Sun Preparing Storage Provisioning For N1

That move will follow the company's launch this week of its blade servers and automatic server provisioning capability at an event held here.

Provisioning is a way to boost storage networks with new add-and-reallocate capacity, and automating the process is a way to improve the administration of storage networks and the utilization of resources.

Sun's storage provisioning plans revolve around the PSX-1000, a device the company acquired with its purchase of Pirus Networks last November, said Mark Canepa, executive vice president of storage products at Sun.

The PSX-1000 is a robust I/O computer with sophisticated software that can create logical unit numbers (LUNs) and data mirrors automatically, Canepa said, adding that it can connect multiple arrays from various vendors to form a heterogeneous storage pool while hiding the physical granularity of the storage behind it. "It works with many arrays--all of ours, plus most others," he said. "Our intention is to have the most widespread attachment."

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The PSX-1000, which was unveiled by Pirus early last year, was in early trials before Pirus was acquired by Sun, said Canepa. "We've been testing and stressing the box, and adding new functions," he said. "It's now in pilots with a few leading-edge customers."

Sun will wrap services around the PSX-1000, which can be deployed by partners or resold by solution providers for deployment by Sun, Canepa said. "This is a big, complex environment," he said. "You can't just hook up storage like this."

Sun will require solution providers to be certified before deploying the provisioning appliance, and the vendor has just started certifying its own staff, Canepa said.

Under a new system, Sun plans to launch all new hardware, storage products and services on the same day, once each quarter. Canepa said he expects to unveil test customer information during the next quarterly meeting in three months, and actual product is expected to be introduced during one of the next two quarterly meetings.

Sun also used its N1 launch to expand its storage offerings into the entry-level space. The company unveiled the StorEdge 3510 FC array, aimed at entry-level SANs. The 3510 fits up to 12 hard drives into a 3U chassis and can be scaled to 5.2 Tbytes of capacity in 6U of rack space. The array includes up to eight Fibre Channel ports and a built-in controller with failover capability.

Sun also introduced a new L8 tape autoloader using LTO tape drive technology, as well as a stand-alone SDLT 320 tape drive.