Friday, April 22, 2005

My first SUPerG

I had the privilige of attending SUPerG this week. Some of the highlights of the presentations come in the form of short quotes from some of the speakers.

Volume managers are shims that were introduced to work around bugs that should have been fixed in the file system. - Richard McDougall
And finally, someone of authority that has said what I have been trying to get across for a couple years:
IO Wait == Idle - Glenn Fawcett
Overall I was surprised by the amount of emphasis that Sun has put on the future of storage. With the combination of 10 Gigabit Ethernet, FireEngine, and NFSv4, Sun very clearly stated that the future of storage is in NAS. The story is pretty well outlined by Richard McDougall in this blog entry. I was happy to see that the first Niagara systems seem to be ahead of schedule. Within the next 8 months I should be able to get a single processor SPARC box that is more powerful than a 12-processor 4800 or any commodity box sporting chips from Intel or AMD. Way cool. The thing with silicon that really blew me away was Rock's hardware scout. This chip is able to look a thousand or more instructions ahead to optimize cache loads. The net effect is that you can get by with a lot less cache, thereby making huge caches unnecessary. And for those of us that are a couple years into the life of 15k's, the good news keeps coming. First, the upgrade to UltraSPARC IV boards brings about 90% performance improvement, the UltraSPARC IV+ will add another 70%. With an expected July release of the US IV+, this means that through periodic system board (and carrier plate...) upgrades, the 15k (and 4800, 6800, 12k, etc.) are keeping pace with Moore's Law without a forklift upgrade. Very impressive. There was also a lot of talk about various Solaris 10 features... however, things like zones, dtrace, zfs, etc. have been covered consistently for a long time in the press and in many data centers that there was not a whole lot new to say. Putting all of the improvements in Solaris together with advances in other technologies (10 gigabit ethernet, multiple vendors with NFSv4, CMT, ...) really shows that there is a bright future for Solaris.

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