A Revolution that Fits in a Trunk [10]

A Revolution that Fits in a Trunk [10].

That’s a 24 terabyte (!) “Thumper” (Sun X4500)
in my trunk under the golf clubs. Jason, Matt and I wandered around Sun
yesterday with Jeff Bonwick and Bill Moore of the Sun ZFS team hunting
for “Thumpers”. We really, really wanted to use this new server/storage
product from Sun as the foundation for some new products Joyent is
rolling out to customers. Unfortunately, while the product was
announced on July 14th, Bastille Day, we’ve been told it won’t be
available until September, and then in limited quantity.

O’Reilly called the “Thumper” ”…the Web 2.0 server”. I think the
basis for that assertion is along the lines of my idea (I’m not
claiming attribution) that companies want to be like Google (from an
infrastructure standpoint). In Sun’s announcement, Tim makes the argument:

calls Google the prototypical Web 2.0 service, but notes that the
company “did it the hard way – they have kind of rolled their own.”
Many companies now emulate the Google model, yet they “don’t want to
roll their own, or grow [their infrastructure] from the ground up.”

I agree with that assessment. It’s the subject of my earlier post Sunshine.

brings me back to our peregrinations around Building 12 at Sun with
Jeff and Bill. If Bastille Day was about storming a prison, our Thumper
Day yesterday was about storming for product. Jeff and Matt knew we
wanted to use “Thumper” and they broke through the typical barriers to
entry for Joyent so that we could use “Thumper”. Jeff has bottles of
open Advil on his desk a result of all the phone calls he’s been making
over the last few days looking for a system Joyent could use. It was
fun to listen to Bill barter boxes of AMD Opteron chips for a system.
(Sidenote: I think there’s enough equipment sitting in the halls of Sun
to standup Joyent’s own data-center down by the river. Think
battlefield hospital with all the wounded in the hall waiting for
triage.) There was even an encounter with a Scotsman in charge of one
of the many inventory pools claiming “dars nothing ay con dew”. We
wandered looking for “Thumpers” but were coming up empty handed. As we
began to walk down the stairs, I looked up the stairwell to the top

“There’s some more boxes up there,” I said. The
expedition paused, not wanting to believe. However, Bill still
believed. “That looks like Thumper boxes,” said Bill. Now all eyes
looked up as the evening sun began to set in the western sky. “Those
are, those ARE Thumper boxes,” said Jeff. We leap up the stairs like we
weren’t geeks.

I don’t want to forget to mention the “owner”
of the “Thumpers”. Just before we looked up to see the boxes above, we
ran into a guy on the stairs. He asked if we were looking for
“Thumpers”…just from the look on our faces. “Dear Friends, are you
looking for Thumpers?” or “I don’t know why you seek Thumpers amongst
the dead.” I don’t exactly remember what he said, but the next thing I
knew, we were all looking up and there were “Thumpers”. And when we’d
picked the “Thumper” we wanted to take home, from the man’s own
shipment of “Thumpers” for his own work, this guardian angel brought us
a hand-truck, and helped us out of the building, while the guards
slept, as they say.

Only to be met by the Scotsman. Who chuckled to himself. Poor entrepreneurs!  [Joyeur]

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