Re: In many ways...
Sun managed to pull defeat from the jaws of victory.
They had a range of good building blocks to assemble a storage system from:
- Decent x86 hardware.
- Solaris OS
- ZFS (which already has block checksums so de-dupe is easier)
All they needed to do was wrap that lot up in to a managed system. They did, and on paper it was great as it offered a range of features such as NFS, CIFS, snapshots, etc, without usurious extra-cost licenses so loved by NetApp users.
Unfortunately the system they came up (Open Storage) with was fatally flawed in a number of ways. The first and most stunningly dumb one is they did not use main-stream Solaris or ZFS, but oddly modified ones that made support and so on much harder and bug-fixes are not automatic or back-ported with any sense of urgency. Similarly they decided to have binary logs, rather than text-mode syslog style, so you as a user can't grep them for errors, etc.
The other was the main supervisory process appears to be single-threaded as it blocks on any error. Yes folks, if you have a fault more or less anywhere in the system, then SNMP and the user interface also blocks for ages, sometimes minutes, so you can't easily find out what is going wrong!
It should have been world-beating, but it was too little polish and too late to save Sun, and Oracle then managed to screw up the support quality even further and allow any opportunity to win in the storage sales area die, which is an achievement in itself :(