Sun to embed flash storage in nearly all its servers

Sun will release a 32GB flash storage drive this year and make flash storage an option for nearly every server the vendor produces, Sun officials announced Wednesday. While flash storage is far more expensive than disk on a per-gigabyte basis, Sun argues that flash is cheaper for high-performance applications that rely on fast IOPS (I/O Operations Per Second) speeds.
“It consumes one-fifth the power and is a hundred times faster [than rotating disk drives],” John Fowler, the head of Sun’s servers and storage division, said at a press conference in Boston Tuesday. “The fact that it’s not the same dollars per gigabyte is perfectly okay.” Full Story

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About Rich
FlexRex began his life as a cartoon character I created a Sun Microsystems. As the world's first "fictional blogger," he appeared in numerous parody films that made fun of the whole work-from-home thing. Somewhere along the line, the Sun IT department adopted FlexRex as their spokesman in a half-dozen security awareness films for employees. So when I left Sun recently, I started FlexRex Communications, a Marketing company in Portland, Oregon.

2 Responses to Sun to embed flash storage in nearly all its servers

  1. The Network World article states: "Fowler said Sun will try to lure customers with low prices, about $1,000 for a 32-gig drive."
    $1,000 for a 32-gig drive isn’t exactly what I’d call a low price. I can buy drives of that size for less right now and the price is particularly high when compare to other forms of solid state storage like USB sticks.

  2. John Fowler says:

    List price of $30/GB is not inexpensive for disk storage. But, compared to a high performance 15K enterprise drive it can do 32,000 IO operations per second compared to 320 for the 15K drive. In addition, it will transfer data with at least 2X bandwidth, at a fraction of the latency, and 1/5th of the power. So the fact that it’s more expensive on a per GB basis is not an issue — it has tremendous performance value.
    It is our strategy to seamlessly integrate these fast drives into the drive heirarchy as a cache, so you can get the performance of flash but take advantage of cheap storage.
    As an example, we tested ZFS on a X4450 with 7 10K RPM drives running applications against the same X4450 with 2 SSDs and 5 400GB 4,200 RPM SATA drives. This was intentionally done as a configuration as the list price comparison was almost exactly equal even though the second configuration had more storage. The results were that the second system had 3X applications performance and a huge drop in power use.
    Same money, more disk, huge performance boost, less power.
    Don’t think of this as one for one replacement for disk. It can be used for this, but what we see is the enormous acceleration when used in conjunction with regular disks.
    btw, we will be using this with Lustre to accelerate both the meta data server and read/write cache for parallel file systems for HPC.
    John

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