Sun launches N1-enabled blade system

By Lisa Coleman

Sun Microsystems last month introduced the Sun Fire Blade Platform, the company's first server blade system with Network One (N1) software—the N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 Blades Edition, which virtualizes a rack of blades as though they were one system. Sun also announced network-attached storage (NAS) optimized for blades, as well as a disk array and two tape products targeted at the entry-level market.

The Fire Blade Platform features the FireB1600 "intelligent shelf" that lets users combine up to 16 blades (including Sparc/Solaris and x86/Linux server blades) and, later this year, secure socket layer (SSL) proxy and content load-balancing blades. The shelf also includes the provisioning software and can be augmented with the StorEdge 3310 NAS device.

The N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 software is based on technology from Terraspring, which Sun acquired last November. The software, which supports Solaris, Linux, and Windows, can re-provision blades from one server farm to another; add new blades, shelves, or racks; and bring new blades online to replaced failed blades.

The StorEdge 3310 NAS device has 12 drives in a 2U form factor with 867GB of capacity and two expansion slots for up to 2.6TB, and it runs a proprietary operating system. While the blades have their own storage built in, the NAS device can augment the blade's basic storage for shared storage or for applications that require additional storage, says Bill Groth, senior director of storage systems marketing at Sun.

Dot Hill designed the 3310 based on Sun's specifications. (Last month, Dot Hill expanded its multi-year agreement with Sun to include NAS products.) The 3310 is manufactured by Solectron.

Sun also introduced the 3510 Fibre Channel disk array, which starts in a 2U, 12-drive configuration that can be scaled to 5.2TB in a 6U, 36-drive version. The 3510 comes with one or two RAID controllers and eight Fibre Channel ports. The subsystem is NEBS Level 3-certified and complies with Mil-Spec 810F for ruggedized deployments.

The company also launched the StorEdge L8 LTO tape autoloader and an SDLT 320 stand-alone tape drive.

To help ease users into a blade environment, Sun is offering a starter pack that contains eight blades, the intelligent shelf, provisioning software, and installation support for $27,000.

Pricing for a B1600 intelligent shelf that holds 16 blades begins at $4,795. A B100s Sparc blade and StorEdge 3310 NAS device are priced from $1,795 and $18,995, respectively. A software license for the provisioning software costs $3,920 per shelf. All the products will be available in Q2, with the SSL and load balancing blades becoming available later this year.

The StorEdge 3510 array, the StorEdge L8 autoloader, and the SDLT 320 tape drive are priced from $22,995, $9,600, and $5,195, respectively.

This article was originally published on March 01, 2003