Is the next station ZFS?

TracksTrainEffrem Norwood is a good friend of mine and one of the smartest and most capable folks I know in the storage business. I have known Effrem for over 15 years and we have a lot of technical discussions about storage and he often talks with our engineering team about things we are working on. When we were initially designing our SimplStor unit in 2008 Effrem Norwood helped us with the design and testing. He has been working on a special ZFS / Solaris installation for the healthcare business for a few years and has over 10 PB running on a version of our SimplStor hardware. It is a pretty impressive solution set and quite affordable for customers that are not going to upgrade to cDot, but want a powerful and adaptable solution with affordable hardware and software support. We are working with Effrem’s team at BlueRing to help our customers who want the features and benefits of ZFS without the hassle of constant upgrades from a hardware manufacturer. Several of our customers are interested in ZFS as an alternative to migrating to cDot, and below are the 3 questions that have come up in our conversations with customers and the Bluering answers.

Zerowait Question – Can you please tell us how you came to select Solaris and ZFS as the solution set for your Healthcare customers?

Bluering Answer – ZFS is an incredibly powerful filesystem that provides an unmatched feature set that can be deployed on standards based x86 hardware. Oracle provides world class support for this, making Solaris the obvious choice to supply ZFS. All non Oracle Solaris ZFS implementations are a fork of the last build of OpenSolaris, build 134 and I can tell you, a lot has changed with Oracle Solaris ZFS since then that the open source community just can’t match. There are major data loss issues waiting for people in that old code base. For healthcare applications then, ZFS plus Oracle’s comprehensive support on x86 hardware makes it the best overall choice. As healthcare begins to escape the vendor silos it has been stuck in for years, these customers want reliable, Enterprise class storage at a low price. Zerowait SimplStor and Bluering provides this with demonstrated low risk and best results.

Zerowait Question – Can you tell us why the adaptability of the SimplStor hardware is an advantage for your customers and Folks considering migrating from NetApp rather than upgrading to cDot?

Bluering Answer – Solaris is a complete Unix operating system with ZFS included. This means that for your ZFS deployment, with SimplStor hardware you can scale your in memory cache size (ZFS ARC), solid state tier cache size (ZFS L2ARC) and write cache size (ZFS ZIL) to accommodate your specific use cases. Not only can this be done per workload, it can be done while the systems are in production. You don’t need to try and do one size fits all here. You determine your workload and then implement the system. As things change, you only need to make minor adjustments to low cost hardware to handle more data. It’s an entirely different approach that yields superior results, better performance and low cost.

Zerowait Question – Can you provide the top 3 reasons you chose to market your solution with Zerowait as your hardware platform service and support provider?

Bluering Answer –

  1. Value
  2. Service
  3. Relationships

If you’re going to deploy x86 hardware for storage purposes, it takes a lot to make it work correctly. There is no chance of being successful with ZFS in the Enterprise without having the system be right from day one and there’s a lot to that. Once it’s deployed, having access to fast parts replacement is critical. Without it, even the best initial deployments will fail. When and not if something does go wrong, your vendor has to have the right level of relationships with their vendors to make support fast and reliable. Zerowait has spent years developing those relationships so they are only a phone call away for them. That is so important. Try to call say Seagate yourself for a drive firmware issue. Good luck even knowing that’s what the issue is. And most importantly to us was that we got all of this, the whole package, at a better overall 5 year cost than just the servers from any other vendor.

If you have other questions you would like answered please send them our way. The Blue Ring website is

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