Sun boosts open storage strategy

The company claims the storage industry is going through a similar 'radical transformation' to that experienced in the server industry a decade ago
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

Sun has put its weight behind open-source storage, with the release of new developer tools and services connected to the OpenSolaris developer effort.

Sun released OpenSolaris, an open-source version of its flagship Solaris operating system, in November 2004, and has continued to polish its open-source credentials through moves such as its recent acquisition of MySQL. The storage effort, announced on Wednesday, makes Sun the biggest IT vendor to date to fully embrace open source for major enterprise storage systems.

Today's storage industry resembles the server market of 10 years ago, with most companies locked into proprietary systems, Sun said, arguing that open source can increase performance, cut costs and allow for more innovative software. Open source also means companies can repurpose existing hardware, something not possible with proprietary systems from the likes of Dell, EMC, HP and IBM, according to Sun.

"The storage industry is undergoing a radical transformation that parallels what servers went through a decade ago," said John Fowler, executive vice president of Sun's Systems Group, in a statement.

Sun's "open storage" efforts currently focus on the Sun Fire X4500 storage server, which runs OpenSolaris, and the ZFS file system, which includes enterprise storage features, the company said.

Sun has released a developer guide which walks through the steps of building a storage server using OpenSolaris — something that can be accomplished in under 10 minutes, according to Sun. Another guide describes building a network-attached storage (NAS) device with OpenSolaris.

Sun has also expanded its services around open-source storage application development. Details of the services are available on Sun's website. OpenSolaris' storage community now incorporates more than 3,000 developers and more than 30 projects, according to Sun.

Sun made the announcements ahead of its Developer Summit this weekend at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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