Sun extends OpenSolaris to serve storage market
By Robert Mullins
April 29, 2008 —
By introducing developer tools, professional services and community support, Sun Microsystems hopes to bring the “open-source revolution” to data storage to match the changes wrought in the server market.
The company will launch a series of initiatives tomorrow to continue its OpenSolaris campaign, which aims to release the source code to the Solaris operating system, to nurture an open-storage community and to spur development of storage management applications.
Today, storage systems are largely closed and proprietary, said John Fowler, executive vice president of the systems group at Sun. That was the case with servers in the past, he noted, but the field opened up when Advanced Micro Devices became a serious competitor to Intel’s dominance of the CPU market and when Linux emerged as an open-source server operating system.
Stars of the dot-com era, such as Google and Yahoo, built their networks on open-source Linux. Others, meanwhile, including Novell and Red Hat, built or refocused their businesses on Linux-based operating systems and support.
“What we are doing is taking our products and technology, and we are going to lead storage through that same revolution,” said Fowler.
Sun is building into the open-source version of Solaris the core elements of storage software, he explained, indicating developer tools, recipes and how-to guides for creating various applications.
Developers in the 3,000-member OpenSolaris storage community will be able to develop storage software along a variety of paths, including 10Gb Ethernet, Fibre Channel or InfiniBand network communication; network-attached storage appliances; and RAID storage volume management. Fowler noted that those advanced technologies are core to the storage world and traditionally have come with a price tag in terms of both cost and vendor lock-in.
The OpenSolaris storage community is already working on more than 30 projects. DigiTar, a service for screening, securing and storing e-mail and other messaging technology, uses OpenSolaris for storage, explained CTO Jason Williams on his company blog.
“[OpenSolaris] allows you to build reliable storage out of commodity components, [so] you can build the storage architecture you need, instead of being held hostage by the one you can afford,” Williams wrote.
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