Sun Microsystems Computer Corp last week announced Pluto, its first RAID subsystems, which were designed internally from the ground up. The company believes that the new high-availability high-volume technology will give its servers impetus in the commercial space, expecting the subsystem to feature on most of its SparcCenter 2000s and SparcServer 1000s as well as […]
Sun Microsystems Computer Corp last week announced Pluto, its first RAID subsystems, which were designed internally from the ground up. The company believes that the new high-availability high-volume technology will give its servers impetus in the commercial space, expecting the subsystem to feature on most of its SparcCenter 2000s and SparcServer 1000s as well as its SparcServer 10s.
Sun says it has sold 1,000 of its 2000s and 2,500 1000s to date and apparently expects the majority of them to be retro-fitted. Pluto, which Sun promised to sell in the thousands this calendar year, will be sold only on Sun machines but it will enable Sun to try to capture RAID business that would go to Data General Corp’s CLARiiON unit and BoxHill Corp as well as make its systems more appealing. Pluto marks the industry’s first use of a fast Fiber Channel interface, and is officially called the SparcStorage Array Model 100 Series; the company claims it is capable of storing 31.5Gb of data, roughly the equivalent of 16m printed pages, on a maximum 30 high-performance 1.05Gb 20Mbps 3.5 SCSI disks. The system includes a tightly integrated graphical user interface-based SparcStorage Volume Manager, on-line data administration and configuration software. The unit is described as highly modular, easy-to-manage and customer-maintainable. It uses disks incorporating the SCSI single-connector design that Sun co-developed with disk drive manufacturers. The Model 100 is currently controlled by a 40MHz Microsparc chip and six new intelligent RISC-based SCSI processors and features 4Mb of non-volatile mmeory for fast write response and caching. It provides RAID levels 1 (mirroring), 0+1 (mirroring optimised stripes) and 5 (striping with parity), for a claimed 99.99% up-time per array. The new full duplex, 25Mbps ANSI-standard Fiber Channel interface enables arrays to be 1.25 miles apart for disaster-resilient configurations. The subsystem, which fits in a SparcServer 1000 box, also allows for multiple host connections. Sun claims that the subsystem is highly scalable thanks to an array processor that can operate at 2,000+ input-output operations per second for data-intensive random access applications such as database, file service and transaction processing and over 15Mbps sustained data rate for sequential applications such as imaging, multimedia and video. The Fiber Channel interface is more powerful than SCSI and will soon be upgradable to 50MBps or 100Mbps. (Sun reckons SCSI will go away in the 1996-97 timeframe). Sun has priced the stuff very aggressively, claiming the industry’s lowest dollar per Megabyte at $1.62 for a full system. Pricing starts at $24,900 for a 6.3Gb configuration and goes to $50,900 list for a fully loaded 31.5Gb unit. The Model 100t, compatible with Solaris 2.3, will be available in May, with RAID level 5 functionality following in the third quarter as a free upgrade. A rack-mountable Model 200, supporting up to 72 2.9Gb 5.25 drives per SBus slot, will be available in the autumn. Sun reckons it will be able to store Terabytes in short order. In the second half Sun expects to be able to offer continuous availability for Oracle servers followed by Sybase and Informix in 1995. Prices for Sun’s Sparcstorage Array are about half the street price for 9337-2XX arrays for IBM Corp’s AS/400 in comparable storage configuration.