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Old 11-19-2008, 03:28 AM
Onno Benschop
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

On 19/11/08 08:13, David Miller wrote:
> I still think you're missing the point. The problem was not what Sun said
> or is trying to sell you but with your pre-conception of what they were
> selling you. While it is technically a "server" it is really a storage
> appliance that just happens to be based on Open Solaris and ZFS. So the
> technology which it is based on is open source although I'm not sure it
> really matters here since if the storage vendor goes under there are still
> proprietary pieces to this and support would also go away. So I'm not sure
> how this reduces the risk involved with "Vendor Lockin" since you're still
> locked to Sun to some degree. But just like any other enterprise class SAN
> or NAS solution the only job that this appliance has is to store, manage,
> and serve block and file level access to the storage it hosts. If you want
> an application to use the storage then like with any other storage system
> you will need a server that utilizes the storage on that server. iSCSI
> would probably make the most sense here for servers where file access is
> better if you want to use the storage unit as a file server to clients
> directly.
>
This confuses me because as I outlined in my original message, I had no
pre-conceived ideas about what they were offering - in fact, this was
the first storage presentation I ever went to.

I was told by Sun during the presentation that there was 15% CPU
utilisation in data centres and that vendor lock-in was a result of
closed source solutions. When in addition to that I was told that the
storage server was running Open Solaris, used commodity hardware, relied
on the Open Source developer community and that there were a whole bunch
of pre-installed services, such as DNS, HTTP, FTP and that it was
certified with MySQL and Oracle, I made the leap to "this is a server
that runs stuff". I'll admit that I made that leap without any actual
direct prompting from Sun. Though you'd have to admit that all the bits
do add up to that.

I'm not disputing that Sun is selling an appliance, it's Sun who told me
that it was using Open Solaris and that this made it open. When I dug
deeper into that statement by asking about interoperability,
expandability, access and support, it turned out that the "open"
solution that Sun was selling wasn't really open at all.

Finally, from my perspective, this is a political issue, the hardware
seems clearly capable of running things beyond ZFS and a logging daemon.
I was told as much by the presentation. The reason I cannot is because
it would void my support contract - something which I can understand -
we do that too with unsupported packages. What I'm commenting on is that
I was told to think of it as a server, and when I did, I was told that
it was not a server but an appliance, and a not very compelling one at
that - not from a pricing, or perhaps a performance perspective, but
from an interoperability and integration perspective. I thought $22k
would buy at least a little of that.

--
Onno Benschop

Connected via Optus B3 at S3154'06" - E11550'39" (Yokine, WA)
--
()/)/)() ..ASCII for Onno..
|>>? ..EBCDIC for Onno..
--- -. -. --- ..Morse for Onno..

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Old 11-19-2008, 05:25 AM
"David Miller"
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

Fair enough I can see your points.* I think what makes the Sun solution open is that it's running x86
hardware.* You're free to install what ever OS/Software you want on the
hardware.* Just don't expect anything more than hardware support from
Sun if you choose to do that.* This is more than you can do if you have NetApp or EMC hardware.

But I think you'll find that $22k doesn't buy you much of anything when it comes to enterprise storage.
--

David

On Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 11:28 PM, Onno Benschop <onno@itmaze.com.au> wrote:

On 19/11/08 08:13, David Miller wrote:

> I still think you're missing the point. *The problem was not what Sun said

> or is trying to sell you but with your pre-conception of what they were

> selling you. *While it is technically a "server" it is really a storage

> appliance that just happens to be based on Open Solaris and ZFS. *So the

> technology which it is based on is open source although I'm not sure it

> really matters here since if the storage vendor goes under there are still

> proprietary pieces to this and support would also go away. *So I'm not sure

> how this reduces the risk involved with "Vendor Lockin" since you're still

> locked to Sun to some degree. *But just like any other enterprise class SAN

> or NAS solution the only job that this appliance has is to store, manage,

> and serve block and file level access to the storage it hosts. *If you want

> an application to use the storage then like with any other storage system

> you will need a server that utilizes the storage on that server. *iSCSI

> would probably make the most sense here for servers where file access is

> better if you want to use the storage unit as a file server to clients

> directly.

>

This confuses me because as I outlined in my original message, I had no

pre-conceived ideas about what they were offering - in fact, this was

the first storage presentation I ever went to.



I was told by Sun during the presentation that there was 15% CPU

utilisation in data centres and that vendor lock-in was a result of

closed source solutions. When in addition to that I was told that the

storage server was running Open Solaris, used commodity hardware, relied

on the Open Source developer community and that there were a whole bunch

of pre-installed services, such as DNS, HTTP, FTP and that it was

certified with MySQL and Oracle, I made the leap to "this is a server

that runs stuff". I'll admit that I made that leap without any actual

direct prompting from Sun. Though you'd have to admit that all the bits

do add up to that.



I'm not disputing that Sun is selling an appliance, it's Sun who told me

that it was using Open Solaris and that this made it open. When I dug

deeper into that statement by asking about interoperability,

expandability, access and support, it turned out that the "open"

solution that Sun was selling wasn't really open at all.



Finally, from my perspective, this is a political issue, the hardware

seems clearly capable of running things beyond ZFS and a logging daemon.

I was told as much by the presentation. The reason I cannot is because

it would void my support contract - something which I can understand -

we do that too with unsupported packages. What I'm commenting on is that

I was told to think of it as a server, and when I did, I was told that

it was not a server but an appliance, and a not very compelling one at

that - not from a pricing, or perhaps a performance perspective, but

from an interoperability and integration perspective. I thought $22k

would buy at least a little of that.



--

Onno Benschop



Connected via Optus B3 at S3154'06" - E11550'39" (Yokine, WA)

--

()/)/)() * * * *..ASCII for Onno..

|>>? * * * * * *..EBCDIC for Onno..

--- -. -. --- * ..Morse for Onno..



ITmaze * - * ABN: 56 178 057 063 * - *ph: 04 1219 8888 * - * onno@itmaze.com.au







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Old 11-19-2008, 06:29 AM
Mark Schouten
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

On Wed, 2008-11-19 at 13:57 +1030, Karl Goetz wrote:
> > There's also a cli, I've been told.
>
> I've dealt with equipment before with a web UI which did stuff, then a
> CLI which was a few 'reset password' level of commands.
> Not saying the Sun box is like that, just that "it has a cli" doesnt
> mean its useful

As far as I know, it's meant to be useful. But really, if you want to
see how it works: http://www.sun.com/tryandbuy/applyonline.jsp

I'm sure it will end up there.

> > That's something that would be really nice. They (Sun) are working on
> > getting feedback from partners to add functionality to next releases.
>
> Does this mean your passing on the request?

IIRC This was allready on the nice-to-have list.

> > > So, coming in the door thinking, wow, Sun has an Open Storage system
> > > that might be able to be managed and deployed in a Ubuntu Server
> > > environment, I went out the door thinking, Sun has built a system that
> > > could be really nice, but instead they've built another proprietary
> > > solution that doesn't really talk to anything else and cannot really be
> > > managed in anything but a single deployment.
> >
> > It's not really proprietary. It's OpenSolaris. Download and deploy it,
> > be my guest. It's hell. They've created an appliance for which
> > they've used Open Source software, and added some proprietary stuff to
> > make life more easier.
>
> If you go with the FSF concept of 'proprietary', then even though the
> source is available its still proprietary. That's because you cant
> properly exercise the 4 freedoms. If you go with the 'no source is
> proprietary' view, then by and large, its not a proprietary system.

Like I said, they've added proprietary stuff. It's not all open, but
it's not all closed. The (technical) features of the box are Open, the
easy-administration stuff isn't.

> > Compare it to Ubuntu (Open source) and Landscape (closed source). Ubuntu
> > rules, landscape would be nice to have, but is closed source. (Even
> > worse, you cannot get the serverpart so you would depend op Canonical
> > for it).
>
> Just because Canonical produces proprietary support software doesn't
> justify other companies doing it (or making it an ok thing to do).

I'm not sure if I should take this seriously.

--
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Old 11-19-2008, 06:33 AM
Mark Schouten
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

On Wed, 2008-11-19 at 06:27 +0900, Onno Benschop wrote:
> I'm not saying that their solution is crap, I'm saying that they're
> telling me one thing and offering me another. They're telling me the
> machine is a real server, "it's running Open Solaris was the mantra",
> but when I actually want to use it as a server (which personally I think
> would be an excellent idea - and I'm interested to hear comment on
> this), I void my support contract which makes no sense to me at all.

So we're having a discussion on the Ubuntu server mailinglist, about how
you misinterpreted a marketing line from Sun?

> Ironically, the VMware issue came up and I suggested to the Sun engineer
> in front of me at the time that if they actually had real VMware
> certification, why didn't they offer to run appliances on the machine,
> and amend the support contract to include something like this: "If your
> problem is caused by your running VMware appliance, Sun support will be
> unable to assist you, however, if when the appliance is stopped and the
> issue persists, you'll receive full Sun support." - but I suspect that
> it will be some time before we see something like that :-)

^^ Still missing the point of the box...

> Which reminds me, there was no discussion about what happens to their
> system during upgrade. There is a roll-back for upgrades, but there was
> no discussion about what happens during the upgrade and no reference to
> interoperability between clustered solutions either (other than to say
> that interoperability was extremely closely tied to firmware versions
> and OS versions), so there is no information on if two or more clustered
> devices can run together with different versions, so you can reboot one
> after an upgrade without turning off the cluster - I suspect "that's in
> a future release".
>
> A final Ubuntu-server thought, the roll-back idea seemed like a really
> cool thing that we could implement with a snap-shot. That is, do a
> system-snap-shot before any upgrades leaving the ability to roll-back a
> system if the upgrade had issues - of course little things like incoming
> mail and database queries might be a problem, but if we deal with that
> by separating the OS from the data (hmm, where did I hear that before
> , then we might have ourselves a feature that I know I'd use. Nothing
> like doing an upgrade at midnight, having it fail and spending the next
> 8 hours fixing it

A dist-upgrade has never taken me more than two hours. Falling back to a
snapshot is nice if you don't have (or take) the time to do your
upgrade. But I'd rather fix the problem I see when upgrading than going
back a snapshot and start of over again (running into the same issues).

--
Mark Schouten <mark@prevented.net>


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Old 11-19-2008, 11:32 AM
"Jim Tarvid"
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

For the file serving needs of the vast majority of small networks, how can one justify more than an Apple Time Capsule?

On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 2:33 AM, Mark Schouten <mark@prevented.net> wrote:

On Wed, 2008-11-19 at 06:27 +0900, Onno Benschop wrote:

> I'm not saying that their solution is crap, I'm saying that they're

> telling me one thing and offering me another. They're telling me the

> machine is a real server, "it's running Open Solaris was the mantra",

> but when I actually want to use it as a server (which personally I think

> would be an excellent idea - and I'm interested to hear comment on

> this), I void my support contract which makes no sense to me at all.



So we're having a discussion on the Ubuntu server mailinglist, about how

you misinterpreted a marketing line from Sun?



> Ironically, the VMware issue came up and I suggested to the Sun engineer

> in front of me at the time that if they actually had real VMware

> certification, why didn't they offer to run appliances on the machine,

> and amend the support contract to include something like this: "If your

> problem is caused by your running VMware appliance, Sun support will be

> unable to assist you, however, if when the appliance is stopped and the

> issue persists, you'll receive full Sun support." - but I suspect that

> it will be some time before we see something like that :-)



^^ Still missing the point of the box...



> Which reminds me, there was no discussion about what happens to their

> system during upgrade. There is a roll-back for upgrades, but there was

> no discussion about what happens during the upgrade and no reference to

> interoperability between clustered solutions either (other than to say

> that interoperability was extremely closely tied to firmware versions

> and OS versions), so there is no information on if two or more clustered

> devices can run together with different versions, so you can reboot one

> after an upgrade without turning off the cluster - I suspect "that's in

> a future release".

>

> A final Ubuntu-server thought, the roll-back idea seemed like a really

> cool thing that we could implement with a snap-shot. That is, do a

> system-snap-shot before any upgrades leaving the ability to roll-back a

> system if the upgrade had issues - of course little things like incoming

> mail and database queries might be a problem, but if we deal with that

> by separating the OS from the data (hmm, where did I hear that before

> , then we might have ourselves a feature that I know I'd use. Nothing

> like doing an upgrade at midnight, having it fail and spending the next

> 8 hours fixing it



A dist-upgrade has never taken me more than two hours. Falling back to a

snapshot is nice if you don't have (or take) the time to do your

upgrade. But I'd rather fix the problem I see when upgrading than going

back a snapshot and start of over again (running into the same issues).



--

Mark Schouten <mark@prevented.net>





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Old 11-19-2008, 03:05 PM
Mark Schouten
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 07:32:15AM -0500, Jim Tarvid wrote:
> For the file serving needs of the vast majority of small networks, how can
> one justify more than an Apple Time Capsule?

First of all, !apple--

Second, please do not compare end-user hardware with enterprise grade
storage solutions. You need about two extra zeros at the end of the
price to come near it.

--
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Old 11-19-2008, 03:09 PM
Carsten Aulbert
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

Mark Schouten wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 07:32:15AM -0500, Jim Tarvid wrote:
>> For the file serving needs of the vast majority of small networks, how can
>> one justify more than an Apple Time Capsule?
>
> First of all, !apple--
>
> Second, please do not compare end-user hardware with enterprise grade
> storage solutions. You need about two extra zeros at the end of the
> price to come near it.

SCNR: Hmmm, does this imply that the only difference is the price?

*going back into hiding again*

Carsten - still cursing slightly about Sun's choice of non-enterprise
hard drives for the x4500...

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Old 11-19-2008, 03:32 PM
"Jim Tarvid"
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

Carsten - still cursing slightly about Sun's choice of non-enterprise. Having thrown a number of DeathStars in the trash, I can empathize.

Mark Schouten wrote:
> First of all, !apple--

It's worse than that. It's SMB/CIFS. How dare we suffer such heresy as Samba.

> Second, please do not compare end-user hardware with enterprise grade

> storage solutions. You need about two extra zeros at the end of the

> price to come near it.

The two extra zeros are not in the budget. Nor is the salary for the enterprise grade administrator. But the energy savings will pay for a decent "end of capitalism as we know it Christmas Party".


Jim

On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 11:09 AM, Carsten Aulbert <carsten.aulbert@aei.mpg.de> wrote:

Mark Schouten wrote:

> On Wed, Nov 19, 2008 at 07:32:15AM -0500, Jim Tarvid wrote:

>> For the file serving needs of the vast majority of small networks, how can

>> one justify more than an Apple Time Capsule?

>

> First of all, !apple--

>

> Second, please do not compare end-user hardware with enterprise grade

> storage solutions. You need about two extra zeros at the end of the

> price to come near it.



SCNR: Hmmm, does this imply that the only difference is the price?



*going back into hiding again*



Carsten - still cursing slightly about Sun's choice of non-enterprise

hard drives for the x4500...



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