Startup Camp: Sun CEO Schwartz Hints At Amazon-Related ZFS AnnouncementStartup Camp: Sun CEO Schwartz Hints At Amazon-Related ZFS Announcement
Here at <a href="http://www.startupcamp.org">Startup Camp</a> in San Francisco today, during his keynote presentation, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz hinted at a major Sun-Amazon announcement that the two companies will be making tomorrow on the eve of the company's annual developer confab: JavaOne. What exactly that announcement will be was unclear, but Schwartz dropped several hints, one of which had to do with...
May 4, 2008
Here at Startup Camp in San Francisco today, during his keynote presentation, Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz hinted at a major Sun-Amazon announcement that the two companies will be making tomorrow on the eve of the company's annual developer confab: JavaOne. What exactly that announcement will be was unclear, but Schwartz dropped several hints, one of which had to do with......Sun's ZFS file system technology. Prior to hinting at the deal, Schwartz made it clear that a good part of Sun's future will be dedicated to data centers that drive the idea of computing in the cloud.
Amazon is no stranger to cloud-based computing. The company's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is one of the more innovative entries into the market that gives companies that need Intel-based server hosting a way to provision and deprovision servers on the fly, only paying for what they need (as opposed to signing an annual contract with a server hosting outfit). Last year, I taped a whiteboard video where I did the math that proved that even after a year of hosting with EC2, Amazon's pricing was incredibly competitive with similar hosting options on the market. To drive that offering, Amazon runs some huge data centers globally; a fact that makes Amazon a perfect target for Sun to partner with if, as Schwartz says, the goal is to help power the world's data centers. It's one thing to launch an instance of an Intel server on Amazon's EC2. But it's another to manage it. For example, to manage fault-tolerance, back-ups, and restorations. One of the advantages of ZFS, according to Schwartz's presentation on stage today, is how easy it is to manage the rolling back and rolling forward of an entire file system: the sort of thing that an EC2-powered "Intel server" can't do out of "the box" (I know, it's not really a box). This ability to roll forward or roll back is often based on the idea of "snapshots," where you can very easily take a snapshot of the entire file system at some moment in time, and then, at anytime, restart the server from that snapshot. Snapshots are often found as a feature in the various virtual machine offerings on the marketplace (e.g., VMware's). When you launch a server on Amazon's EC2, you're actually not launching a physical box, but rather, a virtual machine (my understanding is that it's based on XEN's VM technology). So, you can sort of see the puzzle pieces fitting together here. Although Schwartz was somewhat coy about the announcement with Amazon that he was alluding to, if I had to take a guess, it sounds like ZFS and all the great features that go with it will soon become a feature of Amazon's EC2 service (or, at least certain "canned implementations" of it). In addition, there was some allusion to developer-oriented tools that might aid in the implementation of MySQL databases on the Amazon infrastructure. But Schwartz barely hinted at that. I guess we'll know more tomorrow.
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