Sun Exec: VARs Doubling Storage Sales

James Staten, director of marketing for Sun's storage business, also said the vendor would focus its storage research and development spending on the midmarket as part of its strategy.

"The higher end of the market is a saturated market," Staten said. "What we see here are vendors taking share away from each other." He also pointed to "flat margins" in the low end of the storage market as a reason to concentrate on the midtier.

Staten spoke at the RBC Capital Markets System Area Network Conference, a two-day investor conference held here. In delivering a bullish view of Sun's storage business, Staten said Sun is focused on growing its share of the $11 billion Unix storage space faster than the rest of the market. Research firm IDC predicts that segment will grow to a $14 billion annual market by 2006.

Staten and Richard Napolitano, a Sun storage vice president who also addressed the conference, pointed to Sun's continued refocusing and retrenchment. As part of that refocus, Staten said, Sun has decided to maintain its storage business as "strategic" to the company.

Sponsored post

In addition, Sun last year bought Pirus Networks, a data services company, and revamped its storage channel program to focus on higher-performing solution provider partners.

Sun's 41 Elite Storage partners, on average, doubled their storage revenue on a year-over-year basis, and "many have seen their revenue more than double," Staten said.

Napolitano, who will head up Sun's data services unit--formed out of the Pirus acquisition--said the first Sun products developed in the wake of the merger are on track for a rollout this quarter.

"It's an exciting time to be part of Sun, particularly in the storage business," Napolitano said. The first products, when unveiled, will be aimed at providing "any kind of access to any kind of storage" on any kind of platform--from Ethernet to T3, Napolitano said.

The data services offering will be a key part of Sun's newly articulated N1 "virtualization" rollout as the new year unfolds, he said.