Sun adds SSDs to enterprise servers

Posted on March 12, 2009

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By Kevin Komiega

-- Sun Microsystems is continuing on its quest to put flash drives everywhere. The company revealed the latest step in its solid-state disk (SSD) drive strategy when it announced availability of SSDs for its Sun x64 servers, chip multi-threaded (CMT) servers, and blade server systems.

Sun is targeting its 32GB SSDs – which are OEM'd from Intel and cost $1,272 – at customers with I/O-intensive applications such as Web, database and high-performance computing (HPC) applications.

Sun Microsystems' group manager for storage product marketing, Ray Austin, says SSDs can also be used to extend the life of legacy servers. Sun is offering existing server customers an upgrade path by allowing them to retrofit legacy server platforms with SSD drives as add-ons.

"Customers can take the servers that they have today and dramatically increase their performance using SSDs," says Austin.

In conjunction with SSD support for its enterprise-class servers, Sun released the design of its Open Flash Module into the OpenSolaris Storage communities. The Open Flash Module will be made available in an effort to foster application development around solid-state technology.

"The Open Flash Module is a software development kit for developers to use in the creation of applications and use cases around SSDs," says Austin.

He adds that SSD-based servers combined with the Open Flash Module, Solaris ZFS and OpenSolaris, can more than double overall system performance and significantly reduce power consumption.

The Solaris ZFS file system can combine DRAM, SSDs, and traditional hard drives into a "Hybrid Storage Pool," which combines the speed of flash SSDs with traditional hard disk drives (HDDs).

Sun has been busy on the flash front. The company began shipping its first SSD-based arrays late last year with the launch of its Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage Systems. Austin says the company plans to introduce a family of high-performance, energy efficient storage arrays in the near future.

Related articles:
Sun's SSD arrays hit the streets
Sun ships open-source arrays
Sun launches midrange arrays 

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