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Sun Boosts Solaris Past Terabyte Level

By Michael Singer (Send Email)
Posted Apr 30, 2003


Sun Microsystems Monday released the latest upgrade to its Solaris operating environment, ushering in the next round of software and hardware upgrades from the Santa Clara, Calif.-based concern. The third incarnation of the server operating-environment lays more groundwork for its N1 architecture with a beefed up Volume Manager and its upcoming Manager Center 3.5.

Version 4/03 (named so for its release date) is the third incarnation of UNIX-based Solaris 9 and continues to support both SPARC and x86 architectures. The platform is updated and released on a quarterly basis.

The company says the new build is important because it gives users a glimpse of what Sun will be announcing when it takes the wraps off its new hardware and software due in the next three months. The company usually bundles the latest release of Solaris in its new products.

Sun Solaris product line manager Bill Moffitt says the new server software allows for data storage on partitioned systems beyond the 1 terabyte (TB) level. Previously, Solaris and similar systems could barely reach the storage mark.

"This is the first step in massively increasing the scalability that can be attached to Solaris," Moffitt told internetnews.com. "We've expanded the Volume Manager up to two petabyte (PB) storage range."

One petabyte is equivalent to 1,000 terabytes or 1 million gigabytes (GB).

Moffitt says in a future update (Solaris 10 - due in the fourth quarter of next year) Sun will announce support of up to 16 terabytes in a file system.

"What this means is that you can build a volume to a petabyte and using partitioning run a file system on each of those volumes up," he said.

Whereas the May 2002 release offered the inclusion of volume manager and the December 2002 upgrade welcomed back x86 and performance enhancements to UNIX system services, Sun says the trend is to build Solaris into a native carrier for its N1 server and storage management software.

"We've seen a very quick pickup in x86 with more than 100,00 people licensing it," Moffitt said. "Overall, we're moving quickly to half a million licenses on SPARC, but I don't think we're there yet."

In addition to increasing support for large-scale storage, the latest Solaris 9 includes the ability to deploy IPv6-based services across current (IPv4) networks

The process sometimes referred to as 6-to-4 routing, allows a company to encapsulate iPV6 packets in IPV4 shells and then tunneling them in and out of the server. A partner can then set up a machine that is also running 6-to-4 and strip off the outer shell to reveal the IPv4 message.

"What we're hearing from Asian customers is that they are deploying IPv6 to not only help the infrastructure but offer better services for their partners," Moffitt said. "In Europe they are preparing for it in a massive way."

The new Solaris 9 also includes Netscape 7.0 with additional support for seven more index scripts especially Asian languages like WuBi for dealing with Chinese glyphs as well other Indian subcontinent languages outside of Hindi. The browser also has advanced tabbing capability and an improved e-mail client.

One thing not included in this release is Sun's Management Center 3.5 platform. The company said it will be available in English June 6, and in French Japanese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese on August 6. The software allows system administrators to install and deploy applications and services across a wide network.

"As we are moving toward N1, the key feature for Sun Manager Center is this idea that you can manage a set of servers over a wide geographical area," Moffit said.

As for any comparison between Solaris and Microsoft's new Windows Server 2003 -- that company's attempt at managing data centers -- Moffitt says they may catch up one day.

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