Sun Microsystems President and COO Ed Zander said Sun is considering a storage acquisition to help promote its Sun Open Net Environment (ONE) platform for Web services.
In his keynote at Sun's iForce Partner Summit here last week, Zander said storage was "the No. 1 area" in which Sun is considering making an acquisition and is the main focus of Sun's R and D team.
'I can't underscore how important [storage is to us and to our customer base.' -- Ed Zander, Sun President, COO
"I can't underscore how important [storage is to us and to our customer base," Zander said. "I can't tell you how many customers would rather buy from us [than other vendors if we had a best-of-breed solution."
Sun still lags well behind Compaq Computer, EMC and IBM in the storage market. Research firm IDC estimates that Compaq, EMC and IBM each more than doubled Sun's 2001 storage revenue of $1.6 billion.
While Sun's reseller pact with Hitachi Data Systems last year has helped the company better infiltrate the storage market, it's not necessarily because of anything Sun is doing, according to solution providers. Though the deal has brought success in selling Hitachi arrays with Sun servers against EMC, many said they had already been selling Hitachi products.
But others said Sun is on the right track. "A year ago, I would've told you Sun had to fix their storage business, but they've really made improvements," said Cliff Ulrich, director of the storage and server practice at Detroit-based Dewpoint.
Zander named EMC as one of Sun's three main competitors, along with Microsoft and IBM.
"We just have to take them out," Zander said, referring to EMC. Then he joked, "A lot of you [are selling EMC. Drop them and go with us. We'll give you a discount."
JOSEPH F. KOVAR contributed to this story.