I love it when big old-school technology companies do something that surprises me. Sun’s new X4500 server does just that. It takes 48 (yes, 48) standard hard disks and puts them in a 4U server. With the 500GB hard disks available today that’s 24 terabytes in one server. That’s a frak load of disk space. To put it another way, in a 48 U rack (and the mother of all air conditioning units) that’s … umm my head can’t cope … 288 TB … What comes after ‘Terra’? When 1TB disks come out later this year, 1 rack will be over half way there.
Oh, its got 2 dual-core CPUs and (I love this bit too – very old school!) 4 gigabit ethernet ports. Reminds me of the old happy-meal cards (anyone get that?)
So what do you do with that amount of storage in just 1 server? Well apart from hosting the world’s most impressive mp3 collection, I can think of a few things:
- Data Warehousing gets darn cheap. Lets all start doing it! Lets never actually delete anything, just archive it to a different table. If its good enough for GMail, it should be good enough for our apps.
- Put your source control server on it, and check your continuous integration builds into revision control, and never have to worry about filling up the disk. Actually, scratch that one, I forgot about weblogic.jar being 17.5 GB by itself… Seriously though, this would make a great cross-department source control beast that would last for years.
- Give everyone huge shared and personal networked folders to work with. Turn off the quotas!
- Any application which is data heavy but CPU light and has separate application and database tiers could use this machine to host both tiers – no network traffic!
I’m interested to see what people do actually use it for. Such big advances can lead to interesting possibilities.