Navy high-performance site tests StorEdge T3

Navy high-performance site tests StorEdge T3

Resource center tries Sun Microsystems' arrays for mass storage, archiving

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

Now it's the network storage'not just the network'that's the computer.

Playing off its longtime motto, 'The network is the computer,' Sun Microsystems Inc. opened up its network storage arrays with the modular StorEdge T3 line last month.

One Purple StorEdge T3 is about the size of a PC and stores 324G. Two units
are stacked in this photo.

Beta testers included the Naval Oceanographic Office Major Shared Resource Center in Bay St. Louis, Miss., Sun officials said.

'Sun is a networking company,' said Kathleen Holmgren, vice president of storage business operations. 'Just like we built a scalable server line all the way from the desktop to Enterprise 10000 servers, we're doing the same thing for storage.'

A StorEdge T3 array combines hardware RAID with Fibre Channel connectivity for storage area networks. The basic building block, known as Purple, is about the size of a PC and stores up to 324G. The units stack to expand capacity to 88T.

Platforms on tap

The line will work initially with SunSoft Solaris, Hewlett-Packard HP-UX, IBM AIX and Microsoft Windows NT storage networks, Holmgren said, and by year's end Sun will add Windows 2000 and Intel-compatible versions of Linux to the operating system lineup.

She said Sun's StorEdge network data replicator and StorEdge Instant Image software will work across multiple platforms and devices. 'Our SAN philosophy is any server, any switch and any storage,' she said.

The T3 has a redundant, 100-megabyte/sec Fibre Channel arbitrated loop host interface and dual 100-megabyte/sec back-end drive loops. An end-to-end Fibre Channel hardware RAID controller does mirrored caching.

At NAVO MSRC, located at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, director Scott Adamec said he was pleased with the T3. The naval facility, which supports high-performance computing for Defense Department research, operates an IBM RS/6000 SP supercomputer ranked as the world's fourth-fastest at 1.42 trillion floating-point operations per second [GCN, June 12, Page 61].

Adamec said the center 'selected StorEdgeT3 arrays as the high-performance disk cache for mass storage and the archival portion' of the high-performance computing environment. 'We have now installed several terabytes of the scalable arrays which, in combination with Sun servers, will form the core portion of the advanced mass storage capability at the NAVO MSRC.'

Fibre sales

Paul Rochester, vice president and general manager of Sun's Enterprise Services unit's professional services group, said users can put a T3 on a SAN with switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., and other Fibre Channel vendors.

Rochester said Sun, which has managed 40 SAN projects, offers the new products as part of a managed SAN service. The company will set up a joint support center with Oracle Corp. and Veritas Software Corp. of Mountain View, Calif., because many organizations use the three vendors' products together.

'You can't just look at storage alone,' Holmgren said. 'End-to-end performance and manageability are critical.'

John McArthur, vice president of storage research at International Data Corp. of Framingham, Mass., predicted the disk storage systems market will reach $46 billion by 2003, up $16 billion from last year.

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