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Sun announces its latest NAS solution

5320 builds on recent company momentum

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Comment Sun Microsystems has announced the Sun StorageTek 5320 NAS Appliance, the first NAS solution based on the AMD Opteron processor model 252.

The Sun StorageTek 5320 NAS Appliance builds on the Sun StorEdge 5000 NAS Appliance family, and also delivers investment protection via a data-in-place upgrade.

Key features include iSCSI support, Microsoft Windows Hardware certified for Windows and Exchange environments; Gateway Support, for the midrange Sun StorEdge 6130 and 6920 systems and Sun's high-end disk portfolio, as well as Sun's FlexLine systems; Integrated realtime file system data protection against computer viruses certified with multiple scanning engines including Symantec AntiVirus Scan Engine; Compliance Archiving Software Option that stores and protects information and provides WORM functionality; and Sun's StorEdge Compliance Archiving System, a combination of Sun NAS technology with Sun StorEdge Compliance Archiving software, providing authenticity, integrity, ready access, and security supporting regulations including SEC 240, 17a-4.

In addition, Sun NAS solutions with enterprise content management software and email archiving solutions allows companies to automate eDiscovery searches, providing audit logs and identity information, and ensuring rapid retrieval in the event of litigation.

Sun reiterated its installation, configuration, integration, data migration, operations migration, business continuity and disaster recovery services that aim to assist customers optimise and manage the performance of Sun NAS appliances.

The company also expanded its Try and Buy program to include storage products, which now allows customers and resellers to evaluate and test a Sun StorageTek 5320 NAS Appliance at no charge for 60 days, with the option to purchase the system at the end. The Sun StorageTek 5320 NAS appliance is available now through Sun and its reseller partners, starting at $49,990 (US list) for a 2.0TB system.

There has been a lot of news about Sun recently, much of it focused on the changing of the guard at the top. However, there have been other activities as well. With this offering, we see Sun continue to build its momentum with respect to storage and seeking to bring to market values that would address customers of many stripes. In particular, the anti-viral and Windows-friendly focus of the product will likely appeal to SMBs or departmental organisations that have strategic commitments to the Windows environment but also would like to take advantage of the relative simplicity of the NAS value proposition.

At the same time, the compliance option combined with ECM and archival initiatives, could bring a level of governance/discipline for organisations who might not have legal reporting requirements, but would benefit from an enhanced approach to information storage that in many past scenarios may have required investments beyond the reach of some.

While we believe the 5320 will appeal to various segments of the marketplace, at a higher level we are pleased to see much of the discussion around the product focused not on hardware but rather on software-driven abilities. Perhaps one of Sun's best kept secrets is that it is a software company too, and the company has a history of adding software value to solutions.

With the recent coronation of Jonathan Schwartz as Sun CEO, we are hopeful the company will be more consistent and perhaps even more strident in its endorsement of its software abilities. This is not a call for more bashing of software costs in the marketplace a la McNealy, but rather the recognition of the 1 + 1 = 3 value proposition of IT solutions that holistically consider hardware, software, services, and financing in total.

Sun has tended to do well when it can rewrite the rules of the marketplace; some of its more novel approaches to financing are reflective of this. This solutions or systems approach is increasingly where we see the market going, and systems vendors such as Sun have an inherent advantage in this approach. Time will tell how well the market responds to the 5320, but we are nevertheless heartened by this announcement and look forward to see how Sun responds to the market under the tutelage of its new software-savvy CEO.

Copyright © 2006, IT-Analysis.com

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