Sun fills holes in storage lineup

Sun Microsystems Inc. went to Wall Street to announce five new products including a rebranded version HDS' high-end array, TagmaStore.

Sun has added five new storage products to its price list as part of its quarterly product rollout, taking place in New York today, filling many holes the company had in its storage portfolio.

The event is taking place on Wall Street, not at Storage Decisions in Chicago, where many other companies went this week to make storage announcements. The decision to go to Wall Street was strategic, said Mark Canepa, Sun executive vice president, storage products: "Where Wall Street goes, so do a lot of other industries."

The new additions to Sun's storage roster are:

  • Sun StorEdge 9990, a rebranded version of Hitachi Data Systems' TagmaStore 9990, announced earlier this month. The array scales to 330TB, and offers native data services such as virtualization.
  • Sun StorEdge 6920, the successor to the StorEdge 6320, is designed to compete with EMC's Clariion CX700 and IBM's FAStT900. Shipping since June, the product scales to 65TB, and features a lot of technology Sun acquired from Pirus Networks, including a volume manager, point-in-time copy capabilities and advanced zoning capabilities.
  • Sun StorEdge Enterprise Content Management System, described by Canepa as a "data-sharing compliance box." The bundle includes Sun's 3511 SATA array, the SAM FS Storage Archival Manager and the QFS file system. Configured with WORM capabilities, ECMS is already shipping, and has some paying customers.
  • StorEdge 5210, "a high-end NAS box at low-end prices," Canepa said. The 5210 was benchmarked at 15,000 NFS operations per second, which Canepa claimed is on par with NetApp FAS940 filers, while being priced at NetApp FAS270 prices. The 5210 will begin shipping in approximately six weeks.
  • And finally, SAM FS 4.2, a 64-bit file system, and the basis of Sun's nascent lifecycle management capabilities. Because of the large addressing space a 64-bit file system provides, SAM FS is a natural in archiving environments, Canepa said, as "you don't have to break up the file system" to accommodate capacities beyond 10TBs. Furthermore, SAM FS supports an NFS API, allowing access to the file system by clients running generic file serving protocols.

On paper, Sun's storage products have all the functionality one might hope for from a high-end storage array. Jed Dobson is a systems architect for the Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College, and is actively using the virtualization capabilities provided by the 6920 array, including making mirrored copies of his boot disks.

The one major drawback of the system, Dobson said, is the lack of qualified arrays that you can virtualize behind the 6920. For example, mirroring is nice, but it'd be nice to be able to mirror to a Fibre-attached SATA array. "Qualification should definitely be a higher priority for Sun," he said.

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