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Sun Thumps Storage-Server Hybrid

Sun is taking the wraps off "Thumper," aka the Sun Fire SX4500, in what the company claims is the first in a series of hybrid server/storage devices.

Part of a multiproduct announcement from Sun's Systems Group anticipated for release today, the Sun Fire X4500 combines up to 24 Tbytes of SATA disk storage in a rack-mounted system that packs two dual-core AMD Opteron "x64" processors. The result, Sun claims, is a device that combines the computing power of Sun's "Galaxy" high-performance servers with high-density storage in a 7-inch rack-mount box.

Sun calls the X4500 a "data server" or "data analysis server," aiming it at customers looking to save on equipment costs for data warehousing or high-performance computing solutions.

"Customers can use this instead of multiple servers, switches, and arrays," says David Lawler, director of product definition and strategy for Sun's Systems Group. "This integrates and reduces power and cooling and raises the reliability level."

At least one customer appears to agree -- the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Titech) has been deploying 42 X4500s linked by 10-Gbit/s InfiniBand since April as part of its TSUBAME supercomputer installation. According to Satoshi Matsuoka, a professor at the institute, the approach is faster and more efficient than using SAN or NAS.

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