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Sun Rolls Out New SAN Arrays

Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) is experiencing strong growth from its open storage efforts, but the company isn't forgetting the Fibre Channel SAN market.

Sun this week unveiled two new modular arrays, the Sun Storage 6580 and 6780, based on the company's OEM relationship with LSI (NYSE: LSI). The 6580 replaces the 6540 unveiled 2 1/2 years ago, while the 6780 is a move further up market.

One thing similar to Sun's open storage efforts is the marketing message for the new arrays; the company claims as much as "three times better price/performance than the competition," based on SPC-1 and SPC-2 benchmark results.

The "competition" is EMC's (NYSE: EMC) Clariion arrays, said Sun primary arrays general manager Nancy Hart, even though they aren't mentioned by name in Sun's SPC results. NetApp (NASDAQ: NTAP) created a furor last year when it directly compared its FAS3040 arrays to EMC's Clariion CX3.

Hart said the price/performance message is a good one for the current economic environment.

"The economic meltdown definitely touches the storage industry," she said. "Customers are still processing all the data, they just don't have the budget."

Sun is also offering upgrade and trade-in programs for its own and competitors' products.

The 6580 and 6780 come with the Sun StorageTek Common Array Manager. The 6580 scales up to 256 TB and offers eight 4Gb FC host ports, 8GB cache, 16 expansion trays per controller, an intermix of SATA and FC drives and RAID 6 support. It lists at $59,995.

The 6780 offers twice the IOPS and four times the throughput performance. It scales up to 448 TB, and offers eight or 16 4Gb FC host ports, 16GB cache, 28 expansion trays per controller, SATA and FC drives and RAID 6 support. It lists at $89,995.

Hart said 8Gb FC, 10Gb iSCSI, SAS and FCoE are on the company's roadmap. "There's going to be a lot of change in the next 18 months," she said.

In other hardware news, NetApp created a bit of a furor among its own users when it said it will discontinue its S-family of products aimed at small and mid-sized businesses. NetApp plans to offer new FAS2020 bundles for the SMB market instead.

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