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Sun Microsystems Rips Storage Ops with Update to 7000 Line

Less than a year after launching its Sun Storage 7000 family of products, Sun Microsystems has revamped both the hardware and software in the line to boost performance and to introduce some storage industry firsts, including triple RAID, triple mirroring, and channel migration.

Among hardware enhancements are hybrid storage pools that integrate flash memory, useful in situations where users need quick access to active data. "[In this release] flash was a new tier in the memory hierarchy between DRAM and the spindle, not a special kind of storage," explained Bryan Cantrill, distinguished engineer at Sun, in a video posted to the Sun Web site. "We just treat it as a layer in the cache hierarchy, as a layer in the memory hierarchy. It happens by default."

Sun also added triple-parity RAID, which provides data redundancy in the event of as many as three drive failures, and triple mirroring, which adds additional protection against disk failures.

Sun, which is awaiting European regulatory approval for its acquisition by Oracle, has also optimized the storage line for integration with a slew of software products now under Oracle's control, including Oracle and MySQL database management systems and Siebel and PeopleSoft business applications. Integration hooks also extend to products from Microsoft, IBM, SAP, McAfee, and Symantec.

Sun has added a Shadow Data Migration feature that allows storage administrators to migrate data more easily from legacy network attached storage devices. In addition, organizations can now manage their Sun Storage 7000 Systems and Windows storage environment using the Microsoft Management Console.

The company has seen a boost of 30 percent in performance of its 7410, translating to about 1.7 GB to 1.8 GB per second to move data out of the disk and onto the network.

Also, the iSCSI scheme has been updated with management capabilities that allow for more efficient provisioning of server and storage systems, including those running VMware implementations. The company said it expects to provide Infiniband communications to the product line in the third quarter of 2009 and fibre channel in the fourth quarter. Each addition promises to deliver better system bandwidth and reduced latency. Administrators will then be able to work across all three storage bus standards in the same data center according to the company.

"Unified Storage has become one of the fastest growing market segments within the open storage industry, as customers love getting performance, simplicity and scalability at a fraction of the cost of traditional storage products," said Graham Lovell, senior director, Open Storage at Sun.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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