Sun Microsystems Inc. and EMC Corp. are each trying to change the perception among some would-be customers that their respective storage systems are expensive and difficult to deploy.
To do it, both companies are extending their product lines with the goal of aggressively driving down users overall storage costs, making incremental storage growth less challenging.
This week, Sun will roll out at its SunNetwork conference in Shanghai, China, a broad range of storage devices and services. The Santa Clara, Calif., company will unveil its StorEdge 3511 FC (Fibre Channel) storage array, which is the first Sun device to include low-cost SATA (Serial ATA) disk drives, company officials said. The StorEdge 3511 FC will scale from 3 to 16 terabytes.
Sun will also introduce utility computing storage built around a data center stocked with its high-end StorEdge 9980 arrays. Under the offering, Sun will let enterprises connect to its data center and use storage at a per-gigabyte fee. Customers can add software, such as performance analysis, at an additional cost.
In addition, Sun will preview the new midrange StorEdge 6920 array, which incorporates storage switching technology that Sun gained in its 2002 acquisition of Pirus Networks. The 6920, set to ship within 45 days, can extract data for migration and remote replication. Fourteen templates embedded in the 6920 provide centralized management of data used in online transaction processing, e-mail, high-availability, data warehousing and mirroring applications.
Sun plans to offer similar features in its low- and high-end arrays and to work with third-party storage vendors to integrate the 6920s data snapshot capabilities with their devices, Sun officials said.
Beta tester Jed Dobson, systems architect for Dartmouth College, in Hanover, N.H., is using the StorEdge 6920 to hold more than 1 terabyte of data used in a magnetic resonance imaging project. Dobson is also using virtualization features to carve up the array for use by various labs that regularly ask for more storage.
"Anything vendors can do to simplify the infrastructure, and this process where [users constantly demand more] storage, is nice. And Sun is getting there with the 6920," said Dobson. "I can ask [the array] for a terabyte of storage, and it tries to guess where to put it. ... The storage array has a lot more intelligence with 6920."
For its part, EMC, of Hopkinton, Mass., was joined by Dell Inc. last week in unveiling the Clariion AX100. The entry-level SAN (storage-area network) device, formerly code-named Piranha, is designed to create a new low-price barrier by offering 3 terabytes of SATA disk storage for less than $10,000.
Sold only by partners, the AX100 features technology from QLogic Corp., Emulex Corp. and Brocade Communications Systems Inc. and performs data snapshots to simplify installation and management for non-IT professionals, EMC officials said.