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Sun Storage 7410 Unified Storage System review

Sun delivers a unique network storage solution with more standard features than the rest and no hidden charges.

Your datalinks are then assigned to interfaces, which provide IP configuration and addressing. Interfaces can also represent IPMP (IP multipath) groups allowing IP addresses on failed datalinks to be migrated to others maintained in a pool. For testing we opted to go with a straight mapping where datalinks contained a single device and were assigned with one interface.

Next you configure remote support which is a service provided by Sun where the Phone Home feature allows it to keep an eye on the appliance and provide an automated response. You finish off with storage configuration and the interface provides a list of RAID options and the impact each choice will have on storage availability, capacity and performance.

Storage is presented as file system shares where you decide how each is to be made available. Each file system and iSCSI LUN must be a member of a project, which is used to group shares together and apply common settings. These include quotas, reserved disk pool space, user and group access privileges, one of four data compression algorithms and LUN volume sizes. You then decide which protocols the project will make available for its shares and you can enable NFS, CIFS, HTTP, FTP and iSCSI.

Snapshots are read-only copies of projects so all its member file shares will be included. These can be taken manually or scheduled at intervals of minutes, hours, days or weeks. You can hide the snapshots or make them visible, decide how many should be kept, perform rollbacks using selected snapshots and clone them so they appear as new writable shares.

The OpenSolaris DTrace tool is incorporated into the management console and provides masses of real-time statistics and reporting facilities. Graphs are created by choosing from a range of options including CIFS, iSCSI, NFS and HTTP operations, CPU utilisation, disk and network activity and saving them off as worksheets. As data is gathered you can use worksheets to view real-time activity, browse back through historical data and export them.

The 7410 delivers in the performance stakes with the Iometer utility reporting a fast 112MB/sec raw read throughput for single iSCSI targets. However, we did find some contention for resources occurring as running Iometer on two servers each logged in to different data ports and dedicated targets only saw a cumulative speed of 132MB/sec.

We found real world speeds particularly good as copying a 2.52GB video clip to and from an iSCSI target returned read and write speeds of 89MB/sec and 72MB/sec. Using the FileZilla client showed FTP speeds to be even faster with it reporting impressive read and write rates of 103MB/sec and 92MB/sec. CIFS usually puts the brakes on speed but even here we saw file copies returning rates of 66MB/sec and 59MB/sec.

Add up the standard features on the Sun Storage 7410 plus its hardware specification and it looks good value especially when compared with much of the competition at this level of the market. Furthermore, along with NAS and IP SAN support, it offers a massive expansion potential and good performance across a range of protocols.

Verdict

Sun Microsystems 01252 420000 www.sunmicrosystems.com Verdict: The 7410 offers more of everything for network storage and looks very good value – especially as the standard features include unlimited snapshots and replication. FC SAN supports would make it truly complete but its hybrid pools allow you to choose combinations of storage devices to suit requirements, performance across a range of protocols is good and it comes with sophisticated management and monitoring tools.

Chassis: Head Unit: 2U rack, J4440 storage array: 4U rack CPU: 2 x 2.3GHz Opteron 2356 Memory: 64GB 667MHz DDR2 Head Storage: 100GB Stec Mach8 IOPS SFF SSD, 2 x 500GB Hitachi SATA SFF Array Storage: 2 x 18GB Stec Zeus IOPS SSDs, 10 x 1TB Seagate Barracuda ES.2 SATA hard disks Storage Controllers: 2 x LSI SAS3801E 8-port PCI-e cards Array support: RAID0, 1, 10, 5, 6 Network: 4 x Gigabit data ports Expansion slots: 6 x PCI-e Power: Head: 2 x 1050W; J4440: 2 x 764W hot-swap Management: CLI, Sun ILOM, web browser

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