It has flexible partitioning for easier and more efficient archive data management, and its "Centerline" firmware improves time to data (cartridge-to-drive performance) speed, he said. The SL3000's basic configuration starts at $68,000.
The T9840D tape drive claims an average data access time that is up to four times faster than conventional capacity-centric tape drives, North said. Because it is backward-compatible, it is the first tape drive to enable users to reuse and reformat media across four generations of StorageTek drives. The T9840D, which also features build-in encryption, costs $38,000 per drive.
Sun Crypto Key Management System 2.0 is the first key management package to deliver a single, centralized key encryption architecture for multivendor tape drives, North said. The price is $8,000 per system.
Sun claims that its Infinite Store Archive System-with a base price of $130,000-is the first multitiered archive appliance in the market. It boasts new enhancements that include a more robust policy set for automation of archive data movement across tiers of storage, he said.
It can move data to tape or disk with little or no latency, among many other features, North said.
"Sun, through its StorageTek acquisition, has put together a good line of products for all size businesses," Henry Baltazar, storage analyst with The 451 Group, told eWEEK.

The key, Baltazar said, is how well Sun integrates the products so that they work well together through OpenSolaris.

"Right now, their catalog looks like Frankenstein's monster," he said. "They're all over the place with disk drives, tape, the new Honeycomb software, their hybrid disk-tape stuff. ... They've got to find a way to integrate all these things-and get new developer tools available to work with them-so it's easy for their customers to do the same in their own shops. Sun's storage strategy is still a work in progress."
Developers can download open Sun's archive technology within OpenSolaris for free here.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...