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Open sourcing NetApp killer

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Sun Microsystems appears to have open sauced many of the software components that make up its elusive FISHworks NetApp killer.

The company, on a regular basis, frees up code found in its Solaris operating system to the so-called OpenSolaris community. The latest code dump features a host of storage-centric software. Sun imagines that any old hack can take the applications and create a fancy NAS (network attached storage) box.

“This (technology) will enable community members to combine OpenSolaris with hardware from any source to create compelling storage solutions at a fraction of the price of traditional proprietary storage vendors,” Sun said in a statement. “This combination of open source and commodity hardware heralds a new stage in the storage industry.”

Not shy about boasting, are they?

The new storage industry stage apparently begins with administration tools for Sun's ZFS file system. You'll find the following ZFS tools in OpenSolaris:

  • ZFS Clone Promotion feature, which allows storage users to turn a clone back into the active file system
  • Recursive Snapshots feature, which automatically creates snapshots for all descendent file systems
  • Double Parity RAIDZ, a data protection enhancement to that provides storage users with enough protection so that no data will be lost if up to two devices fail
  • Hot Spares for ZFS Storage Pool Devices, data protection disks that can replace failed or faulted devices, eliminating downtime after disk failure
  • In addition, Sun has pumped out some broader storage software.

  • Point-in-Time Copy data service and Remote Mirror data service -- allows volumes and their snapshots to be replicated between physically different servers. Includes filter-driver framework and utilities
  • NFS v4.1 (also known as parallel NFS) - provides scalable parallel access to files distributed among multiple servers
  • YANFS (formerly known as WebNFS) - Java implementation of the client side of the XDR, RPC, NFSv2, and NFSv3 protocols
  • iSCSI device drivers - provides both the initiator and target support for the IETF iSCSI protocol which allows the use of the SCSI protocol over TCP/IP networks
  • OSD device drivers and related software - provides both initiator and target support for storage devices that adhere to the SCSI Object-Based Storage Device (OSD) command protocol
  • QLogic Fibre Channel HBA driver -- The QLogic QLC driver enables booting from internal and external Fibre Channel devices and are now a part of OpenSolaris, making Sun's stack of drivers which facilitate I/O activity to host bus adapters open from top to bottom

A number of these tools will no doubt be included with the upcoming FISHworks gear. The Fully Integrated Software and Hardware technology came out of the minds of some of Sun's top Solaris engineers.

So far, Sun has provided little information on exactly what FISHworks will entail, although it did demonstrate a NAS device running the software to analysts during a recent meeting. We've yet to find an analyst that bothered to describe the system in a meaningful way – thanks, guys – and Sun refuses to speak to the press about the FISH food. This is the best we've been able to do.

While you're here, who knows about the X4950 streaming switch or Lyceum? ®

High performance access to file storage

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