Today Sun unveiled the Sun 7000-series Unified Storage System. Three models were announced: the low-end 7110, the midrange 7210, and the high-end 7410. All are built on OpenSolaris and ZFS, and the 7210 and 7410 leverage SSD technology to speed up I/O. Luckily, I happen to have a 7210 in my lab currently and will be publishing a full review of the unit in the very near future. For now, however, I can talk a bit about what these units actually represent.
The 7210 is built on the Sun x4500 "Thumper" platform, which incorporates 48 SATA drives in a 4U chassis alongside a server mainboard running OpenSolaris. The 7210 isn't technically a server though, it's an appliance -- no shell or root access to the system is possible for the moment, and thus you won't be running any custom applications on the device. What the 7210 and its brethren provide is an elegant storage framework that includes the best-of-breed ZFS file system coupled with read- and write-biased SSDs, support for CIFS, iSCSI, NDMP, FTP, (and others) driven by a truly breathtaking interface.
The SSDs are used explicitly for caching and logging, and only the 7410 offers both -- the 7210 has read-biased SSDs, and the 7110 doesn't have SSD support. In discussions with Sun engineers, they claimed that the addition of the read-biased SSD caching in conjunction with ZFS' predictive caching algorithms means that 7,200-rpm SATA drives perform just as well, if not better than 10K SAS drives. In fact, they're conducting trials to determine if they can use 4,200-rpm SATA drives in these devices without sacrificing I/O performance. If that's possible, then the price point, power consumption, and heat generation drops across the board. Either way, I have to say that I've been a fan of ZFS for some time now, and it's only getting better and better.
I'll get into the specifics of the 7210 in my review, but as far as the interface goes, it's really impressive to be able to quickly pull up real-time user- and file-level throughput statistics complete with live graphs.