Sun adds tools, services for open-source storage

By Kevin Komiega

—Sun Microsystems today announced the addition of new developer tools and expanded professional service capabilities to help developers make use of Sun's freely available open-source storage software found in the Solaris operating system.

The new tools include a collection of videos and accompanying online how-to guides designed to foster use of Solaris as a storage platform. Sun's senior director of storage servers and appliances, Graham Lovell, claims the new tools will allow end users and developers to build their own infrastructures in ways that will change the economics of storage.

"We have enabled the storage community to start creating storage devices out of Solaris," says Lovell. "Many companies need a different level of economics for storage in order to achieve their business models. They increasingly want a storage infrastructure that has the same economics that companies like Amazon and Google are getting, which is less than one dollar per gigabyte."

According to Lovell, Sun's new tools make it possible for developers to build an OpenSolaris storage server in about 10 minutes by outlining a series of simple steps for enabling a NAS server.

"When people think of open source they think they are going to have to put things together piecemeal, but that's no longer true. With the set of tools on our Website customers can quickly download the open-source operating system and through a series of commands and scripts, get a NAS server up and running on the network," says Lovell.

In addition, Sun is expanding its professional services to speed open-storage application development and help customers make the transition to an open-storage infrastructure. Sun will now step in and help users develop open-storage architectural designs as well as perform data migration services from proprietary systems to OpenSolaris storage environments.

Lovell says Sun's goal is to partner with customers interested in moving to open storage. "We have a set of services and advice to help users move down the path to open storage. When you're replacing a proprietary storage device there is going to be some data migration that has to happen," he says. "We provide those services to help them make open-source storage a viable solution for their business."

So far, Sun has opened-source a range of storage-related software, including the Solaris ZFS file system, both client and server implementations of the IETF NFS protocols from version 2 through version 4, the YANFS file access protocol, point-in-time copy and remote mirror data services, and support for iSCSI, Fibre Channel and the SCSI Object-Based Storage Device (OSD) command protocol.

Lovell says there is more to come as Sun plans to build more heterogeneous storage management features into OpenSolaris. "That is the direction the open-source community is moving toward. They want unified storage management," he says.

Sun's open-source storage community now totals more than 3,000 members and 30 concurrent development projects.

This article was originally published on April 29, 2008