Being able to boot a machine from SAN isn’t exactly a new concept. Instead of having local hard drives in thousands of machines, each machine logs into the fabric and boots the O/S from a LUN exported via fiber on the SAN. This requires a little bit of configuration on the Fiber HBA, but it has the advantage of no longer dealing with local disk failure.
If you have a capable NIC, you can achieve the same results of “boot from SAN” as fiber, but without the additional costs of an expensive fiber SAN network. Think of the possibilities here —
Implement a new AmberRoad Sun Storage 7000 series NAS device like the 7410 exporting hundreds iSCSI targets for each of your machines, implement ZFS Volumes on the backend, and leverage the capability of ZFS snapshots, clones, etc with your iSCSI root file system volumes for your machines. Even if your “client” machine mounts a UFS root filesystem over iSCSI, the backend would be a ZFS volume.
Want to provision 1000 machines in a day? Build one box, ZFS snapshot/clone the volume, and create 1000 iSCSI targets. Now the only work comes in configuring the OpenSolaris iSNS server with initiator/target parings. Instant O/S provisioning from a centrally managed location.
Implement two Sun Storage 7410 with clustering, and now you have a HA solution to all O/Ses running in your datacenter.
This is some pretty cool technology. Now, you have only one machine to replace disk failures at, instead of thousands, at a fraction of the cost it would take to implement this on Fabric! Once this technology works out the kinks and becomes stable, this could be the future of server provisioning and management.