Sun Makes Splash in Entry-level Storage

Sun Microsystems this week unveiled the value-priced Sun StorEdge 3510 Fiber Channel array and 3310 NAS product, both of which are designed to provide best-in-class storage density, more standard ports for increased configurability, NEBS certification, and Mil-Spec compliance for broader flexibility in installation.

"Sun continues to set the pace in the industry for open standards, density and price performance," said Mark Canepa, executive vice president of Sun Network Storage. "The 3510 FC array supports 1024 LUNs and eight ports, more than four times what Dell offers for the same price point. Sun Fire Blade Platform customers will benefit from the 3310 NAS solution, the first ultra-dense storage solution optimized for blade environments. Best of all, customers will be able to manage their storage in an N1 virtualized and automated environment."

Both products provide common GUI interfaces that enable consistent storage management across all arrays in the Sun StorEdge 3000 family, simplifying management and speeding implementation from hours to minutes. In support of multi-platform environments, the Sun StorEdge 3000 family of products supports the Solaris Operating Environment and the Windows, Linux, HP/UX and IBM AIX operating systems.

Truly Entry-level Products?

Analysts appear to agree that the Sun products provide good price-performance, but there is some disagreement over whether or not the new products are truly entry-level storage hardware.

"The features designed into Sun's StorEdge 3000 family of products are a good fit for the needs of the entry-level marketplace," said Randy Kerns, senior partner, Evaluator Group. "Sun has done a good job of delivering high-density arrays that offer solid performance and high availability that fit the market at attractive price points."

Mike Karp, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates, said, "These are not really entry-level machines in terms of price, features or performance. More like the low end of the mid-range from my perspective. My perspective is that the low end is primarily interested in price, not price-performance."

That said, Karp contends the NEBS compliance of the boxes "is a clear differentiator for both the 3510 FC and the 3310 NAS arrays. This level of bullet-proofing has previously not been available in a widely available machine at these price levels. For companies needing that level of reliability, its a pretty clear choice."

The performance of the machines appears competitive, Karp said. "The high point may be the number of disks they can cram into a small space," he said, and driver density appears to be higher on the Sun machines than on comparable offerings from EMC, HP and IBM for the 3510 or Dell, Snap Appliance and NetworkAppliance for the 3310.

Karp said Sun "doesn't really build these machines, but rather OEMs them from a small San Diego-based vendor, Dot Hill."

Sun StorEdge 3510 FC

Sun said the Sun StorEdge 3510 FC array provides reliable, affordable fibre channel storage for entry-level Storage Area Networks (SANs). Starting in a 2U, 12 drive form factor, the Sun StorEdge 3510 FC array can scale to accommodate up to 5.2TB of storage in a 6U form factor.

"This makes it an ideal solution for mobile applications and high-density environments," Sun said. Contributing to lower total cost of ownership, the ability to use up to eight standard FC ports on the 3510 FC array increases available performance and reduces the need for external edge switches, Sun said.

The feature-rich array offers a transparent controller fail-over capability that improves availability without the need for more software on the attached servers, the company said. The array is designed to complement and work seamlessly with the Sun Fire V480, V880, and just-announced V1280 systems.

The StorEdge 3510 FC array has a starting price of $22,995 for a 5x36GB 1 RAID controller unit and will be available at the end of February.

Sun StorEdge 3310 NAS

Sun said the Sun StorEdge 3310 NAS product is a rack-dense, entry-level storage offering that is optimized for the new Sun Fire Blade Platform. One Sun StorEdge 3310 NAS product will support a rack of Sun Fire Blades. The StorEdge 3310 NAS product has a starting price of $18,995 for a 5x36 GB 1 RAID controller unit and will be avilable in the second quarter.

Sun also announced expanded data continuance storage solutions with the Sun StorEdge L8 AutoLoader tape product and SDLT 320 standalone tape drive. The L8 Autoloader, which includes Linear Tape Open drive technology and is bundled with Sun Solstice Backup software, starts at $9,600. The SDLT 320 tape drive starts at $5,195. Both products are available immediately.

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