I know I should not be surprised by the recent unbelievable 5x / 10x claims comparing Oracle’s Sun ZFS Storage Appliance with EMC and other vendors “legacy” products, but they really were not comparing similar purpose products to their own.
I firmly believe EMC prides itself on providing informed customer choice and a breadth of products to most often exceed customer requirements. With that in mind, the right way for technical people like us to respond to this form of old-style marketing is to either present our strengths and leave the customer to decide, or preferably become sufficiently familiar with Oracle’s competing products to be fair and compare them with our own, ensuring the right questions are being asked of both our competitors and our own specialists to the benefit of our customers.
Having recently come across references on EMC Support and ECN describing VNX, Isilon and XtremIO Simulators available for download, I began to think how cool it would be if Oracle had a simulator for their ZFS appliance that everyone can use for testing and after a quick search on Google, below is an introduction to what I found.
You must be registered with an account on Oracle’s Technology Network (OTN) and then perform the following steps to download, install and configure the Sun ZFS Storage Appliance Simulator.
Hardware requirements for the Oracle VM are a healthy 2GB RAM, 1 CPU and 125GB HD space, this is a storage simulator with a 50GB system disk and 15 x 5GB disks for testing purposes. In the GUI provided, you actually get a view of the storage array and can click on individual disks for information.
Follow these steps to get the Oracle ZFS Storage Simulator:
1. Install and start VirtualBox 3.1.4 or later.
2. Download the simulator and uncompress the archive file.
3. Select "File - Import Appliance" in VirtualBox or simply double-click the file Oracle_ZFS_Storage.ovf
4. Select the VM labeled "Oracle_ZFS_Storage” and check the Network: Adapter 1, I had to change this to “Bridged Adapter”.
5. Start the VM.
When the simulator initially boots you will be prompted for some basic network settings, this apparently is exactly the same as if you were using an actual Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance;
• Host Name: oraclezfs1
• DNS Domain: "localdomain"
• Host IP Address: 192.168.0.101
• Netmask: 255.255.255.0
• Default Router: 192.168.0.1
• DNS Server: 192.168.0.1
• Password: @@@@@@@@
• Password: @@@@@@@@
After you enter this information, press ESC-1, then wait and you will see two URLs to use for subsequent configuration and administration, one with an IP address and one with the hostname you specified.
Use the URL with the IP address (for example https://192.168.0.101:215/) to complete appliance configuration.
The login name is 'root' and the password is what you entered as @@@@@@@@ above.
It is best now to download the Oracle ZFS Storage Appliance Simulator Quick Start Guide and starting on page 5, follow the steps to confirm the settings screens, check the values entered and click COMMIT to continue.
Page 14 gives an Example Filesystem Setup, with further information available in the Product Documentation;
With this simulator, you can get a feel for the GUI and storage features available in a Sun ZFS Storage Appliance, and have a better-informed conversation with our customers about the features and functionality available.