RealTime IT News

Modular Moves For Sun Storage

Sun Microsystems  today refreshed its modular storage systems to curry favor with service providers and organizations that need to store data forged by high-performance computing tasks.

Modular storage machines are typically smaller than large arrays. But additional drives and controllers can be added by companies that need to expand their storage capacity.

Customers may buy in small and scale as their application needs change. This is a level of flexibility large, monolithic storage machines can't always deliver.

Sun's StorageTek 6140 and 6540 arrays -- the first two machines to be offered under the Sun StorageTek brand -- are geared toward customers who need to store and protect data in applications that are crucial to the lifeblood of a business.

For example, the systems are ideal for customers powering database applications, or service providers that may need to sock away large amounts of data, said Jason Schaffer, director of product management for modular storage at Sun.

Running at 4 gigabits-per-second (Gbps) -- the new speed standard in data throughput -- the StorageTek 6140 Fibre Channel (FC) array works for both direct attached (DAS)  and SAN  storage.

Designed for service providers, the system handles Fibre Channel  or SATA-2  disk drives, 8 4Gb FC ports, 4 gigabytes of cache, application management, and it tops out at 112 disk drives.

The StorageTek 6540 array, also a 4 Gbps Fibre Channel (FC) array, is geared more for large databases and high-performance computing for scientific research and other compute-intensive applications.

The 6540 has much the same perks as its smaller 6140 brother, but has 16GB of cache and can house much more data with 224 disk drives.

Schaffer said other utilities the two new machines have in common include the ability for application profiles and profile cloning.

The former relies on automated provisioning to speed configurations; the latter cuts replication from hours to moments.

Storage volumes in the new systems can also be updated on the fly, fine-tuning application performance without disrupting business operations.

Such efficiencies are important at a time when IT staffs are smaller or need to focus on other tasks. Keeping the integrity of the data intact is also a huge plus for customers concerned about corporate compliance rules.

The 6140 and 6150 will eventually replace Sun's StorEdge 6130 array, as well as several FlexLine systems from its StorageTek acquisition.

The 6140 starts at $25,000 and is available from Sun and its authorized resellers. The 6540 array starts at $85,000 and will be available in the next 30 days.

Sun competes with Hitachi Data Systems  and EMC  in the modular storage systems space.