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Live from CommunityOne (Sun's event)..

posted by steveradich on Tue 06 of May, 2008 [02:42 UTC]
Let me preface with I've been loyal to Microsoft technologies for almost 20 years, but on some areas they are loosing touch with at least my needs if not plenty of others.

So I decided to go check out what Sun had to offer, I decided Friday night to get a airline ticket - now Monday I'm in San Fransisco, California (I'm from the DC area, other end of the US).. Pretty spure of the moment, but their ZFS file system and some of the virtualization technologies interested me quite a bit and not knowing really anything about Sun I figured I'd learn something..

What did I think? I have to say, they're impressive, until you try to IMPLEMENT their "available" technologies.

Let's take some examples:
  • VirtualBox / Xen / whatever they call it (since they don't really seem to know themselves).. Well, the presenter says the binary download is identical to the open source - I saw a few things I'd want to change to even consider using it on our network, so I start downloading at the presentation.. The open source edition is crippled and lacks several features - They JUST said that's NOT the case - Which is it? Crippled or full product?

  • ZFS timeouts on disk i/o - I tried installing Solaris on a somewhat flaky box, I ended up locking up the system with no errors during an install; and during running ZFS I could corrupt the pool. Ask a question and I get the typical "good" speakers response of take it offline afterwards - That's a sign of one of two things: 1) The speaker really wants to talk technical, 2) You've caught him not knowing how to respond and he wants to blow you off. Talk after - basically the discussion is speaker has to go to another presentation, adios.

So I've pretty well wasted a day on technologies that sound great; Sun's got some FANTASTIC ideas and technologies they're working on - And I even understand getting people excited before they are products / ready - But don't tell me you have something that you don't, especially when I take a day off work, fly across the country, just to find the things I wanted to hear about don't really exist in a useable fashion.

So I'm frustrated, but I'm also going to end with ZFS makes Solaris *THE* file storage operating system to use. We'll be dumping a lot of hours into ZFS, even if it means coding it to make it meet our needs. The base is there, although perhaps buggy - Windows has nothing to compare today, and I know of no rumors of anything close. The management ease and expandability of ZFS makes it worth some headache; if we don't put the headache into it we'll just have the headache managing our current SAN and NAS environments.

Hopefully a few people read this and consider it, in summary:

  • Microsoft: I feel you are falling behind in file storage and volume management IMHO. Look out, Sun may just make a comeback.

  • Sun: I hear plenty of bloggers say you don't know how to manage/market what you have, I've just witnessed that first hand. I also don't know even if you released everything to open source today how you'd profit from your investment, not good for investors - Look out.

  • Admins: Times are changing in storage, a revolution started a while ago with NAS and SAN, but the bottom is dropping out of the pricing for those technologies and many new ones are worth looking at.

Live from San Fransisco a few more minute before I leave for the airport being nobody from Sun seems to want to discuss the issues I have with rolling out their technologies, or their hardware questions I hoped to address while here.

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