Sun Adds SSD Support to OpenSolaris Upgrade

Open source ZFS file system gains a number of storage enhancements, including the ability to manage large pools of flash storage.

June 2, 2009

2 Min Read
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Sun Microsystems released an upgraded version of its open source OpenSolaris operating system on Monday and included a number of storage-related enhancements to its ZFS file system. Perhaps most notable are management capabilities that let users better manage and take advantage of solid-state disks, which are showing up in more enterprise storage systems.

"We are adding the final piece to make it flash ready," said Matthew Baier, group manager for data center software marketing for Sun. "Flash provides the missing link between Dram and disks and we've enhanced the software to it automatically ties flash into a hybrid storage pool and can automatically use it in the best fashion."

ZFS will be able to monitor what an application is doing and optimize the use of the flash storage for high throughput or random reads and writes to boost performance. It can set some of the flash storage as read or write accelerators that will be managed by the file system, reducing the need for large caches of memory. The capabilities to recognize data usage patterns and optimize data placement for better performance comes from Sun's enterprise storage systems known as Amber Road.

The support for SSDs and other storage enhancements are part of a larger reworking on the software that includes a new version of the networking stack that includes better support for virtualization and multi-core, multi-threaded processors connected via virtual network interfaces. Called Project Crossbow, it is meant to make it easier to manage complicated deployment of multi-tier applications.

Additional storage enhancement include native support for Microsoft's CIFS as a peer to NFS and provides features and support for Windows semantics for security, naming and access rights, allowing transparent use and sharing of files across Windows, Linux and Solaris environments.

Sun also will let systems running OpenSolaris work as a client or target in most infrastructures by adding new support for iSCSI and Fibre Channel block protocols into the Solaris kernel. , allowing systems running OpenSolaris to participate as both a client and a target for virtually any storage topology. The Common Multiprotocol SCSI Target, or COMSTAR, can turn an Open Solaris host into a SCSI target.

By integrating the new storage features into the Solaris operating system, Sun said they will be able to use the software core functionality such fault management, networking, multi-threaded scaling, performance, security and resource management.

"We are continually enhancing the storage capabilities of the operating system to make it an indeal storage platform. The ctual implementation is in Amber Road and now we are pushing it out into the operating system," said Margaret Hamburger, product line manager for Sun's storage software. "By making storage very simple to deploy and automating many of the tasks they have to manage, we are trying to make storage less of a pain." has published a report on in-memory analytics. Fast analysis, better insight, and rapid deployment with minimal IT involvement are among the benefits. Download the report here (registration required).

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