RealTime IT News

Sun Unveils New Storage Servers, Services

Sun Microsystems unveiled its next-generation of storage products and business continuity services in an effort to lure customers from HP , IBM and EMC .

Launched in New York as part of its quest to regain financial services customers, the products include a mid-range and high-end storage server, a network-attached storage device and an infrastructure system.

Sun hopes to woo customers with such products as the Sun StorEdge 6920, a storage system to compete with HP and IBM in the midrange, and the Sun StorEdge 9990 enterprise storage platform. Both arrays make it easier for customers to allocate and consolidate data on the network.

Specifically, the 6920 helps users consolidate applications on a single system that provides scalability, application-oriented storage pooling, simplified management and centralized services.

It also uses a crossbar architecture to help scale capacity, connectivity and performance. HDS employs a similar form of technology for its Lighting arrays.

Sun is looking to hit the sweet spot of flexible pricing for customers, offering the 6920 array with utility computing pricing. With this pay-for-what-you-use model, storage costs 80 cents per Sun power unit (SPU) per month, helping users pare capital expenditures and align their storage costs to their business needs.

At the high-end, Sun expects the 9990 will help it wrangle market share from EMC, IBM and HDS with its because the array is fitted with new virtualization, replication and data movement features that work across platforms from other vendors.

The 9990 is well timed: EMC and HDS have upgraded their high-end machines this year and IBM is expected to follow suit before the new year.

Enterprise Strategy Group analyst Tony Asaro said in a statement the new systems arguably give Sun one of the best stories for SAN-based storage. In a recent interview with internetnews.com, Asaro said customers are looking to virtualization to help them manage storage more efficiently.

In other storage news as part of its Network Computer '04 event, the company is unveiling the Sun Content Infrastructure System, a pre-assembled, tested and configured Sun Fire V240 server, three choices of storage arrays and Sun StorEdge SAM-FS arrays for policy-based management.

Refusing to ignore its NAS base, the company also unveiled the Sun StorEdge 5210 NAS device, which boasts heterogeneous operating support and can usually be set up in 15 minutes or less for small departments that need to share files.

Lastly for products, Ultimate SAN OS Solaris 10 OS will be delivered with Sun's integrated SAN software stack, featuring StorEdge Traffic Manager. This provides customers with automated load-balancing and fail-over for direct or SAN-attached storage and configures thousands of storage elements in a SAN environment without manual configuration.

That Sun's third-quarter Network Computer event is being held in New York Tuesday is no coincidence.

After weathering months of criticism for falling behind the competition in the server market, the Santa Clara, Calif. systems vendor is intent on going back to its roots and winning back financial services customers who had once so loyally patronized its products.

In conjunction with that effort, Sun announced a new suite of Business Continuity Services with AT&T, Nortel Networks and SunGard Availability Services, according to Sun Services CTO Hal Stern.

The goal of the services is to help those IT providers minimize downtime for their systems in the case of a disaster to avoid revenue loss. According to IDC, worldwide spending on business continuity and security will top $107 billion by 2007.

Stern told internetnews.com Sun and SunGard are expanding their alliance to include new offerings for entry-level servers based on the AMD Opteron chip. The Managed Disaster Recovery Services provide a cost-effective offering for customers who can't shell out for a second data center.

Based on AT&T Ultravailable Computing, the new Data Continuity Infrastructure Solution from Sun Microsystems and Nortel Networks allows multiple data centers to act as one data center. This means that if one site goes down, transactions are automatically rerouted to the alternate site. The Chicago Tribune deployed this joint solution in March 2004.