Sun Takes The Wraps Off ‘Honeycomb’

Sun Microsystems today debuted its long-awaited ‘Honeycomb’ technology for fixed content archiving.

Sun bills the new Sun StorageTek 5800 storage system as “a new category of storage that is optimized for large-scale storage of fixed data.” Sun has pledged to open source all code associated with the project.

In addition to features of CAS systems like EMC Centera and the Hitachi Content Archive Platform, Sun’s 5800 also boasts an open development platform and the ability to run applications like search on it along with storage functions, said Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Tony Asaro.

Greg Schulz, senior analyst and founder of StorageIO, said Sun’s 5800 and sibling 5600 data storage servers could potentially cannibalize other server and storage sales — or they could open new markets for Sun at the expense of HP, HDS, EMC and IBM.

“If Sun has any advantage here, it will be their ability to leverage their existing installed base of tape-based archiving solution customers and partners to get them to shift and start using a Sun disk-based data archiving platform,” said Schultz.

Sun said 10 customers are already using more than 400 terabytes of StorageTek 5800 capacity, including the Alberta Library, CareStream Healthcare, Johns Hopkins University, Max Planck Institute, Oxford University, Purdue University, Southampton University, Stanford University, University of Calgary and the University of Michigan.

A number of partners, open source organizations and ISVs are working with Sun to develop products and applications for the 5800 system, including BakBone, EPrints Services, Fedora Commons, General Atomics — Nirvana, StorageSwitch, Tiani Spirit and VTLS.

Future applications will likely include features like data encryption, de-duplication and compression, said Sun senior manager of strategy and planning Patrick Auth.

One obstacle facing the CAS market has been a lack of standards. John Considine, Sun’s storage systems product group director, said that’s one reason for Sun’s open source and API approach. He also said that Sun supports the XAM metadata standard.

“We’re very much for that standard,” said Considine.

Pricing for the Sun StorageTek 5800 is $245,000 for a 16-node, 32TB configuration. An eight-node configuration is also available.

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Paul Shread
Paul Shread
eSecurity Editor Paul Shread has covered nearly every aspect of enterprise technology in his 20+ years in IT journalism, including an award-winning series on software-defined data centers. He wrote a column on small business technology for, and covered financial markets for 10 years, from the dot-com boom and bust to the 2007-2009 financial crisis. He holds a market analyst certification.

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