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Storage Surge: Sun Fills In Gaps

Sun Microsystems last week took a big step toward shoring up what has traditionally been one of the weakest spots in its business with the introduction of new storage products.

The new storage offerings are part of an initiative by Sun to cut the cost and complexity of IT environments, said Adam Mendoza, director of strategic alliances for Sun network storage.

"We've been providing storage solutions to customers for years," Mendoza said. "Never before have we had such a variety of products."

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>> Sun in July reported its third straight year of increasing server-storage attach rates.

For Sun, storage has been showing improvement recently. In July, the company reported a 1 percent rise in revenue compared with the year before, and its third straight year of increasing server-storage attach rates. Solution providers have noticed the difference.

Historically, storage has been a problem for Sun, said Jesse St. Laurent, director of R&D at Corporate Technologies, a Burlington, Mass.-based Sun partner. "They've focused on point solutions, not on the overall line," he said.

Sun has definitely filled in the holes in its storage business, said Mark Teter, CTO at Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based solution provider. "It's like a football team," he said. "You get beat year after year, but eventually you draft enough players."

Among Sun's new offerings is its StorEdge 6920 array with embedded virtualization capabilities for pooling both internal and externally connected storage into a single storage pool, Mendoza said.

In particular, the StorEdge 6920 can be used to create pools of storage for up to 14 specific application profiles, with I/O and caching tuned specifically to those applications, he said.

That virtualization puts Sun's storage in the same league as that of Hitachi Data Systems and IBM, Teter said. "The word is out there. Now customers will seriously discuss how it will drive out their storage costs," he said.

Sun also introduced a new entry-level model, the 3510, which can be "racked and stacked" to scale the number of ports and size of cache to increase performance, said Mendoza. The company also introduced a new NAS appliance.

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