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Old 11-18-2008, 07:18 AM
Onno Benschop
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

Today I attended a Sun presentation called "Open Storage Systems". I
attended both for my "day-job", that is, an IT consultant, as well as
wearing my "Ubuntu Server hat". I'm not able to provide you with a
word-for-word, blow-by-blow account of my morning, nor am I wanting to
either promote or bag the presentation. The intent of my email to the
group is to report on a development that I thought might
interact/intersect or be of interest to the team.

Some disclaimers up front. I am an IT consultant, that is, I solve weird
and wonderful problems for weird and wonderful clients all around the
world, but mostly rural and remote Australia. I've been in this industry
for over 26 years, so I'm probably a lot cynical about "revolutionary"
things. I've never bought any Sun hardware, though a Sparc station did
land on my desk some years ago where I coerced it into running Debian at
the time. I've never deployed a storage system, never bought one and
until recently never needed one. If anything in what I write here is
contradicted by what Sun says, perhaps you should ask Sun before relying
on what I said.

The presentation attracted me because it was touted as an Open Source
solution and I was interested to know how Sun was dealing with this and
how this might relate to anything I was doing either as a consultant or
as a member of the server team.

The opening remarks were along the lines of "each CPU in a data centre
achieves about 15% utilisation, and each storage solution is closed,
proprietary, firmware driven hardware that requires additional licenses
and subscriptions to activate new features. Sun has a solution that is
open and will save you up to 90% in your storage deployments".

At this point I thought, cool, let's see what you got.

The release discussed the Sun Storage 7000 series which is basically a
Sun box that runs Open Solaris that offers a web-based GUI that allows
you to manage this. The drives are spread among SATA/SAS/SSD (and if I
recall correctly, SCSI as well). A big deal was made of the time that it
takes to get data off a drive and how SSD storage in between the CPU and
the drive would handle this by caching the data in smart ways. (This is
being handled by ZFS.)

The box is built using Intel and/or AMD processors - the talk was
sponsored by AMD, but I was unclear if the Intel reference was
compatibility, as in an AMD processor that is compatible, or if it was
because Intel also contributes hardware - in any case, I don't think it
matters that much - but I'm sure that there are some reading this who
are cringing at that thoughtless remark - I'm sorry, educate me please

Much was made of services that can be activated, NFS, CIFS, HTTP, FTP,
WebDAV, DNS, NTP, AntiVirus and many others.

The box is "certified" for MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware, blah, blah.
(More on that later.) It does iSCSI, block-level stuff, fibre-channel,
and other (mumble) protocols. So it's able to do the same as all the
other storage systems in the world. There are web pages that describe
this and a quick google found this one:
http://blogs.sun.com/studler/entry/new_class_of_storage_systems.

The web GUI is cute. It shows hardware level information, showing which
DIMM is faulty, allowing you to put a blinking light on a drive to get
the engineer on-site to swap out a drive, serial numbers, etc. Logging
is continuous and data is stored on a system partition. Analysis can be
done over this data and information can be exported via CSV. There is
cool stuff, you can repartition a system from mirrored to raid 6 in
seconds, build a new system in less than 5 minutes from new, comes with
lots of expansion options and appears to be well placed when compared to
other "Enterprise" stuff. Much of this functionality appears to me be
related to ZFS and not the web GUI as such - but I might be wrong.

The pitch for this seemed to be that this device can replace a whole lot
of infrastructure and because it's open it grows with the developer
community - (that's "us Open Source folks").

At this point we got a demo and some point-and-click action.

Then the presentation was over and we got to ask questions.

My questions related to some of what was said and I opened up with "How
do I interface this with other stuff? As in, how do I use my software to
talk to your hardware?" The response was not good. Basically, you need
to use their web-interface.

I asked about web services. Most web-sites these days are not static
files, with a web-server on board, how would I deploy a PHP or a PYTHON
based web application and how does this relate to the HTTP server on
board? The response was that I should run my own web-server hardware and
mount the "appliance" across the network using NFS or CIFS. I began to
wonder what the purpose of the web-server compatibility and service was.

If I used Active Directory or LDAP to authenticate user share access,
could I use the same infrastructure to manage the actual shares, that
is, could I define and manage my shares in LDAP and have the appliance
use that information. "Sure, you'll need to write the software to do
that, but sure - actually, the answer wasn't that at all, it was 'uhm,
dunno, uhm not in this release.'"

If I want to manage the thing using HP OpenView, or anything not Sun,
could I do that? "Sure, but you'd need to write your own software to
manage that - actually the answer was, no, but I suppose you could write
software to do that, it's using Open Solaris and the APIs are published."

If I wanted to have a fail over system, could I do that at a block
level? "No, not in this release."

How is the Oracle and MySQL certification? "Well, you mount the drive
and it's certified."

So, if I log-in and add a service, what does that do to my service
agreement? "It voids your agreement."

So, if I cannot talk to anything not Sun and I cannot install anything
on the device, how is this Open Source? "Well, you need to know that
it's running Open Solaris, so you can build your own system like this
and run with that, but you won't get the web GUI and none of the
integration."

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.

So, the 15% CPU utilisation is still the same, you cannot use the Sun
based server to run anything because it voids your support contract and
it doesn't talk to anything without voiding your contract.

Afterwards I had lunch with a guy from LSI where we discussed iSCSI
block level devices also made by Sun. I need to deploy a Windows machine
to manage it and I need to deploy a front end to talk to users.

So, I suppose you could format the hard-drive(s) on this 7000 series
hardware and install Ubuntu Server, but that seems to miss the point.
(One answer involved installing Windows on the machine

I'm left with a feeling that I'm unsure how and if we could (or should)
evolve Ubuntu Server to integrate with systems like this to make Ubuntu
more enterprise ready.

It's entirely possible that I've got a distorted picture of I.T. in my
head, one where you can manage your storage in a central location,
regardless of where the actual drive is, that you can refer to it almost
as a cloud and manage the various aspects in an almost transparent
fashion, but thus far this does not appear to be the case.

I don't know if I did the Sun presentation justice, I'm not a journalist
and I have a bias, but I hope that this gives more people information
about something I attended. If others have seen presentations that they
feel relate to the Ubuntu-Server community, I'd personally love to read
other reports which would allow me to "virtually" attend more
presentations across more areas.

--
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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ubuntu-server@lists.ubuntu.com
https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-server
More info: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ServerTeam
 
Old 11-18-2008, 08:14 AM
"Andrew Hodgson"
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

Hi,

Maybe I am still wet behind the ears (only having around 6 years
exposure to enterprise IT environments), but I am slightly more excited
about this type of technology.

For me, I like to be able to choose the kit that various applications
run on, and pick the relevant hardware for the job. In the past, we
looked at expensive storage systems such as EMC and NetApp arrays,
however, was put off these because we have to purchase similar expensive
hardware wherever we need to deploy the storage. So, for example, we
have a NetApp box at our main site, and have to buy the same models of
storage at our backup or remote sites in order to gain such features as
replication, even though ordinarily we wouldn't want to buy such an
expensive array at the remote locations.

With virtualised storage, we would be able to deploy a high grade array
for the backend at our main site, but use a less expensive array at the
remote or backup site. If the storage is managed by the same
applications (such as Sun or Falconstor) at all the sites, then we can
do the replication and other fancy stuff that have traditionally been
only associated with sticking with one vender's expensive storage arrays
throughout, causing vender lockin for the expensive parts of the system.

I would be slightly more excited about this if they could talk about
virtualising the storage appliance itself, which is what Falconstor have
done with the Vmware work. I would be extatic if someone could make a
system like this that could run in a regular operating system (eg in a
Ubuntu or Windows server), with other applications running in the same
session, but previous attempts to do this (eg with SanMelody) have not
received good reviews, and I feel the current trend atm is to "vmware"
everything, until we will be in an environment where you have 10 or more
Vmware "appliances" in the environment, each doing a specific micro
task, and all running a Linux kernel, so they can claim open source!


Andrew.

-----Original Message-----
From: Onno Benschop [mailtonno@itmaze.com.au]
Sent: 18 November 2008 08:19
To: Ubuntu Server Team
Subject: Report: Sun Open Storage

Today I attended a Sun presentation called "Open Storage Systems". I
attended both for my "day-job", that is, an IT consultant, as well as
wearing my "Ubuntu Server hat". I'm not able to provide you with a
word-for-word, blow-by-blow account of my morning, nor am I wanting to
either promote or bag the presentation. The intent of my email to the
group is to report on a development that I thought might
interact/intersect or be of interest to the team.

Some disclaimers up front. I am an IT consultant, that is, I solve weird
and wonderful problems for weird and wonderful clients all around the
world, but mostly rural and remote Australia. I've been in this industry
for over 26 years, so I'm probably a lot cynical about "revolutionary"
things. I've never bought any Sun hardware, though a Sparc station did
land on my desk some years ago where I coerced it into running Debian at
the time. I've never deployed a storage system, never bought one and
until recently never needed one. If anything in what I write here is
contradicted by what Sun says, perhaps you should ask Sun before relying
on what I said.

The presentation attracted me because it was touted as an Open Source
solution and I was interested to know how Sun was dealing with this and
how this might relate to anything I was doing either as a consultant or
as a member of the server team.

The opening remarks were along the lines of "each CPU in a data centre
achieves about 15% utilisation, and each storage solution is closed,
proprietary, firmware driven hardware that requires additional licenses
and subscriptions to activate new features. Sun has a solution that is
open and will save you up to 90% in your storage deployments".

At this point I thought, cool, let's see what you got.

The release discussed the Sun Storage 7000 series which is basically a
Sun box that runs Open Solaris that offers a web-based GUI that allows
you to manage this. The drives are spread among SATA/SAS/SSD (and if I
recall correctly, SCSI as well). A big deal was made of the time that it
takes to get data off a drive and how SSD storage in between the CPU and
the drive would handle this by caching the data in smart ways. (This is
being handled by ZFS.)

The box is built using Intel and/or AMD processors - the talk was
sponsored by AMD, but I was unclear if the Intel reference was
compatibility, as in an AMD processor that is compatible, or if it was
because Intel also contributes hardware - in any case, I don't think it
matters that much - but I'm sure that there are some reading this who
are cringing at that thoughtless remark - I'm sorry, educate me please


Much was made of services that can be activated, NFS, CIFS, HTTP, FTP,
WebDAV, DNS, NTP, AntiVirus and many others.

The box is "certified" for MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware, blah, blah.
(More on that later.) It does iSCSI, block-level stuff, fibre-channel,
and other (mumble) protocols. So it's able to do the same as all the
other storage systems in the world. There are web pages that describe
this and a quick google found this one:
http://blogs.sun.com/studler/entry/new_class_of_storage_systems.

The web GUI is cute. It shows hardware level information, showing which
DIMM is faulty, allowing you to put a blinking light on a drive to get
the engineer on-site to swap out a drive, serial numbers, etc. Logging
is continuous and data is stored on a system partition. Analysis can be
done over this data and information can be exported via CSV. There is
cool stuff, you can repartition a system from mirrored to raid 6 in
seconds, build a new system in less than 5 minutes from new, comes with
lots of expansion options and appears to be well placed when compared to
other "Enterprise" stuff. Much of this functionality appears to me be
related to ZFS and not the web GUI as such - but I might be wrong.

The pitch for this seemed to be that this device can replace a whole lot
of infrastructure and because it's open it grows with the developer
community - (that's "us Open Source folks").

At this point we got a demo and some point-and-click action.

Then the presentation was over and we got to ask questions.

My questions related to some of what was said and I opened up with "How
do I interface this with other stuff? As in, how do I use my software to
talk to your hardware?" The response was not good. Basically, you need
to use their web-interface.

I asked about web services. Most web-sites these days are not static
files, with a web-server on board, how would I deploy a PHP or a PYTHON
based web application and how does this relate to the HTTP server on
board? The response was that I should run my own web-server hardware and
mount the "appliance" across the network using NFS or CIFS. I began to
wonder what the purpose of the web-server compatibility and service was.

If I used Active Directory or LDAP to authenticate user share access,
could I use the same infrastructure to manage the actual shares, that
is, could I define and manage my shares in LDAP and have the appliance
use that information. "Sure, you'll need to write the software to do
that, but sure - actually, the answer wasn't that at all, it was 'uhm,
dunno, uhm not in this release.'"

If I want to manage the thing using HP OpenView, or anything not Sun,
could I do that? "Sure, but you'd need to write your own software to
manage that - actually the answer was, no, but I suppose you could write
software to do that, it's using Open Solaris and the APIs are
published."

If I wanted to have a fail over system, could I do that at a block
level? "No, not in this release."

How is the Oracle and MySQL certification? "Well, you mount the drive
and it's certified."

So, if I log-in and add a service, what does that do to my service
agreement? "It voids your agreement."

So, if I cannot talk to anything not Sun and I cannot install anything
on the device, how is this Open Source? "Well, you need to know that
it's running Open Solaris, so you can build your own system like this
and run with that, but you won't get the web GUI and none of the
integration."

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.

So, the 15% CPU utilisation is still the same, you cannot use the Sun
based server to run anything because it voids your support contract and
it doesn't talk to anything without voiding your contract.

Afterwards I had lunch with a guy from LSI where we discussed iSCSI
block level devices also made by Sun. I need to deploy a Windows machine
to manage it and I need to deploy a front end to talk to users.

So, I suppose you could format the hard-drive(s) on this 7000 series
hardware and install Ubuntu Server, but that seems to miss the point.
(One answer involved installing Windows on the machine

I'm left with a feeling that I'm unsure how and if we could (or should)
evolve Ubuntu Server to integrate with systems like this to make Ubuntu
more enterprise ready.

It's entirely possible that I've got a distorted picture of I.T. in my
head, one where you can manage your storage in a central location,
regardless of where the actual drive is, that you can refer to it almost
as a cloud and manage the various aspects in an almost transparent
fashion, but thus far this does not appear to be the case.

I don't know if I did the Sun presentation justice, I'm not a journalist
and I have a bias, but I hope that this gives more people information
about something I attended. If others have seen presentations that they
feel relate to the Ubuntu-Server community, I'd personally love to read
other reports which would allow me to "virtually" attend more
presentations across more areas.

--
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 11-18-2008, 08:41 AM
"Rudi Ahlers"
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

On Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 10:18 AM, Onno Benschop <onno@itmaze.com.au> wrote:
> Today I attended a Sun presentation called "Open Storage Systems". I
> attended both for my "day-job", that is, an IT consultant, as well as
> wearing my "Ubuntu Server hat". I'm not able to provide you with a
> word-for-word, blow-by-blow account of my morning, nor am I wanting to
> either promote or bag the presentation. The intent of my email to the
> group is to report on a development that I thought might
> interact/intersect or be of interest to the team.
>
> Some disclaimers up front. I am an IT consultant, that is, I solve weird
> and wonderful problems for weird and wonderful clients all around the
> world, but mostly rural and remote Australia. I've been in this industry
> for over 26 years, so I'm probably a lot cynical about "revolutionary"
> things. I've never bought any Sun hardware, though a Sparc station did
> land on my desk some years ago where I coerced it into running Debian at
> the time. I've never deployed a storage system, never bought one and
> until recently never needed one. If anything in what I write here is
> contradicted by what Sun says, perhaps you should ask Sun before relying
> on what I said.
>
> The presentation attracted me because it was touted as an Open Source
> solution and I was interested to know how Sun was dealing with this and
> how this might relate to anything I was doing either as a consultant or
> as a member of the server team.
>
> The opening remarks were along the lines of "each CPU in a data centre
> achieves about 15% utilisation, and each storage solution is closed,
> proprietary, firmware driven hardware that requires additional licenses
> and subscriptions to activate new features. Sun has a solution that is
> open and will save you up to 90% in your storage deployments".
>
> At this point I thought, cool, let's see what you got.
>
> The release discussed the Sun Storage 7000 series which is basically a
> Sun box that runs Open Solaris that offers a web-based GUI that allows
> you to manage this. The drives are spread among SATA/SAS/SSD (and if I
> recall correctly, SCSI as well). A big deal was made of the time that it
> takes to get data off a drive and how SSD storage in between the CPU and
> the drive would handle this by caching the data in smart ways. (This is
> being handled by ZFS.)
>
> The box is built using Intel and/or AMD processors - the talk was
> sponsored by AMD, but I was unclear if the Intel reference was
> compatibility, as in an AMD processor that is compatible, or if it was
> because Intel also contributes hardware - in any case, I don't think it
> matters that much - but I'm sure that there are some reading this who
> are cringing at that thoughtless remark - I'm sorry, educate me please
>
> Much was made of services that can be activated, NFS, CIFS, HTTP, FTP,
> WebDAV, DNS, NTP, AntiVirus and many others.
>
> The box is "certified" for MySQL, Oracle, Microsoft, VMware, blah, blah.
> (More on that later.) It does iSCSI, block-level stuff, fibre-channel,
> and other (mumble) protocols. So it's able to do the same as all the
> other storage systems in the world. There are web pages that describe
> this and a quick google found this one:
> http://blogs.sun.com/studler/entry/new_class_of_storage_systems.
>
> The web GUI is cute. It shows hardware level information, showing which
> DIMM is faulty, allowing you to put a blinking light on a drive to get
> the engineer on-site to swap out a drive, serial numbers, etc. Logging
> is continuous and data is stored on a system partition. Analysis can be
> done over this data and information can be exported via CSV. There is
> cool stuff, you can repartition a system from mirrored to raid 6 in
> seconds, build a new system in less than 5 minutes from new, comes with
> lots of expansion options and appears to be well placed when compared to
> other "Enterprise" stuff. Much of this functionality appears to me be
> related to ZFS and not the web GUI as such - but I might be wrong.
>
> The pitch for this seemed to be that this device can replace a whole lot
> of infrastructure and because it's open it grows with the developer
> community - (that's "us Open Source folks").
>
> At this point we got a demo and some point-and-click action.
>
> Then the presentation was over and we got to ask questions.
>
> My questions related to some of what was said and I opened up with "How
> do I interface this with other stuff? As in, how do I use my software to
> talk to your hardware?" The response was not good. Basically, you need
> to use their web-interface.
>
> I asked about web services. Most web-sites these days are not static
> files, with a web-server on board, how would I deploy a PHP or a PYTHON
> based web application and how does this relate to the HTTP server on
> board? The response was that I should run my own web-server hardware and
> mount the "appliance" across the network using NFS or CIFS. I began to
> wonder what the purpose of the web-server compatibility and service was.
>
> If I used Active Directory or LDAP to authenticate user share access,
> could I use the same infrastructure to manage the actual shares, that
> is, could I define and manage my shares in LDAP and have the appliance
> use that information. "Sure, you'll need to write the software to do
> that, but sure - actually, the answer wasn't that at all, it was 'uhm,
> dunno, uhm not in this release.'"
>
> If I want to manage the thing using HP OpenView, or anything not Sun,
> could I do that? "Sure, but you'd need to write your own software to
> manage that - actually the answer was, no, but I suppose you could write
> software to do that, it's using Open Solaris and the APIs are published."
>
> If I wanted to have a fail over system, could I do that at a block
> level? "No, not in this release."
>
> How is the Oracle and MySQL certification? "Well, you mount the drive
> and it's certified."
>
> So, if I log-in and add a service, what does that do to my service
> agreement? "It voids your agreement."
>
> So, if I cannot talk to anything not Sun and I cannot install anything
> on the device, how is this Open Source? "Well, you need to know that
> it's running Open Solaris, so you can build your own system like this
> and run with that, but you won't get the web GUI and none of the
> integration."
>
> 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.
>
> So, the 15% CPU utilisation is still the same, you cannot use the Sun
> based server to run anything because it voids your support contract and
> it doesn't talk to anything without voiding your contract.
>
> Afterwards I had lunch with a guy from LSI where we discussed iSCSI
> block level devices also made by Sun. I need to deploy a Windows machine
> to manage it and I need to deploy a front end to talk to users.
>
> So, I suppose you could format the hard-drive(s) on this 7000 series
> hardware and install Ubuntu Server, but that seems to miss the point.
> (One answer involved installing Windows on the machine
>
> I'm left with a feeling that I'm unsure how and if we could (or should)
> evolve Ubuntu Server to integrate with systems like this to make Ubuntu
> more enterprise ready.
>
> It's entirely possible that I've got a distorted picture of I.T. in my
> head, one where you can manage your storage in a central location,
> regardless of where the actual drive is, that you can refer to it almost
> as a cloud and manage the various aspects in an almost transparent
> fashion, but thus far this does not appear to be the case.
>
> I don't know if I did the Sun presentation justice, I'm not a journalist
> and I have a bias, but I hope that this gives more people information
> about something I attended. If others have seen presentations that they
> feel relate to the Ubuntu-Server community, I'd personally love to read
> other reports which would allow me to "virtually" attend more
> presentations across more areas.
>
> --
> 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
>
>
>
> --


Thank you for sharing this with us. It's sure inspirational, but
getting to the dissapointments you shared further down the line, I
think to myself. Isn't easier to just build your own storage
applience? I mean, there are so many open source project which allow
you to setup a NFS / SAMBA / SAN / etc server within a few minutes
from the CD, onto any hardware.

How more difficult will it be to use SSD (which is still very
expensive) to run & manage the OS on the device, and then also have
all the capabilities of this Sun device?



--

Kind Regards
Rudi Ahlers

--
ubuntu-server mailing list
ubuntu-server@lists.ubuntu.com
https://lists.ubuntu.com/mailman/listinfo/ubuntu-server
More info: https://wiki.ubuntu.com/ServerTeam
 
Old 11-18-2008, 01:09 PM
"Matt Isaacs"
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

Thank you for sharing this with us. It's sure inspirational, but

getting to the dissapointments you shared further down the line, I

think to myself. Isn't easier to just build your own storage

applience? I mean, there are so many open source project which allow

you to setup a NFS / SAMBA / SAN / etc server within a few minutes

from the CD, onto any hardware.



How more difficult will it be to use SSD (which is still very

expensive) to run & manage the OS on the device, and then also have

all the capabilities of this Sun device?






Unfortunately a lot of the neat functionality is related to ZFS.* SSD also has a hidden pitfall--it tends to be quite bad at random writes (there is work being done to improve this, see newest Intel SSD's).* This is why Sun utilizes them in between CPU and disk array on the 7000.* By using it as a caching device, writes are contigous and written in large contigous blocks, thus sidestepping the issue of random write speed.


The ZFS funcationality aside, there are a lot open source projects that provide similar functionality, even the web gui.* Ubuntu server, I think, is on its way to there, lacking mostly the management gui, which is in the works for a later release.

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Old 11-18-2008, 01:45 PM
Aaron Toponce
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

Why doesn't this surprise me? When Sun Microsystems started on their
"open source" escapade, I was excited. A proprietary company turning
over a new leaf. However, over the past few years, all I've seen is
proprietary solutions using open source products, such as what you've
described here. Rather disappointing, but not surprising in any manner.
Thanks for the report.

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O } Ubuntu Member
`-O http://www.ubuntu.com

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Old 11-18-2008, 05:59 PM
Mark Schouten
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

Hi Onno, and all. See my reaction inline...


On Tue, 2008-11-18 at 17:18 +0900, Onno Benschop wrote:
> Some disclaimers up front. I am an IT consultant, that is, I solve weird
> and wonderful problems for weird and wonderful clients all around the
> world, but mostly rural and remote Australia. I've been in this industry
> for over 26 years, so I'm probably a lot cynical about "revolutionary"
> things. I've never bought any Sun hardware, though a Sparc station did
> land on my desk some years ago where I coerced it into running Debian at
> the time. I've never deployed a storage system, never bought one and
> until recently never needed one. If anything in what I write here is
> contradicted by what Sun says, perhaps you should ask Sun before relying
> on what I said.

As a Sun partner, I've heard about this program some time ago. And I
must say I can't really agree with the negative feel you give this box.
I think, in general, you looked at it the wrong way. Let me get a bit
clearer on this.

> My questions related to some of what was said and I opened up with "How
> do I interface this with other stuff? As in, how do I use my software to
> talk to your hardware?" The response was not good. Basically, you need
> to use their web-interface.

There's also a cli, I've been told.

> I asked about web services. Most web-sites these days are not static
> files, with a web-server on board, how would I deploy a PHP or a PYTHON
> based web application and how does this relate to the HTTP server on
> board? The response was that I should run my own web-server hardware and
> mount the "appliance" across the network using NFS or CIFS. I began to
> wonder what the purpose of the web-server compatibility and service was.

Imagine a Netapp filer. That runs a httpd. Would you deploy websites on
it? Ofcourse not, it's a filer, not a webserver.

> If I used Active Directory or LDAP to authenticate user share access,
> could I use the same infrastructure to manage the actual shares, that
> is, could I define and manage my shares in LDAP and have the appliance
> use that information. "Sure, you'll need to write the software to do
> that, but sure - actually, the answer wasn't that at all, it was 'uhm,
> dunno, uhm not in this release.'"
>
> If I want to manage the thing using HP OpenView, or anything not Sun,
> could I do that? "Sure, but you'd need to write your own software to
> manage that - actually the answer was, no, but I suppose you could write
> software to do that, it's using Open Solaris and the APIs are published."

This is a bit odd. If you want support from HP OpenView, ask them to
write support (a driver) for it. You can't expect anyone to get this
kind of support. It's a filer, not a domain controller.

> If I wanted to have a fail over system, could I do that at a block
> level? "No, not in this release."

That's something that would be really nice. They (Sun) are working on
getting feedback from partners to add functionality to next releases.

> How is the Oracle and MySQL certification? "Well, you mount the drive
> and it's certified."

Certification means nothing. It just means that Oracle and Mysql(duh)
find the appliance stable enough to deploy database data on it.

> So, if I log-in and add a service, what does that do to my service
> agreement? "It voids your agreement."

Ofcourse it does. Back to the Netapp; if you hack your way into that,
your warranty voids.

> 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.
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).

I think you looked at this box the wrong way, rethink and compare it to
Netapp's and EMC's..

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Old 11-18-2008, 08:27 PM
Onno Benschop
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

On 19/11/08 03:59, Mark Schouten wrote:
>
>> 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.
> 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).
>
> I think you looked at this box the wrong way, rethink and compare it to
> Netapp's and EMC's..
>
Your concluding sentence is where I ended up, but I came into the room
with no pre-conceived ideas on the matter. Sun told me that 15% of CPU
in a data centre was running idle and told me that all other storage
vendors were charging gobs of money to enable features and that Sun
would save me 90% on my storage while giving me better hardware
utilisation and a better power foot-print because it used commodity
hardware and open source software - when features were enabled, they
would just be added at no extra cost.

They then went on to deliver a proprietary solution that they, and now
you, tell me I should compare with a Netapp or EMC solution.

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.

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 :-)

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

--
Onno Benschop

Connected via Optus B3 at S3154'06" - E11550'39" (Yokine, WA)
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:13 PM
"David Miller"
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

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.


I wasn't there so I don't know what context Sun was meaning when they stated that the typical cpu utilization in a datacenter was only 15%.* To me that is a different problem which virtualization attempts to solve by giving you better utilization and flexibility in your computing resources.* The benifits here with the Sun Storage offerings are the same as any other enterprise storage solution.* Similar to virtualization they let you consolidate your storage and get better utilization of your storage capacity as well as give you central monitoring and management.* Any SAN type solution is capable of doing that but the price point and features are ultimately what matters.* I think what Sun is offering here is a good value if it has the features you require. *

--
David



On Tue, Nov 18, 2008 at 4:27 PM, Onno Benschop <onno@itmaze.com.au> wrote:

On 19/11/08 03:59, Mark Schouten wrote:

>

>> 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.

> 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).

>

> I think you looked at this box the wrong way, rethink and compare it to

> Netapp's and EMC's..

>

Your concluding sentence is where I ended up, but I came into the room

with no pre-conceived ideas on the matter. Sun told me that 15% of CPU

in a data centre was running idle and told me that all other storage

vendors were charging gobs of money to enable features and that Sun

would save me 90% on my storage while giving me better hardware

utilisation and a better power foot-print because it used commodity

hardware and open source software - when features were enabled, they

would just be added at no extra cost.



They then went on to deliver a proprietary solution that they, and now

you, tell me I should compare with a Netapp or EMC solution.



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.



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 :-)



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



--

Onno Benschop



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

--

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

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



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Old 11-19-2008, 01:42 AM
Karl Goetz
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

On Tue, 2008-11-18 at 07:45 -0700, Aaron Toponce wrote:
> Why doesn't this surprise me? When Sun Microsystems started on their
> "open source" escapade, I was excited. A proprietary company turning
> over a new leaf. However, over the past few years, all I've seen is

Sun has always done *lots* of open standards stuff.

> proprietary solutions using open source products, such as what you've
> described here. Rather disappointing, but not surprising in any manner.

It is a bit disapointing how limited the openness is.

> Thanks for the report.

That said, Sun is actively trying to free the RPC code in a number of
projects (see the debian-devel list atm), so they are not *all* bad
kk

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Old 11-19-2008, 02:27 AM
Karl Goetz
 
Default Report: Sun Open Storage

On Tue, 2008-11-18 at 19:59 +0100, Mark Schouten wrote:
> Hi Onno, and all. See my reaction inline...
>
>
> On Tue, 2008-11-18 at 17:18 +0900, Onno Benschop wrote:
> If anything in what I write here is
> > contradicted by what Sun says, perhaps you should ask Sun before relying
> > on what I said.
>
> As a Sun partner, I've heard about this program some time ago. And I
> must say I can't really agree with the negative feel you give this box.
> I think, in general, you looked at it the wrong way. Let me get a bit
> clearer on this.

Good to have more perspectives.

>
> > My questions related to some of what was said and I opened up with "How
> > do I interface this with other stuff? As in, how do I use my software to
> > talk to your hardware?" The response was not good. Basically, you need
> > to use their web-interface.
>
> 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


>
> > If I wanted to have a fail over system, could I do that at a block
> > level? "No, not in this release."
>
> 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?

> > 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.

> 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).
kk

>
> I think you looked at this box the wrong way, rethink and compare it to
> Netapp's and EMC's..
>
> --
> Mark Schouten <mark@prevented.net>
>
>
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