Sun Microsystems is focusing its quarterly product launch, scheduled for Tuesday, on storage with the unveiling of new security and virtualization products and details about Honeycomb and Thumper projects.
Much of what is happening with the new products is a result of Sun's combining its network management technology with the storage technology from its StorageTek acquisition, said Larry Singer, senior vice president and strategic insight officer (stet) at Sun.
Security is becoming a big part of Sun's new storage lineup as the company introduces native tape encryption and releases details about a new appliance aimed at storing data for compliance purposes.
Sun plans to add encryption technology to its T10000 line of tape drives in order to protect data while it is archived, said Singer. "We own both the encryption and the tape technology, so we can do what others can't," he said.
The T10000 encrypts data as it is written to tape. The encryption keys are stored on a token, and not on the drive itself, so that the encryption keys can be used to read data off a tape if the drive is later replaced. The drives can be assigned to a storage pool, the encryption keys of which can also be stored on a token. Those keys can be sent to a remote site if needed in order to read the data in case of a failure at the primary site.
Mark Teter, CTO at Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based Sun solution provider, said customers have been waiting for the T10000 tape drive with encryption for some time. "The alternate to encryption in the tape drive is software, which creates processing overhead, or an in-line device that creates another point of management," he said. "I'd rather have it in the tape drive."
Sun this week is also planning to release details of its Honeycomb project, which is a storage technology aimed at securely storing data in a format that cannot be modified for the life of the data for compliance purposes. It is expected to compete with EMC's Centera compliance appliance.
Honeycomb is the latest in a series of products resulting from Sun's acquisition 15 months ago of Kealia, a server technology firm founded by Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the original four co-founders of Sun. Kealia also brought Sun its Galaxy line of AMD Opteron-based servers, currently one of the industry's fastest-growing server lines.
Sun is also integrating identity management with its Enterprise Storage Manager software, said Singer. This embeds information who created and who is authorized to access data into the metadata regardless of which device was used to create that data.
By embedding identity management with the data, end users will be able to control and audit access to that data from a single Web-based enterprise platform and set up automated management policies, Singer said.
By integrating identification management into data management, Sun is really simplifying the ability to manage data for compliance and other efficiencies, said Teter. "Sun already has a really good suite of identification management software," he said.
Sun is also taking advantage of its quarterly product launch to unveil other hardware and software products.
The company is introducing its new Sun StorageTek 5320 NAS appliance based on AMD Opteron processors. The 5320, which is based on Sun's SunFire X4200 server, can scale from 2.0 Tbytes to up to 179 Tbytes of data, with prices starting at about $49,000.
The 5320 is Sun's first storage product to be included in the company's "Try-and-Buy" program, which enables customers and solution providers to evaluate a product for up to 60 days at no charge with the option of purchasing the system at the end of the trial period.
Also expected this week is details about Sun's Thumper project. Channel sources said that Thumper is a high-performance file server based on Sun's Galaxy line of AMD Opteron-based servers with room for up to 48 hard drives.
Thumper, which is also based on Kealia's server technology, is Sun's first hardware device to come embedded with the company's new Zeta File System, which ties closely to the Solaris 10 operating system, according to channel and Sun sources.
Sun is also expanding its StorageTek Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) series of tape arrays, which are aimed mainly at the IBM mainframe market, with two new models. The VSM 5 has double the capacity and performance of the current VSM 4, while the VSM 4e is a lower-cost version of the VSM 4. The VSM 4 currently has a capacity of 1.25 Tbytes to 14.9 Tbytes and can be carved into as many as 256 virtual tape drives.