Sun Fire X4500 server crams 48 drives into 4U
The "Thumper" redefines storage performance — as long as you run this behemoth on SolarisFollow @pvenezia
As an NAS device, the X4500's performance was limited by protocol and Ethernet bandwidth limits, with NFS tests showing reads in the 90MBps range, with writes about 85MBps. iSCSI numbers were better, nearing the 120MBps limit of a single gigabit link for reads and 100MBps streaming writes at a fixed block size. As with all I/O benchmarks, changing the block size results in different numbers, so actual performance will be specific to the application used.
ZFS is key to top performance
Suffice it to say that Thumper is aptly named and is a truly unique product from a company that seems to be pulling away from a faltering reputation in the server market. Recent studies have shown that within a few short years, the world will generate more data than it can store. It would seem that Sun is doing its part to bridge that gap.
ZFS and the X4500 go hand in hand, seemingly created for each other in a love story rivaling anything that's come out of Hollywood in the past 10 years. The speed of file system creation and raw I/O possible with ZFS surpasses that of any other file system available today, and truly makes the X4500 usable in enterprise settings.
On the other hand, using the X4500 with anything but Solaris and ZFS really isn't a viable option at this point. It will work, but it'll be problematic. Once FreeBSD has a stable ZFS implementation, it will fit right in, but for now, the message is clear: Although it's possible to run the X4500 under other operating systems, Solaris will give you much more bang for the buck.