Feeds

Forget R&D, Sun buys its Lustre now

NetApp still on notice

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Like some sort of file managing addict, Sun Microsystems has acquired yet another high-end file system. The server maker today revealed that it will buy most of Cluster File Systems' intellectual property and business assets, including the Lustre File System.

The acquisition, due to close this year, gives Sun a fairly popular parallel (cluster) file system that helps manage data across thousands of servers and vast amounts of storage. Cluster File Systems has worked as the commercial backer behind the open source Lustre effort and provides support for the software. Meanwhile, companies such as HP with its Scalable File Share have done their own work around Lustre.

This type of file system software is typically used by high performance computing customers. In the case of Lustre, you'll most often find it at government-funded research labs.

Companies such as IBM and SGI make their own parallel file systems, while Panasas is perhaps the best known start-up with such software.

In all cases, the technology helps provide parallel access, rather than serial, to data, which improves the communications between servers and storage systems. Customers with large clusters, like the folks at government labs, need this kind of performance boost.

Sun plans to showcase Lustre as part of its x86-based supercomputing line.

In so doing, Sun will continue to improve Lustre for the Linux operating system, while also working to bring it over Solaris. In addition, Sun plans to combine Lustre servers with its homegrown ZFS file system.

Dial back to 2001, and you'd find Sun acquiring file system maker LSC for $74m. Sun bought the company for its Archive Manager-File System (SAM-FS) and Quick File System (QFS) and tried to develop the software over the past few years with limited success. Last we heard, the old LSC crew had actually left Sun and gone to work at Panasas.

Sun's Lustre buy also draws interest because of the company's legal spat with Network Appliance over file system technology. NetApp has fingered ZFS as an issue.

As it turns out, ZFS will be one component of a top-secret project that Sun plans to rollout early next year called FiShWoRkS, which is some sort of NetApp, Cisco, HP, IBM, Dell, EMC, Insert Vendor Here killer. Or at least that's what we gathered from the gin and tonic-soaked talk of the engineers behind the project.

We think fIShwOrks will allow administrators to reconfigure x86 systems sort of on-the-fly. So, you could create a NAS system or a security appliance with a couple clicks of a button. In addition, the FishworKS boxes should have sophisticated performance monitoring tools that stem from Sun's DTrace work.

Overall, Sun is looking to reduce the cost of specialized gear sold by the likes of NetApp and Cisco, and you can see why these vendors might be upset about this.

The purchase of Lustre won't help matters, since Lustre-based systems have the potential to go after NetApp's most lucrative accounts. Er, that is if Sun can actually do anything with the technology rather than letting it languish like most of its systems management software buys. See you in Minnesota? ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Object storage bods Exablox: RAID is dead, baby. RAID is dead
Bring your own disks to its object appliances
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.