Feeds

Sun squirrels away flash drive array

Not opening the overcoat just yet

High performance access to file storage

A service manual (pdf) for a F5100 Flash Array can be found through Sun's website - it's a product which doesn't appear on the site's product pages and hasn't been announced yet.

The squirrelling-away is probably due to pre-Oracle purchase disruption. According to the manual the array, pictured below, is a rack shelf unit which can house 80 flash modules (FMods). The FMods are divided into four independent domains, or expanders, that share an enclosure.

Sun F5100 array

The F5100 is quite heavy, weighing 48.5lbs (22 kilograms). It has four super-capacitor-based Energy Storage Modules (ESMs) and an ESM backplane to provide power to the controller DRAM if there is an electricity outage. Caching write data in DRAM speeds up writes to the array.

There are six fan modules and two redundant 720 watt power supplies. Common Array Manager (CAM) software is needed to operate the array.

MUlti-pathing is not supported on the F5100 array. The array has a SAS interface and uses Sun StorageTek PCIe SAS host bus adapters that provide 2x4 lanes of 3Gbit/s SAS performance and support up to 20 FMods. The F5100 Getting Started Guide (pdf) states: "The F5100 has four independent SAS domains (expanders) each with four ports. Connect from one to four HBAs per expander. Connecting more than one HBA per expander requires zoning."

Cascading it to other F5100 arrays or other Sun SAS arrays is not supported. The array will work with various Sun x64 servers and SPARC servers running Solaris, Windows, RedHat and SuSE Linux. If you replace an FMod the access path changes.

Storage expert Robin Harris blogs that it is a 1U, 4TB array offering 1 million IOPS, 10GB/sec throughput and 64 SAS channels. The FMods are notebook SO_DIMM form factor modules, use single-level cell flash, and they would need to have 50GB capacity apiece to produce a 4TB array capacity.

Harris says Andy Bechtolsheim has talked about this at a MYSQL conference. His presentation can be seen on a YouTube video. One of his slides shows a 48GB SO-DIMM flash module. He says Solaris treats the flash as a transparent extension to the server's memory.

We don't know anything at present about the flash array controller, whether it is a Sun-developed one or a bought-in one (we're guessing it's the former). The flash chips could come from Samsung.

The F5100 looks like Sun's answer to Texas Memory Systems' RamSan. It's an externally-attached database storage array. What will Oracle do with this? It is promising to reveal a TPC-C benchmark for Oracle on Sun hardware that will blow an IBM record of 6 million TPC-C transactions out of the water on October 14. Intriguing, no? ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Seagate brings out 6TB HDD, did not need NO STEENKIN' SHINGLES
Or helium filling either, according to reports
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
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

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
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.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
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.