Sun's Honeycomb Hopes to Sweeten Storage - EnterpriseStorageForum.com

Sun's Honeycomb Hopes to Sweeten Storage

Research engineers at Sun Microsystems are creating a new storage appliance to help enterprises locate specific files within a large pool of data.

Sun is basing the network-attached storage machine on technology it calls Project Honeycomb, a cluster architecture that uses new metadata and search tools to retrieve files in large storage systems much more efficiently. Files could include e-mail attachments or medical images, such as x-rays.

Honeycomb senior project manager Mike Davis said the software/hardware combination was created to help customers tap into millions of stored, often static files, spanning several terabytes . The product can be offered as a 3U (5.25 inch) standalone machine, or used as a complement with other equipment in a data center.

Sun has recently decided to make Solaris the primary operating system, with a potential for additional OS support a possibility. It is likely the hardware would run AMD's Opteron chips, of late the chip Sun chooses to bring new products to bear. But Davis didn't rule out the possibility that Honeycomb might run on Intel-based machines as well.

Although there is no set time frame for Honeycomb to become generally available, Davis said his team feels some urgency because of the success of the company's previous NAS machines, the StorEdge 5210 and 5310.

"They're starting to ramp up and we want to make sure there's not too much of a gap before we get to this next-generation, leapfrog-the-industry kind of thing," Davis said. "We're in the process of overlapping the two roadmaps and saying 'What if we can put metadata and search into a generic NAS box.'"

Honeycomb is in pre-beta test with select customers, whom Davis refused to name. He did say Honeycomb will not be ready in time for Sun's next quarterly announcements in February.

The idea of fast file return is becoming popular throughout the IT industry. Compliance regulations are placing stringent demands on enterprises, which in turn ask software and hardware vendors to make systems that help them rapidly call up files.

EMC , IBM , Sun offer storage systems tailored to provide so-called information lifecycle management (ILM) strategies for businesses. EMC makes the Centera file system and IBM's brand is called SAN File System storage software.

But Sun and IBM, whose researchers are working on improving search in middleware, are quickly warming up to the notion of providing fine-grained search in their information management systems.

Davis said the industry seems to be heading toward a convergence of storage and search.

"A lot of people are coming to the realization that large-scale storage in some ways is more of a database problem than a disk problem," Davis said. "We want to give the customers choice. We want to give them the ability to see that capability intrinsically built into their storage systems."


Comment and Contribute

 


(Maximum characters: 1200). You have characters left.

 

 

Storage Daily
Don't miss an article. Subscribe to our newsletter below.

Thanks for your registration, follow us on our social networks to keep up-to-date