Storage Virtualization Meets in The Middle For Sun

Sun Microsystems is adding enterprise-grade virtualization utilities to its StorEdge 6920 operating system, code-named Unity 3.0.

Storage virtualization allows customers to improve the way they manage information by lumping chunks of data into one large pool for easy access.

Because the technology is expensive to craft, virtualization is often offered only in products that serve large companies.

By adding advanced features to its mid-tier storage system with Unity 3.0, Sun is seeking to differentiate itself from rivals IBM, EMC and HP in the storage space, said Doug Wood, senior director of engineering for Sun Network Storage.

Wood said Sun’s objective to appeal to mid-range customers who require enterprise-level functionality from their storage arrays: The trick is that they don’t want to pay high-end prices. Sun hopes the enterprise features at mid-range prices will help customers choose the StorEdge 6920 over EMC’s Symmetrix, IBM’s Shark and HP’s StorageWorks machines.

“The 6920 is unique because it has a brain [operating system] that sits ahead of the storage trays, which provides dedicated resources to in-bound data services,” Wood said. These perks include virtualization, replication and data migration, all of which add to the machine’s ability to consolidate many applications on one system.

To that end, Unity 3.0 helps the StorEdge 6920 feature a Pool Manager that lets customers virtualize storage from different vendors without disrupting data flow in the system. It will connect to any host to any type of storage on the back end virtualize the storage, Wood said.

A new Data Replicator tool helps improve business continuity by replicating data volumes to protect against data loss from a disaster. Data Mirror creates full copies of data, splits them for use by another application and allows them to be rejoined.

Lastly, the Data Snapshot lets administrators create frequent and regular snapshots of application data to minimize the window for data loss caused by software errors, user errors and viruses.

Wood also said customers can deploy tiered storage from a single Sun StorEdge 6920 box and migrate data to lower-cost storage, without having to transition to a new system. StorEdge SAM-FS management software helps data on the 6920 migrate between storage classes as the data ages according to business policies.

The new features and system enhancements will be available by June 31.

Unity 3.0 comes at a crucial time in the industry, when concern for data protection, business continuity and demand for products the ensure regulatory compliance is peaking.

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.

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