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Sun secures much-needed storage software help

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Proving it has some measure of self-restraint, Sun Microsystems formed a partnership with AppIQ for storage management, declining to buy the company as it has with numerous small software makers.

Sun is turning to AppIQ to help build out its N1 technology for managing software, servers and storage systems. The AppIQ software fits in the broad SRM (storage resource management) category and makes it easier for customers to manage hardware from various vendors via a single console. Sun will bundle the AppIQ software with its own storage management package by the second half of this year.

This move deviates from the norm given Sun's penchant for acquiring start-ups of AppIQ's size. Over the past two years, Sun has purchased Terraspring, CenterRun, Pirus, Nauticus and Waveset to build out parts of its N1 "vision." Most of these buys, however, contributed to the server software side of the house.

Sun maintains that it made more sense to partner for storage software because of costs and the nature of the market. AppIQ, like Veritas, is trying to act as the Switzerland of storage, supporting all vendors' hardware and software packages. Its software follows the SMI-S and CIM standards for storage management.

AppIQ already has particularly strong ties to Hitachi, which is another benefit for Sun. The AppIQ StorageAuthority Suite plugs right into Hitachi's HighCommand software, and Sun resells Hitachi's high-end storage gear.

Given this relationship and AppIQ's support for HP, IBM and EMC gear, it makes some sense for Sun to partner here. The company did, however, promise long ago that it would do its own work to create software for managing multivendor hardware, as part of N1.

It seems that building out N1 has proved tougher than Sun first thought. In addition, many pundits doubted how open Sun could be in the storage realm. Partnering with AppIQ should help on both of these fronts, giving Sun product at quicker clip and proving Sun is taking the open route. ®

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