RealTime IT News

Sun Storms Network Storage Sector

Sun Microsystems Inc. Wednesday tossed its hat into the $30 billion plus network storage market. The firm unveiled its new storage systems line-up looking to eliminate technological limitations of rival data storage suppliers.

Armed with an open platform scalable server product line-up in the mid-1990s, Sun attacked traditional mainframe market share with an onslaught of cost-effective network hardware.

Without storage, there is no Internet and Sun is lit-up to snatch-up a major piece of the market. Only this time, its not depending on Solaris to be the only platform in town.

Ed Zander, Sun president and chief operating officer, said Sun is offering businesses a choice in data storage systems.

"Large enterprises, dot-com companies, just about every business sector that is addressing the absolutely explosive growth trends in storage is tired of being hijacked from choice," Zander said.

"As everything with a digital heartbeat connects to the Internet, and data explodes from text to graphics, audio and video, our customers are clamoring for a more modern, open and networked-based solution. Monolithic, mainframe-like architectures for storage will not be able to keep pace with the Net," Zander added. "Today Sun is taking on this immense opportunity head-on with our StorEdge family of products and services."

The Sun storage systems offer local and remote data protection software, a full suite of customer care programs, and a number of key storage partner programs with open standards endorsements.

Sun's network of servers, peripherals, wireless devices, desktops, and appliances is driving to fulfill the demand for insatiable data storage growth. The firm remains committed to developing "any-to-any" connectivity from its proprietary Solaris platform, to Linux, Unix or NT networks.

Because Sun is basing its server products in support of open standard interfaces and technologies, nearly any device that accesses data could do so through any its server-software combinations.

Sun's open storage system can deliver the same functionality as traditional, mainframe data storage. But it can do so in a much more cost-effective manner, through a network of services that allow secure access to its growing pool of information.

Sun's approach is similar to the way it used to open standards to migrate traditional data centers away from mainframes and onto network-based servers.

McArthur, IDC vice president of storage research, estimates that the disk storage systems market will reach $46 billion by 2003, up more than $16 billion from 1999.

"Today's announcement represents a significant enhancement to Sun's Networked Storage vision," McArthur said. "As one of the leading suppliers of enterprise servers with a renewed focus on storage, Sun is increasingly well positioned to compete for networked storage opportunities."

At the heart of Sun's assault on the data storage market is its building block disk storage system, dubbed Sun StorEdge T3 array, but know within the firm as "Purple." Its data protection software allows companies to manage their data from any location on multi-vendor arrays.

The system also offers a full suite of storage-specific services aimed at ensuring data integrity, ranging from predictive monitoring and pre-emptive response to capacity planning. Purple is about the size of a desktop computer and can store up to one-third of a terabyte of data.

Purple is stackable, so there is no single point of failure in its design. When configured as a pair, every component is redundant, making it a highly reliable means to increase data availability. By stacking the building blocks, Purple potentially scales from 324 gigabytes to 88 terabytes, or 88 billion megabytes of capacity. As a re