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Sun's finishing of the year with a storage run

Five spot of new kit

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While Sun Microsystems' Solaris team stole the headlines this week, the company's storage group was busy as well, rolling out new software and hardware products to try and help out what has been one of Sun's least impressive businesses.

The new additions to Sun's storage line are pretty straightforward.

First up, customers will see Version 3.0 of the Sun StorEdge Enterprise Storage Manager (ESM) software. This new rev of Sun's main storage management product includes support for a much wider variety of hardware from different vendors, including systems made by EMC, HP and Hitachi. Sun has, in the past, focused mainly on high-end SAN (storage area network) gear with ESM but is now adding support for lower-end networked storage kit.

Next on the list is the second member of Sun's NAS (network attached storage) appliance line - the StorEdge 5310. This is a bigger version of the 5210 that was released last summer. It's a midrange system that scales up to 32TB with Fibre Channel drives and up to 75TB with SATA drives.

To go with the new box, Sun released the StorEdge Compliance Archiving Software. This is a package aimed at helping customers meet regulatory requirements for backing up data. It can connect into a host of third-party compliance applications and fits into the now popular ILM (information lifecycle management) category of software.

Sun also released another new hardware system - the StorEdge 6130 box. This is an entry-level system that starts under $50,000. It holds up to 112 drives.

Lastly, Sun pumped out the StorEdge L500 tape library. This is a midrange tape library that can manage up to 100TB of data.

Overall, Sun continues to have trouble bringing up the rate at which it ties storage sales to server sales. It has been trying to increase storage market share for ages with little success. This is especially frustrating given that Sun's overall hardware revenues have declined and the company has a lot of ground it could make up in the storage market.

Sun's storage chief Mark Canepa remains optimistic that Sun can turn this trend around, especially now that it has refreshed large chunks of its product line and rolled out a host of new software products.

"I feel that our competitiveness gets better and better," he said.

Canepa has been given an additional role within Sun as its head of OEM relationships for both servers and storage systems.

The exec confirmed Sun's project - code-named Honeycomb - first reported here, saying the company is encouraged by results seen with the Opteron-based storage system.

"We're incredibly excited about that technology as it evolves from an experiment to customer-ready systems," Canepa said. ®

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