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Sun makes another storage push; targets EMC

Sun sets its sights on the Unix market with new storage products. The competition claims Sun's storage line is more style than substance. But, Sun has a warning for EMC and others: Watch your backs.

Sun Microsystems Inc., has revamped its line of storage products with a combination of new, updated and existing technology, repackaged in an effort to offer its customers a more efficient way to manage and utilize their storage resources.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sun announced three compatible storage systems, four software suites, new services and a new partner plan at its annual analyst conference on Wednesday.

The products and partnerships are the result of investments, acquisitions and development efforts over the past three years, the company said.

The launch included new storage software offerings built on the Storage ONE (Open Net Environment) architecture including new file systems and four new software suites centered on availability, performance, utilization, and resource management.

Sun's competition was quick to respond to the product launch, stating that Sun has opted for a "style over substance" approach to storage.

EMC Corp., spokesperson Dave Farmer said the new products from Sun are nothing more than the re-branding of its T3 array and the software acquired from HighGround Systems Inc., LSC Inc., and RedCape Software Inc.

Sun fired back, stating that the re-branding of certain pieces of its storage line are only part of the over puzzle and are wrapped in new software and services.

On the system side Sun announced the Sun StorEdge 3900 and 6900 series, which are rack-mounted versions of the T3 storage array targeted at the midrange Unix market, as well as enhancements to the recently announced Sun StorEdge 9900 series for the high-end data center.

"We're leveraging the T3 as the building block of [these] storage systems," said Bill Groth director of enterprise storage product marketing for Sun Network Storage. He said the integrated services and centralized management wrapped around the T3 storage component are new to Sun storage systems.

Sun said it has sold more than 1,000T Bytes of T3-based storage.

Senior IT advisor and analyst for Nashua, N.H.-based Illuminata Inc., John Webster said the most notable part of Sun's new storage push is centered around the addition of QFS and SAM, which allow for parallel access to storage in a SAN. A feature, which he said is key to true data sharing in a storage network.

"If you have a SAN today all you are really doing is sharing the hardware and not sharing the data," said Webster.

Webster said Sun's QFS file system allows for data sharing access from any host to the file system, meaning you can share stored data between hosts running different operating systems.

QFS is a standard file system for Solaris environments that can be shared and is designed to solve file system performance bottlenecks by maximizing file system performance in conjunction with the underlying disk technology and storage hardware.

SAM-FS is a 64-bit Solaris file system and volume manager with integrated storage and archive management features.

QFS and SAM-FS incorporate file system management software acquired from LSC, Eagan, Minn., which supports data sharing in SANs and are complemented by storage resource management (SRM) software born of last year's acquisition of HighGround Systems, Marlborough, Mass.

Sun claims its new StorEdge QFS and SAM-FS file systems can scale to more than 512T Bytes of capacity while traditional file systems max out at 1T Byte.

Sun said it is concentrating its efforts around going into customer environments and winning the storage business first. This allows Sun entry into accounts where it can then selling its servers, as opposed to its traditional practice of storage being a secondary sale to its Solaris servers.

While optimizing storage products for the Solaris operating platform is Sun's main focus it said its storage software is designed to work with its own arrays as well as competitors' hardware.

Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, assistant news editor


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