Sun Microsystems has outlined a future computing architecture that combines elements of grid computing with storage networking.
Sun's Rich Napolitano, vice-president of data service platforms, and Wolfgang Gentzsch, director of grid computing, discussed the similarities between today's utility-like grid computing architecture and the emerging storage architecture that adds a layer to San that virtualises data across multiple arrays.
"We're working on the convergence of virtualisation of computing and data services," Gentzsch said. "Sun is in a unique position to innovate on servers, storage systems and between them."
The layer between servers and storage is a product Sun will reveal in a few months. It is being developed with technology from Pirus Networks. The technology will be produced within the "next 60 days" and sold to professional service providers.
The data service platform will permit storage administrators to take many of the applications that run in a proprietary way in individual arrays and put them on a forthcoming Sun appliance that uses general purpose CPUs and a cross-bar switch architecture. The CPUs would run the applications and the cross-bar switch will minimise latency.
The initial application that will be supported on the appliance permits snapshot functions - recording a point and time copy of a data set - across multiple arrays, regardless of vendors.
Napolitano added that array vendors today have built this type of technology into their individual arrays via proprietary means; therefore, it does not work across competitor arrays.