Hybrid storage pools are the new coolest thing in ZFS land and are being pushed commercially with the recent release of Sun’s 7000 series open storage. For various reasons, Sun has only added a supported SSD option to the X4540 Thor systems. This unfortunately doesn’t help those of us wanting to extend our X4500 Thumper investments and get in on the SSD performance action. I’m fairly certain you could buy Sun’s Thor solution and use it in your Thumper, but I for one wasn’t impressed with the price.

Fortunately there is a simple, relatively inexpensive way to use SSD drives with your Thumper. Here’s what you need:

You’ll also want a spare X4500 drive bracket unless you’re willing to use a bracket from the drive(s) you have to pull out. Insert your Intel X25-E SSD into the Icy Dock, attach the Icy Dock to the X4500 bracket like any 3.5″ drive, and insert the result into your Thumper. Voila. The Icy Dock bay is well constructed despite being plastic (I would prefer it was made out of aluminum). Also, $20 for a hunk of plastic and a converter isn’t ideal, but those of you that would suggest duct tape have no sense of aesthetics.

In my case, I swapped out two 1TB drives for two 32GB Intel X25-E SSDs. I then partitioned the SSDs into two slices, one for mirrored system disks and the other for ZIL. They show up and work just fine:

platform = Sun Fire X4500

Device    Serial        Vendor   Model             Rev  Temperature     
------    ------        ------   -----             ---- -----------     
c0t0d0p0  E002PAJTBX4E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 28 C (82 F)
c0t1d0p0  E002PAJTBWTE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 30 C (86 F)
c0t2d0p0  F002PAJSY2AF  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 33 C (91 F)
c0t3d0p0  F002PAJSV5BF  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 35 C (95 F)
c0t4d0p0  E002PAJTBX1E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 28 C (82 F)
c0t5d0p0  E002PAJTBWME  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 32 C (89 F)
c0t6d0p0  F002PAJS156F  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 34 C (93 F)
c0t7d0p0  F002PAJSW14F  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 35 C (95 F)
c1t0d0p0  E002PAJT4VLE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 29 C (84 F)
c1t1d0p0  E002PAJTBWWE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 32 C (89 F)
c1t2d0p0  F002PAJSZP2F  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 33 C (91 F)
c1t3d0p0  E002PAJT5BUE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 35 C (95 F)
c1t4d0p0  E002PAJTBX7E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 28 C (82 F)
c1t5d0p0  E002PAJTBX3E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 31 C (87 F)
c1t6d0p0  F002PAJS1DEF  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 33 C (91 F)
c1t7d0p0  E002PAJT541E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 35 C (95 F)
c5t0d0p0  E002PAJTA8WE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 28 C (82 F)
c5t1d0p0  E002PAJTAJ0E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 31 C (87 F)
c5t2d0p0  E002PAJT50KE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 33 C (91 F)
c5t3d0p0  E002PAJTB9LE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 35 C (95 F)
c5t4d0p0  E002PAJTAGME  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 28 C (82 F)
c5t5d0p0  E002PAJT58JE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 31 C (87 F)
c5t6d0p0  E002PAJT52TE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 34 C (93 F)
c5t7d0p0  E002PAJT4UNE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 35 C (95 F)
c6t0d0p0  140067032HGN  ATA      SSDSA2SH032G1GN   8850 255 C (491 F)
c6t1d0p0  E002PAJTAJ6E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 30 C (86 F)
c6t2d0p0  F002PAJSZNEF  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 33 C (91 F)
c6t3d0p0  E002PAJTBH7E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 35 C (95 F)
c6t4d0p0  1400CB032HGN  ATA      SSDSA2SH032G1GN   8850 255 C (491 F)
c6t5d0p0  E002PAJT120E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 30 C (86 F)
c6t6d0p0  F002PAJS79AF  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 32 C (89 F)
c6t7d0p0  E002PAJT5UZE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 34 C (93 F)
c7t0d0p0  E002PAJTBVJE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 29 C (84 F)
c7t1d0p0  E002PAJTAJ3E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 31 C (87 F)
c7t2d0p0  E002PAJT53ME  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 33 C (91 F)
c7t3d0p0  F002PAJSZNDF  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 34 C (93 F)
c7t4d0p0  E002PAJTBL8E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 27 C (80 F)
c7t5d0p0  E002PAJTAK4E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 31 C (87 F)
c7t6d0p0  F002PAJS56AF  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 32 C (89 F)
c7t7d0p0  F002PAJSAW1F  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 35 C (95 F)
c8t0d0p0  E002PAJTAHTE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 28 C (82 F)
c8t1d0p0  E002PAJSRR8E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 31 C (87 F)
c8t2d0p0  F002PAJT7YAF  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 33 C (91 F)
c8t3d0p0  E002PAJT4W9E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 35 C (95 F)
c8t4d0p0  E002PAJT583E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 28 C (82 F)
c8t5d0p0  E002PAJTAG8E  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 31 C (87 F)
c8t6d0p0  E002PAJTBATE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 33 C (91 F)
c8t7d0p0  E002PAJT52UE  ATA      HITACHI HUA7210S  A90A 34 C (93 F)

Updated: 2010/04/02

The high temperature shown for the SSDs is simply due to Sun’s hd utility not comprehending the return values properly. This is probably due to non-Sun firmware or lack of SSD specific awareness but it does not affect operation. There have been other reports of problems with FMA marking the drives as faulty (which may or may not bother you), but the most recent Intel firmware seems to have resolved this. I have been running these SSDs in two X4500s for nearly a year with no problems.