More storage desires

I’ve written before about what a ZFS-based storage appliance might look like. I think I’ve glimpsed a first step in that direction. Yesterday, by chance, I came across Norco’s recently-announced DS-520, a build-your-own barebones storage server. You provide the operating system, disks, and RAM. I hadn’t seen such an open, x86-based platform in that form factor before, so naturally my mind wandered towards OpenSolaris.

My first concern was the chipset compatibility. Norco emailed me back quite promptly saying that the Marvell 88sx6081 was the SATA chipset they used. Cool. That’s what goes into the Thumper, so Solaris support seems trivial, at least for the one component that might cause the most trouble.

It sounds like the makings of a very nice home-server platform:

  • $729 for the 1GHz / 2×GigE unit
  • add 1 GB RAM,
  • a fast CF card for the OS, and
  • five 750GB disks (looks like they’re on the right side of the price/capacity “knee” now), topped off with
  • OpenSolaris stripped down to a fairly minimal set

Not cheap, or trivially easy at this point, but it could make for an interesting project, and a great piece of kit to sit on the shelf.