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Review: Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System – Part IV

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This is the last in a four-part series of posts on the Sun Storage 7000 USS storage arrays.  Previous posts in this series can be found here:

Review: Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System – Part I

Review: Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System – Part II

Review: Sun Storage 7000 Unified Storage System – Part III

Previous posts have discussed the physical hardware and what you can do with it.  Sun also do a simulator version of the 7000 series array, which can be used to evaluate the technology.  The Simulator is available for both VirtualBox and VMware.  I chose the VMware version and deployed it on VMware Fusion on my MacBook.


The installation process is remarkably simple.  Download and unzip the simulator (link here) and for Fusion, simply use File -> Open to open the file “SunStorage.vmwarevm”.  The configuration process then asks for some simple details – IP address, default gateway, password and so on.  Once this is complete, the simulator starts up and can be accessed via the standard web interface on port 215.  I’ve included a few screenshots at the end of this post that highlight the configuration process.


Once logged into the simulator, a disclaimer is presented to the user indicating that this deployment isn’t for production usage or performance measurement. This is pretty obvious; the simulator shows functionally how things work but will never provide the same performance as a dedicated device.

The simulator provides 15x 2GB drives, which although not ‘real’ are more than enough to do evaluation with.  As far as I can tell, the simulator appears to be fully functional.


Sun have provided a simulator package that appears to pretty much mirror a real USS 7000 array.  Having a fully functional system like this enables new users to gain confidence with it; although not much training is needed, making the mistakes on a simulator is much more preferable to making them on the real thing.  In addition, it’s easy for any potential purchaser to get a real feel for how easy configuring the 7000 Series can be.

The 7000 simulator is probably equal or better than the Netapp simulator, which I’ve raved (and probably ranted) about many times.  It’s a shame that Netapp don’t choose to make their simulator open to all users, but that’s another discussion entirely.  The Sun 7000 simulator simply rounds out what to me is a great product, offering storage and simplicity in a single device.

Disclaimer: Sun Microsystems provided a USS 7000 series array on loan in order for me to evaluate this technology.  The unit has since been returned.  I have not been paid by Sun to write this series of posts or received any other benefit or inducement of any kind from Sun Microsystems.


About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
  • CraigM

    Actually, “virtual appliance” is probably more accurate than “simulator” … the reason it seems to most accurately mirror the operation of the S7000 physical appliances is that it is the complete software load of one of those devices, but the underlying hardware that it discovers to operate on (and the hardware it enumerates for fault diagnosis) is a simulated architecture description.

    The only feature of the appliance which cannot be effectively explored in this image is the clustering capability, that is present, but only automatically enabled by detection of the dedicated cluster card … which has not been described in the VM image.

    Otherwise, this is functionally 100% a S7000, it is even viable to develop, test, certify workflows and scripts against the system and even replicate to/from real S7000 appliances (for test purposes!).

    Carry a S7000 on your laptop wherever you go … we do!


  • CraigM

    PS. Forgot to say that its also viable to take the VM based S7000 simulator and apply the released software updates (new releases available from sun.com) to it, to follow the curve of S7000 developments, its behaviour will mimic that of the hardware S7000 (within the bounds/caveats outlined, ie. performance, etc), try that with a normal “simulator”!

    Just take into account the virtualised image might need some increased VM resources (CPU/memory) on a desktop/laptop to run thru complete systems upgrades.

  • Burana

    Thanks, for this review.

    I can confirm everything you said in this review. The S7000 systems (and especially the S7140 systems we own) are remarkably good products.

    We had to replace our aging NetApp Filers and did a Try&Buy on these new systems, to see if they hold the promises. Our opinion is: It is one of the best products Sun has ever build.

    We have migrated almost all of the data from the old NetApp system, and the performance is great. If we also look at the investment and running costs, there is nothing out there that comes close…

    The great NFS performance which is achieved with Sun’s own FAST :-) (Hybrid Storage Pool), will certainly help us moving away from the cumbersome EMC DMX-3 systems we still run and no-one really likes.

    Now that we can run our most demanding workload on low-cost boxes, it would be anyway difficult to argument with my management, why we should replace the already too expensive DMX-3 systems with V-MAX, and not on a proven alternative ;-)

  • Chris C.

    I came across your website (and your article) while I was doing research on the 7000 simulator. My question is do you think it would be possible to run the 7000 image as a full-fledged backup “device” for my personal use? For example, install the image in VirtualBox on pretty much a dedicated box, and be able to allocate additional drives to it?

  • Chris Evans


    So you’re saying I could use the simulator (or virtual appliance) to validate my code upgrades?


  • CraigM

    Yes, you are upgrading the same codebase … the only obvious issues are that the physical appliance has a significant amount of CPU horsepower to bring the bear which generally most VMs can’t muster. Hence you may run into some issues which are basically due to resource issues, memory, CPU, etc. I tend to run the VM with the standard 1Gb memory for instance, ideal for day-to-day duty on my laptop with another VM running for AD, client, etc, but before an upgrade I’d typically allocate an extra 1Gb or RAM and maybe another core temporarily and then drop them back after a successful upgrade.

    The codebase is consistent (and a single image) for all released products and the “virtual appliance” … there is only one image available from Sun, covering VM, 7110, 7210, 7310 (7310C), 7410 (7410C) ;-)



  • Chris Evans

    Craig, nice. I may open a training school just for this product as I could run it all from ESXi!


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