Sun Reinvigorates Midrange Storage Line

"Sun is going to do some major damage in storage," said Kip Lindberg, vice president of enterprise sales at Ncell Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based solution provider and Sun partner.

Sun used its NC03Q2, short for "Network Computer 2003 Second Quarter," quarterly product launch event held here this week to introduce two new arrays in its Sun StorEdge 6000 family.

The new StorEdge 6120 scales from 252 Gbytes to more than 12 Tbytes of raw capacity in a 3U rack-mount format with 2-Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity. It is priced at about 45 percent less than the competing EMC CX400 array on a hardware-to-hardware basis, said Mark Canepa, executive vice president of Sun Network Storage. However, unlike the EMC offering, Sun is including software applications to do functions such as path, data and volume management, as well as snap copies, at no additional cost, he said.

For example, the 6120 with 2 Tbytes of capacity has a list price of $74,600, compared with a similarly configured CX400 at $137,156, Canepa said. However, when the appropriate software is added to the CX400, the price for the 2-Tbyte model jumps to $275,856.

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Sun also unveiled its StorEdge 6320, a 2-Gbps Fibre Channel array that scales from 500 Gbytes to 45 Tbytes of capacity. It includes mirrored cache of up to 22 Gbytes and supports up to 704 LUNs and 176 disparate hosts.

Canepa said the 6320 targets the same space as EMC's CX600 and Hewlett-Packard's EVA arrays, with 20 percent higher performance at 20 percent lower cost. It also comes with the same software load as the 6120.

The 6120 can be upgraded to the 6320 as a business' storage needs grow in order to offer investment protection, said Canepa. Data can be migrated from the 6120 to the 6320 while an application is running, with only a very short downtime needed once the data has been migrated and updated.

Ncell's Lindberg said the new Sun arrays looked impressive and should compete nicely against LSI arrays, which are OEMed by IBM and StorageTek.

More important, the new 6000 arrays give Sun a chance to finally show the world its strength in the storage management area, said Lindberg. "Sun has done a good job with its management software, but Sun never got the message out," he said. "They haven't done an impressive [job] of showing what their software can do. Now they can because it's bundled with the arrays."

The 6120 and the 6320 are slated to begin shipping this month. List price for the 6120 starts at $24,300, while pricing for the 6320 starts at $67,600.

Sun also unveiled its N1 Data Platform, a storage appliance that can sit in front of several multi-vendor storage arrays to virtualize the capacity of those arrays into a single pool of storage, Canepa said.

The N1 Data Platform, based on technology Sun acquired with last year's purchase of Pirus Networks, includes the special-purpose hardware, integrated software and services to architect the solution and offers full management including remote monitoring, said Canepa. These services can be done by Sun's solution providers, or solution providers can bring Sun in to do the services, he said.

Price for the N1 Data Platform starts at $112,600 and includes hardware, software, secure domain capability, on-site two-year warranty and implementation services. It is available now.

Sun also used the NC03Q2 event to introduce upgrades to its StorEdge Enterprise Storage Manager platform and its StorEdge Enterprise Backup software application.

In addition, the company unveiled Sun Storage Migration Service, which is aimed at helping clients migrate storage from their current arrays to the company's T3 array or StorEdge 3000, 6000 or 9000 series of arrays.