Sun Buys NAS Fuel

Sun Microsystems will acquire the network-attached
storage (NAS) system assets of Procom Technology for $50 million in cash.

The deal, rumored for months, isn’t much of a stretch. Procom’s NAS
software has been running in Sun’s StorEdge 5000 NAS servers
since April 2004 under a software licensing agreement.

NAS systems have their own network address and can quickly serve up stored
files, because they don’t have to compete for computing resources from the
main server with other applications.

In the new arrangement, Sun will own the intellectual property rights to the
software and take on some of Procom’s engineers. The move will help Sun
build future NAS storage systems much faster, Sun said in a statement.

Sun officials declined to elaborate on the deal until
June when it’s expected to close.

But Sun President and COO Jonathan Schwartz said in a statement the
move is an attempt to “drive down the cost of NAS appliances for customers,
while aiming to drive margin opportunities for Sun.”

Procom’s NAS software is used to power such Sun systems as the StorEdge 5310
Compliance Archiving System, which helps customers comply with government
regulations and preserve data integrity.

Procom’s assets could also help fuel Sun’s Project Honeycomb, which is an effort to create a storage server that helps businesses find specific files within large pools of data.

As its name implies, Honeycomb is a clustered software architecture that
uses new metadata and search tools to retrieve files in large storage
systems much more efficiently. Files could include e-mail attachments or
medical images, such as x-rays.

Honeycomb senior project manager Mike Davis said in January the
software/hardware combination was created to help customers tap into
millions of stored, often static files, spanning several terabytes

Pulling files from large pools of information is nothing new for major
storage vendors. IBM makes a SAN File System that scales to several
terabytes, while HP has recently released
its second-generation StorageWorks grid software.

Sun hopes to build a buzz about Honeycomb similar to the IBM and HP systems.

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