We have recently obtained a Sun Fire X4500 storage array at work. This has an astonishing 24TB of storage in a tiny footprint of 4U. The price per Terabyte is utterly compeling, coming in at under £700 per Terabyte. Or put another way less than £0.70/GB. This storage is delivered via 48 drives. Ok so you don’t get hardware RAID with this so I guess a direct comparison is unfair, but we also have a lot of these Clariion Cx300’s but the price per GB comes in at around £4/GB so in terms of raw storage space you are talking going on x 6 the cost, and yes you should not buy your storage in terms of space capacity but I/O capacity, but these numbers make things very interesting indeed.
But the X4500 is not just a storage array, it is also a 4 way (2-dual core cpu’s) opteron server and the plans are to run Oracle on this, while you can install Linux (or even dare I say Windows) on here I think it’s going to be Solaris and we will then use ZFS to provide some data protection, possibly straight RAID 1/0 but maybe RAID-Z. It will also be interesting to see what kind of I/O we can get out of ZFS on here, though the theoretical maximum seems to be 2GB/s from disk to memory – we will see.