Sun Merges Storage, Systems Groups

Sun is after an advantage in the data center by leveraging its intellectual property in the Solaris arena.

Sun Microsystems today announced that it will merge its storage and systems groups into one group, to be called the Systems Group, much like competitors Hewlett-Packard and IBM already have done.

John Fowler, executive vice president for systems, who will lead the new combined group, said that the goal is to create a group with combined engineering, business and marketing expertise to create new types of storage and systems products. The sales organizations for each group will be maintained separately, however.

"This positions Sun for the future; as we see the market start to evolve and our customers needs evolve, to take advantage of that," said Jon Benson, Suns senior vice president for storage. "We have combined the best of both organizations not just from a go-to-market point of view, but from a technology and strategic point of view. We believe its the next logical progression for us."

CEO Jonathan Schwartz reiterated the message on a recent blog post, where he emphasized the total systems aspect of the merged organization.


To read about Suns upgrades to Developer OS, click here.

"Talk to any datacenter administrator, and thats what they want to hear—they live in a world managing the (often idiosyncratic) interactions of that trinity (computing, storage and networking—and just wait until theyre virtualized). We want to be in a position to innovate on their behalf, at the system level, beyond the boxes—across blades, racks, disk and tape," he wrote.

By combining these groups, Sun will be better positioned to move forward and innovate in many storage-related areas, Fowler added.

"You can expect us to focus a lot of energy on that intersection point between where you store your stuff and where you do your computing," Fowler said. "Youll also see us spend a lot of energy on the software portfolio; weve been working hard to integrate all of our storage software assets together with Solaris, as well as exploit high-end capabilities of file systems. Well continue to energize the activities around having a truly open software platform built on Solaris to allow people to exploit storage and its capabilities, as well as being an open platform to use other hardware and software together with other technologies from Sun."

The move is partially driven by Suns desire for more organizational efficiency, but perhaps more so to leverage Suns intellectual property in the Solaris area, said John Webster, principal IT advisor at Illuminata, an IT consultancy in Nashua, N.H.

"Jonathan [Schwartz] is trying to leverage Suns IP in the Solaris arena in as many different ways as possible and storage is one of those ways. Bringing these organizations together certainly makes sense from that perspective," Webster said.

Although the team from Sun stressed that no layoffs were planned due to the merger—and that last weeks layoff of 129 Sun employees in Colorado was unrelated—some arent sure they buy it. One source said that Sun employees continue to speculate about a reduction in force due to todays announcement.


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