One recurring theme as I build servers is that I often want a configuration that's not available.
Sun are the worst culprit as, while they generally have excellent products, the actual range of configuration options is rather limited.
And one of the reasons I was interested in the X4150 in the first place was the ability to have 8 internal disk drives. For many things I would prefer internal storage, if I can get it.
So what is wrong with external storage? Well, it can be very expensive, because you need to get a chassis, maybe raid controllers, and HBAs, not to mention the extra rack space, power cords, cables, and having separate boxes to manage and monitor. And if all you want is a few hundred gig of space, then it's just not worth it.
So consolidate on a SAN, you say. Maybe, but SAN storage itself is rather expensive. For small amounts, the cost of HBAs and the fibre infrastructure can be prohibitive.
I've been attracted to iSCSI, but while it does actually work great, it's limited to low-bandwidth light-use scenarios. (I just have regular gigabit ethernet.)
So a solution where the storage can fit neatly in the server is very attractive. At the moment I have something that takes about 500G, but is likely to grow slightly. So I think I need about a terabyte, and it's got to be reasonably quick, faster than iSCSI anyway.
So looking at the X4150 I would probably do something like use the first 2 drives for the OS and use the upmarket raid card to create a raid-5 array across the other 6 drives. So that's 5 drives worth of data, or about 700G.
Close, but it's not quite close enough. It's just a little bit tight. It would be nice to have larger drives, but as Ben has discovered, larger capacity drives in the small (2.5") form factor just can't be had.
So if we have to go beyond that then we might go up to regular 3.5" drives (which gets you 15K rpm and 300G or 450G capacities), or you need more than 8 internal drives. In either case that implies a larger chassis. (Sun have an X4450 which is the big brother of the X4150, but that's identical as far as supported drives are concerned.)
Looking at what Sun have available, there really isn't anything. And no I don't want a thumper, not for this application anyway. (It's a shame that there aren't more variations on the thumper theme.)
Ho hum. Off to see if I can find something different. A Dell 2900 is a lumpy tower. What about a HP ProLiant DL580 G5? (The DL 320s might work, but the max memory is a little too small at a mere 8G.)
Anyone care to suggest alternative options? (Must run Solaris!)