Sun banks its future on storage integration

In post-acquisition mode, the vendor is looking to up the ante in the network-attached storage, storage software, and tape markets.

SINGAPORE--Sun Microsystems is building up its intellectual property in three key storage areas in a bid to provide a more integrated offering than its competitors, said a senior company executive.

At a press briefing held here last week, Chris Wood, chief technology officer of Sun's storage and data management practice division, told reporters that Sun will be beefing up the disk storage, tape and storage software technologies garnered from past company acquisitions, including those of StorageTek.

Sun is leveraging its expertise as a systems company to address customer requirements in the storage space, he said, pointing out that the company owns "the infrastructure, the storage devices, and all the pieces tied together".

Within the disk storage space, one should expect to see Sun coming up with more network-attached storage (NAS) products catering to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

"We're re-entering with a vengeance, the NAS space. We're making sure our products don't get viruses and malignancy coming in. (Companies) don't want that stuff in their corporate data," he said. Sun, he added, sees "tremendous opportunity in the SMB space".

Sun entered the NAS business about a year ago when it acquired Procom, a provider of NAS storage operating system software. Procom touted complete interoperability with Microsoft software, particularly the file system protocol known as Common Internet File System (CIFS) as well as Microsoft's Active Directory.

Sun made headlines when signed a historic technology and cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft in April to improve the interoperability of their products.

One technology that is key to Sun's storage software strategy is its Storage Archive Manager - File System (SAM-FS), a file system and data management piece, said Wood. SAM-FS was developed from Sun's acquisition of LSC Software five years ago.

The SAM-FS software has its origins from hierarchical storage management (HSM) software in the high-performance computing world, and helps users to automatically manage and backup data by integrating policies into the storage system, Wood explained. "You don't have to administer the data, the system is going to administer the data," he said.

Sun has also updated its tape products, post the StorageTek acquisition. According to Antoine Hue, information lifecycle management (ILM) solutions manager for Sun Asia-Pacific and Latin America, the next-generation T10000 enterprise tape drive comes with a throughput of 120MB per second and 500GB capacity.

Sun has also increased the scale and availability of its enterprise tape libraries, said Hue. Redundant robotic arms and service safety doors in its L8500 enterprise tape library are expected to be available by the end of the year.

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