Jonathan gives us an early look at Thumper

Posted on July 11, 2006

I think I’m in love.

Thumper saves me from myself actually. I recently requested a quote on a Rackable storage box:

Suprisingly, Rackable isn’t as cheap as it would seem, and in fact Thumper may come in lower in cost than what Rackable can offer, with a lot more capability.

As a storage guy, Jonathan is right on target with his latest blog entry.

In fact… I have a confession to make. I’ve felt like a real looser for some time now. I love my Sun systems, their reliability, support, and functionality. But vendors, particularly vendors pushing software aimed at the Linux market, make me feel like a dolt for not buying cheap Taiwan specials (ie: SuperMicro). Data centers are building out with flavor of the month servers to meet demand at rock bottom prices but I just can’t bring myself to endure the pain. When you buy 500 systems you get special treatment. When you buy 2, your just a quick buck. Sun’s new offerings are going to bridge a big gap between big capacity and low cost. Finally I’ll have the support, the power, and the bredth of X86 solutions I crave.

Jonathan is right. For years the Linux crowd was turning its nose up at companies like F5, CheckPoint, and even Cisco. The ASIC driven boxes were replaced with Open Source software on Linux boxes. Now, thats all good and well for some people, but I want to sleep (or blog) at night, not coddle my peicemeal load balancer. But those days are in large part over. Software that was tempermental and experimental 6 years ago is looking pretty solid and trusted today.

Most shockingly, actually, is the number of storage vendors who aren’t using ASIC but simply X86 boxes running a commonly available OS (eCos, Linux, BSD, etc). 3Par is done this way, Equalogic is, Compellent is, and several others. This is shocking to me… I’m still trying to get over this idea that you don’t need a custom built ASIC to push big data real fast. Which turns my eyes to OpenSolaris of course. iSCSI target implementation, ZFS, world class NFS, plus all the tools to really manage storage and you’ve got a really appealing platform. I’m a smart guy, why am I paying massive overheads for someone else to build my storage platform when I’ve already got all the bits I need! Enter Thumper!

So… I’m excited. And I think this announcement will open a lot of eyes to a larger world of possibility.