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As rumoured, Sun has struck a deal to resell Hitachi Data Systems storage kit. HDS already provides hardware for Hewlett Packard, but Sun is more reliant on its Japanese storage partner than HP, as the deal covers software too.

Sun will sell HDS Lightning 9900 series rebadged as the Sun StorEdge 9000, and will jointly man three service centres with Hitachi.

Naturally Sun presented this as a proof that it's " a thought leader of the Net Economy", and although gives it a really huge box that it didn't have before, as COO Ed Zander admitted yesterday, it isn't quite the revolutionary step it claimed.

As disks and interconnects become commoditized, the value of the storage - which typically cost the punter two or three times as much as the servers its supporting - is in the software and the support. Sun has some intriguing R&D initiatives which address this disjoint, but they're probably eighteen months to two years from bearing fruit.

HP has prospered since severing its ties with EMC two years ago and using HDS hardware, largely because it brews its own management software in OpenView. HP strengthened this with the proposed acquisition of StorageApps for $350 million as part of its federated storage project.

Sun went head to head with EMC in its last major storage launch in June last year, promising much like yesterday, to knock off its perch. ®

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