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Nexenta adds ZFS data deduplication to scale-out NAS systems

Sun/Oracle is back in the news this week because of the demise of the HDS partnership, leaving Oracle’s portfolio stocked mainly with Sun’s ZFS-based open storage products.

Meanwhile, one of the more interesting aspects of the Sun/Oracle enterprise data storage hardware business going forward is how much of it operates outside Sun’s control.

One example of this is a company called Nexenta, which develops Sun’s open-source file system independently. This week, Nexenta became the first commercial company to offer inline data deduplication developed for ZFS. Nexenta claims its software has more than 12,000 registered users.

What does it mean when someone else can take source code from a product now owned by Oracle to market before Oracle does? It’s a question that will become central, I think, as Oracle/Sun begin offering hardware products.

In the meantime, one service provider which has deployed 400 TB Nexenta’s version of ZFS says the price is right and the flexibility to modify the open-source code to the needs of customers was a key factor in picking the product over proprietary competitors.

However, according to Jeremy Miller, head of virtual private server operations for web hosting company Site5, he’s hoping to see Nexenta develop a graphical user interface (GUI) for deploying the plugins that give the system advanced features like failover and support for iSCSI. Nexenta has a GUI for day to day management, he said, but requires management of plugins through a command-line interface (CLI).

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