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Sun to fry NetApp with FISH

Smells like NAS, dude

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Sun Microsystems has a near-term NetApp assault in store code-named 'FISHworks.'

The FISH stands for “Fully Integrated Software and Hardware” and comes from work done by some of Sun's top software engineers over the past year.

The first run of the technology will see Sun bundle Solaris, the ZFS file system, DTrace and a number of other software packages together on a NAS (network attached storage)-like hardware system. Sun hopes to kick NetApp where it hurts, banking on the theory that no one wants a complex, proprietary storage OS in this day and age.

But there's far more to the FISHworks agenda than a NAS appliance.

As discussed here, Sun's software engineers have been hammering away at next-generation system designs for more than a year – at the special request of CTO and R&D chief Greg Papadopoulos. Sun hopes to create a wide range of FISHworks type systems to address the storage, networking and server markets.

What exactly is that magical smell behind the FISHworks gear?

Well, we'd love to tell you but can't. Sun only briefed analysts on the FISHworks plan during a February meeting, keeping hacks like yours truly away from the meat. Thankfully, we routed around Sun's barriers to turn up a few choice details.

One such item is that Sun has yet to commit to releasing the FISHworks gear. From what we hear, however, this is just a line the company has tossed to finicky analysts. Our sources indicate that Sun will run with the FISH in short order.

The FISH gear also has all the bells and whistles you might expect of an appliance like system such as a nice GUI and the ability to craft a web server, security system or VoIP box with a few clicks. More importantly, Sun looks to separate itself from other vendors via tools such as DTrace that will allow customers to tweak the performance of their appliances on-the-fly.

Beyond that, we have painfully little else to offer.

If Sun's top brains have spent the last year dumping their favorite bits of code onto a NAS box and then patting themselves on the back for the effort, the company will fail to impress with the fresh FISH. We're guessing some secret sauce – call it project Tartar [You're pathetic - Ed] – must be lurking in a NDA . . . somewhere . . . right?

In any case, Sun's storage business can always use some help and going after NetApp seems like a low hanging fruit approach indeed. ®

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