Sun Nears Bottom of the Storage Pool

Sun Microsystems says it is working hard to shake its high-price reputation with its upcoming release of its StorEdge 3300 Series products.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based networking giant is expected to take the wraps off of the data storage products on October 15 at its Net@Work 2002 Partner Forum show in Florida.

“Storage is a big push for Sun,” said Sun Storage Product Manager Steve Guzowski. “What we’re doing is bringing enterprise features to the workgroup. We are also expanding our markets and finding ourselves going into customer sites where we had not gone before.”

The series fits into Sun’s new N1 distributed computing architecture and features hot swapping, scalability from gigabytes to terabytes, and durability to meet full NEBS level 3 compliance specifications. Sun said the new line will eventually replace the company’s S1, D1, A1000 and D1000 offerings.

The first product to hit server racks is expected to be the Sun StorEdge 3310 SCSI array. The 2U box supports between 5 to 12 disk drives; single or dual SCSI bus options; single or dual redundant hardware RAID controllers and 512 MB of battery-protected cache per controller.

The series will run on all of the latest platforms, including Sun Linux 5.0 and Red Hat Linux distribution 7.3. The series is expected to support Sun Cluster 3.0 software, Sun Solstice DiskSuite software and VERITAS Volume Manager software.

The company says the storage boxes are designed to work in concert with Sun’s entry-level server line including its new Sun LX50, Sun Fire V120, 280R, V480 and V880 servers.

While lagging behind other, more entrenched players like EMC, Hewlett-Packard and Hitachi, Sun is gaining ground in the storage market with its Sun StorEdge Complete Storage Solutions, according to a new report by IDC. In fact, Sun and IBM posted the largest increases in total storage revenue over Q1 2002, with 32 percent and 11 percent gains, respectively. As of Q2, Sun held a 9 percent market share, with revenues of $411 million.

Sun has really gotten behind addressing its lower end storage products, which was evident when it agreed to purchase Pirus Networks. The data storage start-up is known mostly for its switching devices and virtualization technology.

The 3300 storage series should retail for a minimum price of $6995.00 (without a service contract) and no more than its Sun StorEdge 3900 series.

Sun says the service contract varies with each customer. For example, the 3310’s service contract includes standard spectrum level offering with a Gold Warranty upgrade recommended; Customer Installable with optional Sun Install service available; a 2-year warranty with 2nd business day on-site (year 1); 15-day RTD (year 2); and the Sun StorEdge Diagnostic Reporter software included with the product (customer self-monitoring and alert notification tool).