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Sun StorEdge Storage Products

Sun manufactures a wide variety of storage arrays and enclosures. Almost all of these products now fall under the StorEdge product line, including old standbys such as the UniPack and MultiPack. I have seen a lot of confusion regarding the capacities and capabilities of the various products, so this document will attempt to draw together all of the relevant stats of each product. Hopefully this will allow people to make informed decisions about which StorEdge product is right for their needs.

StorEdge MultiPack

Sun StorEdge 

The StorEdge MultiPack is a deskside enclosure available in both SCSI and Fibre Channel options. Although intended to be used for increased storage on desktop systems, I have seen many servers utilizing MultiPacks as low-cost JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks) enclosures. Relevant features of the MultiPack include:

  • 6 disk capacity (Minimum of 2 disks)
  • Support for 18GB or 36GB UltraSCSI disks (SCA-2)
  • All disks hot-swappable
  • SCSI or Fibre Channel models available
  • Software-based RAID using Solstice DiskSuite or Veritas Volume Manager

StorEdge D1000

The StorEdge D1000 is a cornerstone of the StorEdge line. Designed as a JBOD (Just a Bunch of Disks) enclosure, the D1000 can be used as a standalone enclosure or used as a disk tray for other StorEdge array controllers. The D1000 can be configured for a single host which sees all of the disks, or for two hosts which each see half of the disks. RAID capabilities are software based, utilizing DiskSuite or Volume Manager. Relevant features of the D1000 include:

  • 4U sized enclosure
  • 12 disk capacity
  • Support for 18GB or 36GB UltraSCSI disks
  • All disks hot-swappable
  • 2 hot-swappable power supplies
  • Differential UltraSCSI connection to host(s)
  • Single and dual channel backplane
  • Software based RAID

StorEdge A1000

The StorEdge A1000 is very similar to the D1000, except that it offers a hardware-based RAID solution as opposed to the D1000's software RAID. The A1000 can be attached to 2 hosts to support clustered configurations. Up to 10 A1000s can be daisy-chained together for single host configurations, although Sun does not recommend daisy-chaining more than 3 units for optimal performance. Relevant features of the A1000 include:

Sun StorEdge A1000 
  • 4U sized enclosure
  • 12 disk capacity
  • Support for 18GB or 36GB UltraSCSI disks
  • All disks hot-swappable
  • 2 hot-swappable power supplies
  • Differential UltraSCSI connection to host(s)
  • Single and dual channel backplane
  • Hardware based RAID
  • Sun Raid Manager 6.x Software
  • 24MB (standard) to 80MB (maximum) cache
  • Battery backup for cache, up to 72 hours

Note: There is some confusion regarding the A1000's dual SCSI ports. The A1000 can only be attached to two systems in a clustered environment and even then the unit can only be accessed by one system at a time! An A1000 is generally only intended to be attached to a single host. The second SCSI port is for the use of daisy-chaining additional A1000 units. Note that the A1000's SCSI chain must be terminated.

Sun Netra st A1000 

Netra st A1000/D1000

The Netra st A1000/D1000 units are functionally identical to their regular StorEdge counterparts, however, they are classified as carrier-grade for telco central office use. Basically, this means they are certified to withstand certain magnitude earthquakes and that they are immune to certain levels of ESD (electrostatic discharge) and EMI (electromagnetic interference). Finally, they are also offered in a DC power option.

Netra st D130

Sun Netra st D130

The Netra st D130 is a small (1U) enclosure designed to add additional capacity to rack-mount servers while effectively utilizing rack space. Relevant features of the D130 include:

  • 1U form factor
  • Front and back LEDs
  • 3 hot swappable disks
  • 18GB/10K RPM or 36GB/10K RPM disks
  • Single-ended UltraSCSI, can be connected to on-board SCSI ports
  • AC or DC power options

StorEdge A3500/A3500FC

Sun StorEdge A3500 
Array in StorEdge Cabinet

The StorEdge A3500/A3500FC is slightly different than the other StorEdge offerings. The A3500 series is simply a hardware RAID controller in either UltraSCSI (A3500) or Fibre Channel Arbitrated Loop (A3500FC) configurations. The A3500 series utilizes D1000 enclosures as drive trays. The maximum number of disks supported by an A3500 varies depending on the number of A3500 controllers and D1000 disk trays in the array. Relevant features of the A3500/A3500FC include:

  • 3 different disk capacities:
    • 60 disks: 1 A3500/A3500FC controller, 5 D1000 disk trays
    • 84 disks: 2 A3500/A3500FC controllers, 7 D1000 disk trays
    • 180 disks: 3 A3500/A3500FC controllers, 15 D1000 disk trays
  • Dual Differential UltraSCSI interfaces (A3500)
  • Dual Fibre Channel interfaces (A3500FC)
  • 5 internal Differential UltraSCSI channels
  • 2 hot-swappable power supplies
  • Hardware-based RAID on dual active controllers
  • 128MB (up to 256MB) read/write cache on A3500
  • 256MB read/write cache on A3500FC
  • RAID Manager 6.x software for configuration of the RAID controllers

StorEdge A5X00 Series (A5100/A5200)

The StorEdge A5X00 series consists of two models, the A5100 and the A5200. The A5X00 used to be known as the Sun Enterprise Network Array. They are also frequently known by their internal code name, the Photon. The A5X00 series is a Fibre Channel based JBOD enclosure which utilizes software-based RAID (Sun Enterprise Volume Manager (SEVM), more commonly known as Veritas Volume Manager). Relevant features of the A5100/A5200 include:

Sun StorEdge A5X00 
  • Dual Fibre Channel (FC-AL) interfaces
  • 14 (A5100) or 22 (A5200) disk capacity
    • 36GB/10K RPM Fibre Channel (FC-SCA-2) disks (A5100)
    • 9.1GB/18.2GB 10K RPM Fibre Channel (FC-SCA-2) disks (A5200)
  • 3 hot-swappable power supplies
  • Software-based RAID using Sun Enterprise Volume Manager (Veritas Volume Manager)

StorEdge T3

The StorEdge T3 series is a relatively new product line from Sun. Designed to be scalable from the workgroup to a large SAN, the T3 is unique in that it is capable of being attached to many host platforms other than Solaris. At its very basic level the T3 consists of a single tray which supports hardware based RAID on 9 Fibre Channel disks. Relevant features of the T3 include:

Sun StorEdge T3 
Enterprise Array
  • Dual back-end Fibre Channel (FC-AL) drive loops
  • Tray capacities:
    • 18GB/36GB/73GB 10K RPM Fibre Channel (FC-SCA-2) disks
    • 9 disk capacity
    • 2 redundant hot-swappable power supplies/cooling units
    • 1 RAID Controller card with 256MB of battery backed cache
    • 2 Interconnect cards (used to daisy-chain other T3's as well as close the FC-AL internal loops
    • 1 Interconnect cable
  • Multiple host system support, including Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, and Linux
  • StorEdge Component Manager software for management, configuration, and health monitoring
  • Dedicated RJ-45 Network Port for management
  • RS-232 Serial Port for advanced diagnostics and administration

Configurations of the T3 vary from a single tray workgroup array through a 2 tray enterprise solution all the way up to a massive 169TB SAN (8 trays of 9 73GB drives per 72' cabinet, 32 cabinets maximum per server). Large configurations are supported using redundant StorEdge FC-AL hubs or switches.

The 2 tray enterprise array provides for a fully redundant solution with a total of 18 drives, 4 power supply/cooling units, 4 interconnect cards, 2 interconnect cables, and 2 RAID controller cards with mirrored 256MB of battery-backed cache.


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