Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System review
Sun delivers a unique network storage solution with more standard features than the rest and no hidden charges.
Hidden costs are an issue we often come across with network storage solutions. Volume snapshots, thin provisioning and remote site replication are essential to large businesses but many vendors hide these away as optional extras and expect you to pay heavily for these privileges.
Not so with Sun Microsystems as its Unified Storage System (USS) family offers a more tempting proposal by including everything as standard. For your money you get unlimited snapshots, integral data compression, iSCSI thin provisioning, virus scanning and even remote replication.
Sun claims the 7000 family as the world's first open storage solution as all its appliances run the OpenSolaris operating system. It delivers support for CIFS, NFS, HTTP, FTP and iSCSI so you have full NAS and IP SAN functions. However, unification isn't yet complete as FC SANs are not currently available and Sun advised us that support won't be implemented until later this year.
There's much more as not only do the 7000 appliances support RAID-5 and -6 arrays but also offer Sun's ZFS Hybrid storage pools. These allow high performance Flash memory devices and DRAM memory plus high capacity hard disks to be combined into a single storage entity.
On review is the Sun Storage 7410 solution which comprises a well-specified 2U Sun Fire 7440 rack server acting as the head unit. This was kitted out with a pair of quad-core 2300 Opterons but this server is quite unique as it can accept an extra mezzanine tray with two more Opteron sockets making it the only 2U quad-socket AMD server on the market.
Obviously, you'll need to specify Series 8300 processors all round and we recently took an exclusive look at this remarkable server in our sister title PC Pro. The server is also equipped with a pair of dual-port SAS adapters allowing multiple J4440 disk arrays to be daisy-chained from it in fault tolerant links.
The head unit and single J4440 array on review also came supplied with SSDs and these are used by ZFS as fast read caches for active data. Writes are initially made to the SSDs and using background tasks the data is then flushed onto the hard disks. ZFS also keeps an eye on frequently used data and makes sure it's in the SSD cache for faster access and lower latency.
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