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Sun takes on data boom with expanded storage lineup

Sun is also updating its Sun Fire X4500 hybrid server-storage platform

By Stephen Lawson
July 9, 2008 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - With many organizations scrambling to meet exploding demand for storage capacity without constantly expanding their IT staffs, Sun Microsystems Inc. continues to push open-source software as a solution along with a new series of storage arrays and a hybrid server-storage system.

The company said it is trying to tackle twin problems plaguing some storage-intensive enterprises, such as online video providers, high-performance computing shops and companies with large server farms. In addition to increasing demand for storage capacity, the initial price of that storage and the cost of staffers to manage it remain high, said Ray Austin, group manager for storage product marketing at Sun.

Today, Sun introduced a line of storage arrays called the Sun Storage J4000 series designed for customers ranging from small businesses to large enterprises. The arrays, available now, can cost just $1 per gigabyte for bulk storage, with significant savings resulting from free software, according to Sun. The systems' high density is designed to save precious rack space.

The lineup starts at $3,000 and includes systems with maximum capacities ranging from 46TBs to 480TBs. The basic models are as follows:

  • J4200, with as many as 12 drives per tray, for up to 48 SAS (Serial Attached Small Computer Storage Interface) or Serial ATA drives
  • J4400, which has four drives per tray and as many as six SATA ports, with a maximum 192 SAS/SATA drives
  • J4500, which has four racks, with 48 drives per tray and as many as four SAS ports, for a total of 480 SATA drives
The company also introduced the StorageTek SAS RAID Host Bus Adapter, which lets users attach the J4000 arrays directly to servers running Solaris, Linux or Windows in OpenStorage and OpenSolaris environments.

Sun is also updating its Sun Fire X4500 hybrid server-storage platform, nicknamed "Thumper," with the X4540, which has twice the computing performance for the same price, according to the company. The system includes both server and storage capacity in a single device that takes up just four standard rack units and can hold 48 drives, Sun said. Like the X4500, introduced last year, it is designed for sites where space is at a premium. The X4540 will be available this month, with the X4500 family starting at $22,000.

Sun has built its Open Storage initiative around free software it offers for download. Used in combination with Sun's OpenSolaris server operating system and Solaris ZFS (Zettabyte File System), the J4000 series offers a cost reduction of as much as 10 times over traditional storage arrays, the company said.

Typical storage systems require separate management software for the servers, storage and storage-area network, along with multiple IT administrators to look over each, according to Sun. The company's combination of software systems unifies management and reduces the need for ongoing administration, Austin said.

Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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