Sun Buys Start-Up Pirus

Move aims to help users minimize storage administration costs.

To help users minimize storage administration costs, Sun Microsystems Inc. on Thursday announced it has bought start-up Pirus Networks Inc. in an undisclosed stock-swap deal.

Pirus, of Acton, Mass., makes a 6U appliance that virtualizes any combination of Fibre Channel or Ethernet connections into groups, and converts them to Fibre Channel, Ethernet or InfiniBand connections to servers. It also switches iSCSI connections.

"We started this exercise about a year or so ago. We actually cast a net over about 65 companies," said Mark Canepa, executive vice president of Suns Network Storage Products Group, at the companys SunNetwork 2002 Conference and Pavilion, in San Francisco.

Canepa said that Suns prior purchases of technologies focused on snapshotting, resource management, file systems and policy management.

"We didnt just buy Pirus for the product thats there today," he said. "You migrate all of these software technologies and start to run them at the storage edge of the network. Youre going to start seeing something over the next several months, [but] its not all going to appear at once."

The evolved product will also work with Hitachi Ltd.s high-end Lightning 9900 products, which Sun resells under its StorEdge brand, Canepa said. "We believe itll simplify big-time the number of system administrators that it takes to make this stuff work," he said.

Pirus has shipped about a dozen of the $80,000-to-$100,000 PSX-1000 boxes since this summer, CEO and president Rich Napolitano said. It has 32 Fibre Channel ports and 32 Ethernet ports, he said.

Arun Taneja, an analyst with Enterprise Storage Group Inc., likes the deal, saying he is a proponent of intelligent switching platforms.

"This is the ultimate ratification, that a larger company that is really going to make that concept real is now purchasing a company like this," said Taneja, of Milford, Mass.

Also, along with IBMs purchase of TrelliSoft Inc., "it shows that the storage market is beginning to move again. Theres been hardly any mergers or acquisitions over the last six months," he said.

Pirus, with just over 100 employees, had the advantage of being the first among its rivals to ship a real product, Taneja said. Regardless, "theres tons of stuff that needs to be done," he said. "Pirus only took a baby step into the market."

Related Stories:

  • Sun Tackles Security
  • Suns McNealy Sees Bright Future