Report: Sun Open Storage

David Miller david3d at
Wed Nov 19 06:25:42 UTC 2008

Fair enough I can see your points.  I think what makes the Sun solution open
is that it's running x86 hardware.  You're free to install what ever
OS/Software you want on the hardware.  Just don't expect anything more than
hardware support from Sun if you choose to do that.  This is more than you
can do if you have NetApp or EMC hardware.

But I think you'll find that $22k doesn't buy you much of anything when it
comes to enterprise storage.

On Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 11:28 PM, Onno Benschop <onno at> wrote:

> On 19/11/08 08:13, David Miller wrote:
> > I still think you're missing the point.  The problem was not what Sun
> said
> > or is trying to sell you but with your pre-conception of what they were
> > selling you.  While it is technically a "server" it is really a storage
> > appliance that just happens to be based on Open Solaris and ZFS.  So the
> > technology which it is based on is open source although I'm not sure it
> > really matters here since if the storage vendor goes under there are
> still
> > proprietary pieces to this and support would also go away.  So I'm not
> sure
> > how this reduces the risk involved with "Vendor Lockin" since you're
> still
> > locked to Sun to some degree.  But just like any other enterprise class
> > or NAS solution the only job that this appliance has is to store, manage,
> > and serve block and file level access to the storage it hosts.  If you
> want
> > an application to use the storage then like with any other storage system
> > you will need a server that utilizes the storage on that server.  iSCSI
> > would probably make the most sense here for servers where file access is
> > better if you want to use the storage unit as a file server to clients
> > directly.
> >
> This confuses me because as I outlined in my original message, I had no
> pre-conceived ideas about what they were offering - in fact, this was
> the first storage presentation I ever went to.
> I was told by Sun during the presentation that there was 15% CPU
> utilisation in data centres and that vendor lock-in was a result of
> closed source solutions. When in addition to that I was told that the
> storage server was running Open Solaris, used commodity hardware, relied
> on the Open Source developer community and that there were a whole bunch
> of pre-installed services, such as DNS, HTTP, FTP and that it was
> certified with MySQL and Oracle, I made the leap to "this is a server
> that runs stuff". I'll admit that I made that leap without any actual
> direct prompting from Sun. Though you'd have to admit that all the bits
> do add up to that.
> I'm not disputing that Sun is selling an appliance, it's Sun who told me
> that it was using Open Solaris and that this made it open. When I dug
> deeper into that statement by asking about interoperability,
> expandability, access and support, it turned out that the "open"
> solution that Sun was selling wasn't really open at all.
> Finally, from my perspective, this is a political issue, the hardware
> seems clearly capable of running things beyond ZFS and a logging daemon.
> I was told as much by the presentation. The reason I cannot is because
> it would void my support contract - something which I can understand -
> we do that too with unsupported packages. What I'm commenting on is that
> I was told to think of it as a server, and when I did, I was told that
> it was not a server but an appliance, and a not very compelling one at
> that - not from a pricing, or perhaps a performance perspective, but
> from an interoperability and integration perspective. I thought $22k
> would buy at least a little of that.
> --
> Onno Benschop
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