Sun Microsystems, Hitachi and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) last week ended speculation about their storage business relationship by unveiling plans for Sun to private-label Hitachi's Lightning 9900 family of arrays.
"I guess this was probably not a surprise to a lot of you," said Ed Zander, president and COO of Sun, at a joint news conference. "The rumors over the past couple of months were so good that we decided to go do this deal. Thank you for [starting] all the rumors."
Sun will resell the Hitachi Lightning 9900 array as the Sun StorEdge 9900.
Being able to offer the HDS version of the array to current clients and the Sun version when partnering with Sun is great news, says Amy Rao, CEO of Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sun and HDS solution provider. "We'll win more deals with [that option]," she says.
Hank Johnson, vice president of the Enterprise Partner Services group at Stonebridge Technologies, a Dallas-based Sun and HDS partner, calls the agreement a win-win-win deal: Sun gets a solid solution to go head-to-head with EMC; Hitachi gets a world-class partner; and Stonebridge gets a robust, integrated Sun solution.
Sun will make the arrays available to its iForce community with a very aggressive pricing program, says Gary Grimes, vice president of partner management and sales operations for the United States at Sun.
In addition, Hitachi's sales organization will be offered incentives to work with Sun's sales organization and partners, says Bill Cook, vice president of global network storage sales at Sun.
While StorEdge 9900 sales will not be eligible for SunFund dollars,the 10 percent reseller development funds offered for storage products. That bonus will be included in the margins, which are expected to run between 15 percent and 20 percent, Grimes says.
For example, for a well-configured storage subsystem totaling about $750,000, partners could see a gross profit of about $150,000, he says.
SCOTT CAMPBELL contributed to this story.