Sun&s StorageTek Acquisition Shakes Up ILM Landscape

Last week&s $4.1 billion deal moves Sun, which has seen its storage revenue fall over the past couple of years, into fifth place in terms of disk storage revenue, according to recent figures from research firm IDC. It also turns the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company into the top tape library vendor and one of the leaders in the ILM arena, the research shows.

To solidify its newfound position in the storage industry, Sun last week revamped its Network Storage Group into a new Data Management Group, which now includes StorageTek. The Data Management Group, headed by Mark Canepa, executive vice president at Sun, consists of three business units focused on disk, tape and ILM solutions.

Sun plans to phase out its StorEdge brand name in favor of branding all Sun storage under the StorageTek moniker, said Canepa. StorageTek channel partners will be grandfathered into the Sun storage channel and will continue to have access to the products they sold before the acquisition, he said.

For many in the channel, the opportunity to get a complete ILM offering makes the merger of storage lines a sweet one.

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Pat Edwards, vice president of sales at Alliance Technology Group, a Hanover, Md.-based storage solution provider that joined the Sun channel this year, said he is looking forward to the “new Sun.”

“StorageTek has the best ILM offerings,” Edwards said. “They&re coupling that with Sun&s strong product line, including servers, operating systems and Java. The two together will make it the biggest player in the ILM space.”

The merger of the two lines will mean a full portfolio of ILM products, said John Orr, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Stack Computer, which works with both Sun and StorageTek.

However, said Orr, success depends on how the acquisition is handled. “If it is executed really well, it can be viable,” he said. “We&ll see. StorageTek never had experience in selling high-end storage like the HDS line. Their sales organization will have to retrain. And the timing is critical. There&s not a long window of opportunity for them.”