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We have seen precious few systems as easy to set up as Oracle's ZFS storage appliance and equally few that have performed as well. "One thing we've noticed running on [one] gigabit networks is that we max out the network throughput long before we max out the ZFS storage [bandwidth]," said Cintra's Sheikh. According to Oracle's own performance benchmarks, the ZFS 7420 appliance delivered 10,703.69 SPC-2 MB/s and a price-performance of $35.24, placing it in the top 10, not only placing it ahead of IBM's DS8800 but also doing so while using half the number of hard disk drives.
Make no mistake: ZFS is not tiered storage; it's cached storage, giving it a flexibility that Sheikh says is not available with many other types of storage. "There's no need deal with hard-wired RAID design or go through a tiered data ILM strategy where you're looking to evolve your data hotspots between tiers." Those issues are managed by ZFS, which in the days of Sun Microsystems stood for the Zettabyte File System that was once part of Solaris.
"Oracle took the best of the ZFS file storage system from the open source days and married it with the latest generation of SSDs, RAM and spindles, bringing [them] together [in] a single virtual pool of storage," said Sheikh. The result, according to Sheikh, is flexibility. "For planning, design and implementation of a traditional enterprise-class NAS or SAN platform, you would give yourself a few weeks to get through a well thought-out design to make sure you're not getting into any design decisions that will tie your hands down the road. But, there's nothing in hard-wired into the ZFS configuration that can't be revisited later and modified."
While ZFS pricing depends on the number of size of drives and memory included, Sheikh says a typical configuration "comes in at the $100K mark, a significantly lower price point than [other] enterprise-class systems," and is a good fit in organizations too small to support a number of dedicated DBAs.
For its simple, GUI-driven setup and configuration, solid price-performance and world-class Oracle support behind it, the CRN Test Center recommends the ZFS Storage Appliance.