Sun Opens Up Storage

Sun Microsystems has donated data storage technologies to the OpenSolaris community, a move that will allow developers to run the software on storage arrays from Sun competitors IBM, HP and Dell.

The systems vendor is donating management features from Solaris ZFS, the dynamic file system in the Solaris 10 operating system that makes it easier for storage administrators to manage corporate files such as e-mail, spreadsheets, PDFs and images.

Sun will offer the ZFS Clone Promotion, which allows storage users to turn a clone back into the active file system, and the Recursive Snapshots feature, which creates snapshots for descendent file systems.

Other contributed features include Double Parity RAIDZ, which ensures that no data will be lost if up to two storage devices fail, and Hot Spares for ZFS Storage Pool Devices, which are basically data protection disks that can replace failed devices.

Sun will also donate point-in-time copy and remote-mirror data services to allow volumes and their snapshots to be replicated between servers from different vendors; NFS v4.1 for parallel access to files distributed among multiple servers; and an iSCSI device drivers to let the SCSI protocol work over TCP/IP networks.

Sun also has plans to open source technologies from its StorageTek assets later this year. These will include Sun StorageTek QFS shared file system, Sun StorageTek Storage Archive Manager, Sun’s kernel-based CIFS server and Sun StorageTek 5800 client interfaces and server.

Nigel Dessau, senior vice president of storage marketing and business operations at Sun, said Sun donated the file system and copying services because storage is still largely controlled by proprietary operating systems and expensive upgrades, with customers having solutions dictated to them by vendors.

“We’ve seen a wave of general purpose and open source sweep through the systems business in the last five or 10 years,” Dessau said. “It’s really changed the economics forever… but we’ve not seen that go through the storage world yet.”

Dessau said the new storage community on includes developers adding data management tools and customizing the storage stack for new applications and platforms, as well as system admins installing Solaris technology in data centers.

Donating storage technologies is a continuation of Sun’s plan to open source its software portfolio through the OpenSolaris community, which launched in January 2005.

With OpenSolaris, a departure from past practices, the company decided to enable its software to run on as many hardware platforms as possible, aiming to best competitors by offering attractive features such as N1 Grid Containers for virtualization, and DTrace and Predictive Self Healing for diagnostics and management.

Sun touted the move as a way to enable Solaris 10 to penetrate hardware platforms from rivals IBM, HP and Dell.

Article courtesy of Internet News

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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