Feeds

Forget R&D, Sun buys its Lustre now

NetApp still on notice

High performance access to file storage

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? ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
European Court of Justice rips up Data Retention Directive
Rules 'interfering' measure to be 'invalid'
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Cisco reps flog Whiptail's Invicta arrays against EMC and Pure
Storage reseller report reveals who's selling what
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Bored with trading oil and gold? Why not flog some CLOUD servers?
Chicago Mercantile Exchange plans cloud spot exchange
Just what could be inside Dropbox's new 'Home For Life'?
Biz apps, messaging, photos, email, more storage – sorry, did you think there would be cake?
IT bods: How long does it take YOU to train up on new tech?
I'll leave my arrays to do the hard work, if you don't mind
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.