StorageTek… whatever… SUN MIDRANGE STORAGE 6000 RELEASE!

Posted on August 10, 2006

Released today and billed as the “New Generation of Modular Storage”, Sun has given the world two new mid-range storage solutions complete with the beautiful Galaxy look. The StorageTek 6140 Array and StorageTek 6540.

First things first, the StorageTek 6140 Array. Its a 16 disk 4Gb/s Fibre Channel array, features dual controllers and the ability to mix-and-match SATA and FC disks in a single enclosure. The brick comes in two configs, small (2GB Cache and 4 SFP host ports) and large (4GB Cache and 8 SFP host ports). Interestly, the array is only available with dual controllers, which is refreshing. Similar to other midrange arrays of this class you can buy a dual-controller array to start and then scale it by buying dumb expansion modules, growing up to 64 (small config) or 112 drives (large config).

Currently the brick is supporting the following drives:

  • 4Gb/s 15K RPM Fibre Channel 73GB and 146GB (up to 2.3TB per brick)
  • 2Gb/s 10K RPM Fibre Channel 146GB and 300GB (up to 4.8TB per brick)
  • 7,200 RPM SATA-II 500GB (8TB per brick)

The qualified disks are a mixture of Seagate, Hitatchi, and Fujistu disks. She boasts RAID 0, 1,3, 5, and 1+0. Each array is 3U.

From breezing through the docs I’d make the following notes: 1) According to the docs 1Gb/s FC operation is not supported. I thought that 2 and 4Gb/s FC has required by standard to be backward compatable and I’ve never tried it, but buyer beware if your replacing old DAS with this box and don’t intend to upgrade your HBA’s. 2) White there are 4 Host ports per controller (8 total), according to the docs one of them (Ch 4) “is reserved for remote replication requirements”. Can you over-come that? Can you really use that as a host port or not? If you can’t actually use it as a host port then whoever wrote up the spec sheet needs to be horsed whipped because that means you have 6 host ports, not 8, usable. Anyway, keep these in mind when you talk to your rep so that you don’t get supprised later.

The 6140 starts at $25,000 and is shipping now.

At first glace the StorageTek 6540 looks like the old “take a new array, fill a rack, and sell it as a “solution” rather than an array”. Sun’s famous for this. Except, look closer and you see a 3U looking box in that rack of bricks, and thats whats going to make this interesting, so…. what is that brick? The spec sheet is almost a carbon copy of the 6140 sheet so don’t look for help there. To the manuals we turn!

Except…. oops. The docs aren’t out for the 6540 yet. Nor is the System Handbook page for it. So what is that box? Who knows. The reasonable assuption is that its either A) a bigger dedicated controller/head, or B) a management server sold with the solution pre-installed with all the management software options. I’m not sure which, yet, we’ll see.

What we can infer from the spec sheet is that the 6540 is made up of 2 large 6140’s with their own expansion arrays… which is simply a logical guess based on the fact that the 6540 has specs exactly twice that of the large 6140 config. Other than that, eh, who knows. We’ll see.

6540’s won’t ship for another 30 days and will start at $85,000.

Both solutions can be managed via a web interface on the arrays themselves. There is a serial port that you can use for IP configuration but whether there is more that you can do under the hood, I don’t know… which is to say, its not documented but there is a brief note of using ifconfig via serial and it showed bge, so is there Solaris under there? No idea.

Untill I get my hands on one we’ll just have to leave some question unanswered. Given that I can almost view this as Photon’s Grand-Daughter I’m excited about it, but I’m hedging my enthusiasm untill I determine that this is in fact Sun Engineering and not some LSI case-mod.

If you get one, make sure you blog about it and share your insite with us. If not, feel free to ship one my way. 🙂