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Sun's Open Storage roadmap revealed

New high-end and entry-level products

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Sun will introduce a new high-end 7000 series storage product in the second quarter of next year.

According to an Australian report the device is codenamed "Anago", a Japanese term for a congor eel, and will have up to 384 3.5-inch SAS hot-swap hard drives and a 6Gbit/s SAS 2 switch fabric. An expansion rack can double capacity to, presumably, 768 drives.

We don't know the drive capacity but the current 7110 product has 14 10K SAS drives with either 146 or 300GB capacities. If Sun were to use 384 of them then Anago would have a 115.2TB capacity, 230.4TB with the expansion rack.

The report talks of the Anago box having 33 per cent more capacity but doesn't say what the comparison product is. The updated 7410 has a 576TB maximum capacity with its coming 2TB drives, so it can't be that, not with Anago's SAS drives.

The only other SAS drive-using 7000 product is the 7110 which supports a maximum of 4.2TB of capacity. We're left in the dark.

The coming product will support 96 24GB read flash modules, for a total of 2.3TB, compared to the recently updated 7410's six 100GB read flash modules. On the write side it would have six 100GB flash modules, compared to the 7410's eight write flash modules of unlisted capacity which we think are 16GB. That would give the Anago 600GB of write flash compared to the 7410's 128GB.

We don't know anything else about the controller but would speculate that it is at least as powerful as the updated 7410s which has four 6-core Opterons. There is a redundant power supply and a write backup microSSD used if power fails. The Anago array also has a central power and cooling infrastructure.

The Sun briefing session that was the source of the report included details of more forthcoming storage products. There are SSD/Flash drives, and a host bus adapter with added flash called Aura. This reminds us of Adaptec's flash-enhanced RAID controller. There is a third flash product described as Lighning Flash which looks like it comes in a 1U rack unit form factor.

There are two new JBODs (Just a Bunch Of Disks). Witte is a rack enclosure, possibly 2U high, holding 24 vertically mounted 2.5-inch form factor drives, which could be SATA or SAS hard drives or SSDs. Six Wittes can be aggregated together.

Riverwalk 2 is a 4U rack enclosure holding 24 2TB 3.5-inch SATA drives. It has two switched I/O modules each with "three 24Gbps SAS2 ports". Since SAS2 runs at 6Gbit/s this doesn't compute; we would expect three SAS2 ports to offer 18Gbit/s in total.

The existing J4400 is described as Riverwalk, so RiverWwalk 2 ought to be a development of that.

Twelve Riverwalk 2s can be combined into a 288-drive daisy-chained entity with a 576GB capacity. Riverwalk 2 should hit the streets in the first quarter of next year.

An entry-level Iwashi+ box - Iwashi was the codename for Sun's 7110 SAS storage array - will hold up to 60 SAS hard drives. The 7110 holds 14 146GB or 300GB SAS drives and has a 6-core Opteron-based controlled.

This presumed iteration of the 7110 has a pair of quad-core Intel CPUs - we're imagining Nehalems - and the host interface is 1Gbit/s or 10Gbit/s Ethernet. The 7110 supports an InfiniBand connect as well as Ethernet.

We don't know what this 7110 replacement will be called but Sun training course material mentions a 7120 and 7140. Whichever it should arrive in the first half of 2010.

Sun may be preoccupied with its pending Oracle acquisition, but its open storage development engineers seem to be working full pelt to strengthen its offering as fast as they can.

The company was unable to immediately comment upon the subject of this story due to Thanksgiving. ®

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