New Sun Storage Suites on Horizon

Belatedly throwing its hat into the open storage management software ring, Sun will announce two major products next year.

Belatedly throwing its hat into the open storage management software ring, Sun Microsystems Inc. will announce two major products next year.

One of the products will combine four main functions—availability, performance, hierarchical utilization and resource management—into a single suite, according to sources close to the Palo Alto, Calif., company.

Like the storage management suites from rivals EMC Corp., of Hopkinton, Mass., and Tokyo-based partner Hitachi Ltd., Suns suites will try to manage the hardware of other companies besides its own. But it will go further than EMC and Hitachi by also managing competitors software and features, like file systems, volumes and data objects, the sources said.

The sources could not provide a release date, saying only that it would be released in 2002. Sun officials declined to comment on unannounced products.

"We bundled that all together so people can say, Wham, heres a solution—one SKU [stock keeping unit], one price. Were going to provide a heterogeneous solution for both the hardware and software perspective," one source said.

The sources could not identify the products name.

The other new product, likely to be called the 6900, is a version of Suns high-end StorEdge T3 system with Vicom Systems Inc.s virtualization and policy-based management features, using industry-standard LUN (logical unit) technology, sources outside of Sun said. That product will launch on Feb. 6 at a Sun analysts event and will be marketed for use in storage area networks, the sources said.

The products will help Sun "absolutely move from being a little bit piecemeal and parts player to having an intelligent strategy. Theyve done a really good job," said Steve Duplessie, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., in Milford, Mass. Comparing it to EMCs AutoIS storage management initiative, Duplessie said, "this is far more general, far more open, lots of [Microsoft Corp. Windows] NT stuff."

Suns use of policy-based management will help users see "whos using what, to make decisions predicated on policy. Its kind of the nirvana where were hoping the world goes. I think youll see enough differential right now that itll make sense," Duplessie said.