Thoughts on Fishworks, SSD, flash and high density storage.

The Sun Fishworks guys were nice enough to invite me for a demo of their new 7000 series storage device.

We bang the heck out of our IO systems here at Spinn3r so having more options is always welcome.

Bryan Cantrill, one of the original DTrace developers, worked on this bad boy so there’s obviously going to be an emphasis on performance analysis.

This is one of the main competitive advantages of the 7000 series.

Out of the box you have a full admin console for performance tuning. It doesn’t stop at just raw IOs because they’ve instrumented it with a bunch of dtrace scripts.

You can view IOPS per file, CPU, make runtime tuning and configuration changes. Basically, the entire device can be monitored and configured with just a few clicks.

Apparently, they can’t really open source this thing because it hooks too far into OpenSolaris. I’m very sympathetic to this problem though. At Spinn3r we have a TON of infrastructure I would rather Open Source but I can’t because it’s too integrated into our full stack.

Of course I don’t have one of these guys in production. The devil is ALWAYS in the details. In the past I’ve thrown hardware I was really excited about into production only to have it fail a week later.

If you’re already an OpenSolaris shop this is probably a really easy purchase. Linux? Maybe not so much. If you’re on MySQL it won’t really be able to introspect your InnoDB buffer pool. It might be able to look at the individual files which would be nice.

In Linux you can run lsof but I really want an iotop so that I can see which files are being used and which are getting iops and where. It seems you can do this with the 7000 but a curses based app would be nice as well.

This thing also has flash which is nice. It’s basically meant as a front end read cache. Blocks are moved from the disk and written sequentially to the flash to satisfy reads.

Looks like their flash is pretty much OEM STEC. A stock Zeus IOPS drive at 16GB. Apparently, they’re they only ones that actually work.

It’s still not what I really want for our in-memory database. I want it to be flash all the way and be able to handle more than 10k random write IOPS.

The Fusion IO stuff is interesting but the driver isn’t Open Source. The Micron stuff looks awesome as well.

These guys are either going to have to go open source or standardize on a new Flash-aware SATA/SAS/FC interface.


  1. I have one of these (S7410) in production now and it *rocks*. Blog post coming soon… But it’s really unbelievably amazing.

    As for more than 10K IOPS, you can add as many of the flash devices as you want, in theory, together to get beyond 10K…

    But the device you really want if you want to 100% flash is “just around the corner.” Next year, for sure.

  2. Yeah. I asked Bryan about just loading it up with flash and it would work but would be very expensive.

    The STEC stuff isn’t cheap :)

    I need to compute cost per iops on this stuff. If you can get a low $/IOPS then it’s probably worth the extra cash.

    I def think we’ll see something decent next year tough.

    There was discussion of a new Sun product but it was $50/GB and had 2TB of storage. At that price it’s very cost prohibitive for a 250GB database :)

    …. so close now.






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