Sun Introduces Modular Storage for SMBs

The company introduces two new modular storage arrays that let users scale their existing capacity on the company's mid-range StorageTek 6920 and 6130 servers.

Sun Microsystems stayed within a clear trend in the data storage industry Aug. 10 by introducing two new modular storage arrays that let users scale their existing capacity on the companys mid-range StorageTek 6920 and 6130 servers.

Virtually all the major storage vendors--including Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun--are investing substantial R&D and marketing dollars into trying to attract SMBs with enterprise-level hardware and software tailored to attract mid-range organizations (100 to 1,000 employees) with pick-and-choose features and lower pricing.

The newly updated Sun StorageTek 6540 6540 array, formerly known as the StorageTek FlexLine 380, offers new features such as 4G bps Fibre Channel disks, 500GB Serial ATA drives, and RoHS compliance, said Paula Phipps, Sun product line marketing manager for modular storage.

The StorageTek 6140 is also a 4G bps Fibre Channel array that can be direct attached to a server or to a SAN, Phipps added. Both arrays are modular and rack-mountable.

Storage managers are looking for solutions that scale in performance, capacity and capability, said John McArthur, group vice president and general manager at IDC in Framingham, Mass.

"The new Sun StorageTek modular storage family provides an open, standards-based system with the scale to support a wide variety of data and storage services for business critical applications," McArthur said.

There are three "commonalities" in the Sun StorageTek product line that contribute to the systems modularity, Phipps told eWEEK.

/zimages/4/28571.gifRead more here about Suns open-source storage plans.

"There is a common array manager, a common storage module, and common data services across the entire product line," Phipps said.

The software also features snap shots (full volume copies) and replication from one product family member to the others, Phipps said.

"These are the first two products to come out of the joint roadmap of development from Sun and StorageTek," Phipps said. "Everything else that has come out since the acquisition (in February 2005) had been developed within one or the other of the two companies."

The StorageTek 6540 6540 has 4GB to 16GB of cache memory and eight Fibre Channel host connections.

It has a maximum capacity of 112TB or 224 disk drives. The 6540s base price is just under $200,000.

The StorageTek 6140 comes with eight Fibre Channel host interfaces, two controllers and a 1G bps, 2G bps or 4G bps host interface speed.

It uses either Fibre Channel or Serial ATA II disk drives for a maximum capacity of 57TB.

The 6140 also features dual redundant controllers and from 2GB to 4GB of cache memory.

The 6140 replaces the StorageTek Flexline 210 and 240. Sun did not disclose pricing for the StorageTek 6140.

The arrays are managed from Suns standard Solaris-based Web-based management console. Both new products are now available.

Sun is targeting the burgeoning $17 billion RAID array market with these new offerings, Phipps said.

"Were seeing three trends in this space," Phipps said.

"First, were seeing that customers are wanting to use business-type applications more and more on these storage servers, to get more out of their investments.

"Second, they need more storage now to go with their increasing need for more applications; and third, customers continue to have fewer resources and people dedicated to storage management. Its expensive to keep storage experts in-house.

"These new arrays are designed to address all of these needs," Phipps said.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...