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Sun's top brains salivate over storage kit and code

Fishworks eyed as cure to disk stank

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FFS - Flogging File Systems

Both the HPC and storage story at Sun revolve around the company's file system work. Fowler is awful proud of NetApp's favorite file system - ZFS - and of the newly acquired Lustre file system.

According to Fowler, ZFS will "become the underlying way we instantiate data onto to disk." So, moving forward, Sun plans to add ZFS hooks into any product with a disk component. "The Lustre guys have already ported ZFS over as underlying technology with their software."

Even new chum Dell appears to buy into the ZFS story.

Kevin Noreen, Dell's affable marketing manager for open solutions, told us that his customers have been asking about ZFS support. And, building on Dell's deal to sell servers running Solaris, the company intends to examine supporting ZFS on storage gear "very soon."

Meanwhile, Lustre made its way onto most of the top ten supercomputers in the world, according to the most recent Top500 list.

Next year, Sun plans to round out its storage software story with the release of the as of now top secret code known as FiSHWOrKs, which may or may not stand for Fully idiosyncratic Stopgap Hardware Warped On rotated Kelp slop. According to Fowler, this mysterious software "plays into our management" portfolio.

Disk Knobbing

Clearly, Sun has quite a few knobs to turn in 2008 as it goes about the daunting task of becoming a storage vendor that customers really care about.

Granted, the purchase of StorageTek for $4.1bn did shake up the storage world for a few months and buy Sun some much needed attention. Everyone loves to talk tape, and securing the services of the flashy StorageTek transformed Sun from an also ran to a ran ran.

Oh wait. None of that happened.

Thankfully, Sun's current crop of gear and maturing storage software proves far more exciting than robotic tape handlers. And it's interesting to hear that Bechtolsheim has joined in on Fowler's ambitions to make storage a zestful enterprise for Sun.

As always with Sun, customers will need to see if the company can deliver on its research and development ambitions. Sun has a tendency to think and talk big, while shipping goods at a more modest pace. ®

Register editor Ashlee Vance has just pumped out a new book that's a guide to Silicon Valley. The book starts with the electronics pioneers present in the Bay Area in the early 20th century and marches up to today's heavies. Want to know where Gordon Moore eats Chinese food, how unions affected the rise of microprocessors or how Fairchild Semiconductor got its start? This is the book for you - available at Amazon US here or in the UK here.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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