Report: Sun Open Storage

Mark Schouten mark at
Tue Nov 18 18:59:03 UTC 2008

Hi Onno, and all. See my reaction inline...

On Tue, 2008-11-18 at 17:18 +0900, Onno Benschop wrote:
> Some disclaimers up front. I am an IT consultant, that is, I solve weird
> and wonderful problems for weird and wonderful clients all around the
> world, but mostly rural and remote Australia. I've been in this industry
> for over 26 years, so I'm probably a lot cynical about "revolutionary"
> things. I've never bought any Sun hardware, though a Sparc station did
> land on my desk some years ago where I coerced it into running Debian at
> the time. I've never deployed a storage system, never bought one and
> until recently never needed one. If anything in what I write here is
> contradicted by what Sun says, perhaps you should ask Sun before relying
> on what I said.

As a Sun partner, I've heard about this program some time ago. And I
must say I can't really agree with the negative feel you give this box.
I think, in general, you looked at it the wrong way. Let me get a bit
clearer on this.

> My questions related to some of what was said and I opened up with "How
> do I interface this with other stuff? As in, how do I use my software to
> talk to your hardware?" The response was not good. Basically, you need
> to use their web-interface.

There's also a cli, I've been told.

> I asked about web services. Most web-sites these days are not static
> files, with a web-server on board, how would I deploy a PHP or a PYTHON
> based web application and how does this relate to the HTTP server on
> board? The response was that I should run my own web-server hardware and
> mount the "appliance" across the network using NFS or CIFS. I began to
> wonder what the purpose of the web-server compatibility and service was.

Imagine a Netapp filer. That runs a httpd. Would you deploy websites on
it? Ofcourse not, it's a filer, not a webserver.

> If I used Active Directory or LDAP to authenticate user share access,
> could I use the same infrastructure to manage the actual shares, that
> is, could I define and manage my shares in LDAP and have the appliance
> use that information. "Sure, you'll need to write the software to do
> that, but sure - actually, the answer wasn't that at all, it was 'uhm,
> dunno, uhm not in this release.'"
> If I want to manage the thing using HP OpenView, or anything not Sun,
> could I do that? "Sure, but you'd need to write your own software to
> manage that - actually the answer was, no, but I suppose you could write
> software to do that, it's using Open Solaris and the APIs are published."

This is a bit odd. If you want support from HP OpenView, ask them to
write support (a driver) for it. You can't expect anyone to get this
kind of support. It's a filer, not a domain controller.

> If I wanted to have a fail over system, could I do that at a block
> level? "No, not in this release."

That's something that would be really nice. They (Sun) are working on
getting feedback from partners to add functionality to next releases.

> How is the Oracle and MySQL certification? "Well, you mount the drive
> and it's certified."

Certification means nothing. It just means that Oracle and Mysql(duh)
find the appliance stable enough to deploy database data on it.

> So, if I log-in and add a service, what does that do to my service
> agreement? "It voids your agreement."

Ofcourse it does. Back to the Netapp; if you hack your way into that,
your warranty voids.

> So, coming in the door thinking, wow, Sun has an Open Storage system
> that might be able to be managed and deployed in a Ubuntu Server
> environment, I went out the door thinking, Sun has built a system that
> could be really nice, but instead they've built another proprietary
> solution that doesn't really talk to anything else and cannot really be
> managed in anything but a single deployment.

It's not really proprietary. It's OpenSolaris. Download and deploy it,
be my guest. It's hell. :) They've created an appliance for which
they've used Open Source software, and added some proprietary stuff to
make life more easier. 
Compare it to Ubuntu (Open source) and Landscape (closed source). Ubuntu
rules, landscape would be nice to have, but is closed source. (Even
worse, you cannot get the serverpart so you would depend op Canonical
for it).

I think you looked at this box the wrong way, rethink and compare it to
Netapp's and EMC's..

Mark Schouten <mark at>

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