Behind the firewall 16

StorageTek for sale? ... Cisco still bypassing disk ... Iron Mountain or Sandy Slope? ... Centera's space issue.

Is Storage Technology Corp. (StorageTek) on the block? A lot of people seem to think so, and point to Sun Microsystems...

and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) as possible buyers. From cash-rich Sun's perspective (more than $7 billion in cash), the deal would equal a substantial increase in revenue (StorageTek had approximately $2.2 billion last year), plus another $1.3 billion in StorageTek cash, to say nothing of its installed base and professional services organization. Sun is also rumored to be organizing a plan to go private through a leveraged buyout of its outstanding shares, although company executives strongly deny this. The Hitachi deal is seen as having better synergy, however, because StorageTek and Hitachi each play heavily in the mainframe market.


Last month, EMC announced a smaller, four-node version of its Centera content-addressable storage system aimed, supposedly, at small- to medium-sized businesses. But according to an internal EMC source, the smaller Centera was originally conceived for e-mail archiving applications. It seems that because of the limited number of objects that the original Centera can hold, e-mail archiving users tend to run out of performance far sooner than they run out of space, resulting in a lot of wasted, expensive capacity.

Meanwhile, we hear StorageTek salespeople are none too pleased about Hewlett-Packard (HP) OEMing its SL500 midrange tape library, which HP will sell rebranded as the Enterprise Modular Library (EML) as a complement to its midrange Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVAs). HP and its 10,000 resellers will be able to sell EML into all of their accounts, with no compensation to StorageTek sales execs.

Speaking of HP's EVA, how did analysts react to the new models announced last month? "They're just biding their time," says one source. Biding their time until when? Until they can deliver a grid-based storage product that can play at the high end where it currently sells the XP array family. That won't happen until next year at the earliest, with 2007 a more realistic timeframe.

Who wants ONStor and its clustered NAS gateway software, Bobcat? Word on the street is that HP was looking at ONStor for a high-end NAS solution, but the deal went to PolyServe instead. Now we hear Cisco fancies ONStor, too. It's certainly Cisco's type--a small, technology-focused company--suggests one analyst. Whatever the case, ONStor will definitely need to strike a partnership with a major player if it's to survive.

Forget McData, forget EMC. These days, industry pundits think Brocade will be the target of acquisition by large, non-storage-focused companies such as AMCC, Ciena, Extreme Networks or even Huawei, the networking equipment manufacturer some call "the Chinese Cisco."

Cisco is still adamant that despite its recent deal with EMC to sell the company's NAS products, it isn't interested in getting into the disk business per se. According to Soni Jiandani, vice president and general manager of Cisco's switching and storage technologies group, the goal is to sell "solutions" into the data center that might include storage, security or something else, as long as the bundle includes a Cisco switch.

Dude, where's my truck? Losing a container of tapes is careless, but losing a truck of tapes is impossible, right? We heard that Iron Mountain (recently renamed Sandy Slope?) was merrily doing its rounds collecting tapes in New York City when the driver stopped to get a coffee. Latte in hand, he returned to the parking lot to find his truck gone. NOW how about that encryption stuff?

To set the record straight on BlueArc, we have reason to believe the startup might have some cash left after all. Three executives from BlueArc drove up to TechTarget's offices last week dressed to the nines in designer pinstripe suits, looking more like London bankers than high-performance NAS geeks.

Got dirt? Go ahead and send it to us at We solemnly swear not to reveal your name, or who you work for.
This was last published in June 2005

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