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Sun tries to lure back storage customers

Sun is set to debut a new line of workgroup storage products aimed at putting Solaris users back onto Sun storage -- an area, according to one analyst, that Sun has let slip away.

Sun is on a mission to bring its Solaris customers back into the fold. The company will announce Wednesday a new line of storage systems for small to medium-sized businesses.

The first new product available from the Sun StorEdge 3300 series will be the StorEdge 3310, a 2U-high SCSI array. It will go on the market in mid-October.

Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst of Enterprise Storage Group Inc., said that, on paper, the new 3300 series product family appears to be what Solaris users want, giving Sun a viable play back into that space.

"Sun has let Compaq take too much of its captive storage market for too long," Duplessie said. "This new set of products is aimed to stop that.

"Let's face it. If a user can buy storage from the same person as their server, at the same time, supported the same way, they most likely will."

The StorEdge 3300 series is meant for use underneath the Unix-based Sun StorEdge 9900, 6900 and 3900 series arrays. It is designed to work with Sun's volume server line, which includes the LX50, V120, 280R, V480 and V880, and it is open to heterogeneous environments.

The Sun StorEdge 3310 array includes remote management services software and support for the Linux, Windows NT and Windows 2000 operating systems, as well as the Solaris operating environment.

Bill Groth, director of product marketing for the company's storage systems, said that the goal is to piggyback Sun's success in server technology by providing storage that hooks into enterprise infrastructures like Sun's own N1 architecture.

Last week, Sun made public its plans to acquire Pirus Networks Inc., a start-up that develops storage networking hardware for distributed open systems environments. With the acquisition, Sun said it will be able to deliver one of the critical components of its N1 architecture.

Announced earlier this year, N1 is Sun's initiative to virtualize much of its computing offerings through dynamic allocation and re-allocation of resources between services. N1 virtualizes the storage, the network, the CPU and memory resources; provisions the software stack on top of the virtualized resources by automatically installing and configuring the software elements necessary to deliver a service; and dynamically allocates the resources required to maintain a consistent service level, the company said.

"There are a lot of new applications being deployed in small and medium-sized businesses, and the data growth, from a capacity perspective, is phenomenal," Groth said.

He added that the 3300 series systems come with Sun Pro Storage Manager, a drag-and-drop, Java-based tool for configuration and management of up to 20 storage arrays.

"A lot of these companies do not have sophisticated IT staffs, let alone trained storage professionals," he said.

The 3300 series and its management software support SNMP for integration into other frameworks, the company said, as well as a CIM interface so that the systems can be managed by external storage network manager and SAN management tools.

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer


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