Sun Sets Sights on Data Management

Sun Microsystems plans to take a more comprehensive approach to helping customers manage their data.

The systems vendor will market its identity management, security, virtualization and hardware and software as a means for a more regimented way for businesses to corral data.

The goal is to ease customers’ concerns about their ability to handle growing data traffic. Not only do corporate customers need powerful systems to handle their glut of e-mail, PDFs, PowerPoint files and so on, but they also must comply with SEC 17a-4 and a litany of other record retention regulations.

Sun Chairman Scott McNealy, fresh off of handing the CEO slot to Jonathan Schwartz, discussed Sun’s data management position at a quarterly news event this morning in Washington, D.C.

Sun executives also shed more light on projects Honeycomb and Thumper, two storage systems designed to handle huge amounts of data.

Project Honeycomb is a cluster architecture that uses new metadata and search tools to retrieve files in large storage systems much more efficiently. Project Thumper is a machine that will help customers store non-transactional data.

In a preview of the event, Tom Martin, director of network attached storage (NAS) at Sun, said Sun believes the industry is moving from what was formally known as the Information Age to what Sun is calling the Participation Age.

He noted that computer users are creating blogs, wikis, RSS feeds and other Web services that are devouring bits and bytes on Web users’ machines.

“More and more people are doing more on this global network than just retrieving information,” Martin explained.

“They’re actually creating and publishing and editing content all of the time. The result of this is a massive explosion of applications on this global network and services that are all driving high data growth.”

Rather than focus on just storing data, Martin said Sun wants to help customers simplify the way they access and manage data, a familiar mantra that EMC, IBM and other storage vendors have been uttering in recent years.

To accompany the new packaging of its storage offerings, Martin said Sun will introduce the Sun StorageTek 5320 NAS Appliance, the next machine in the company’s NAS portfolio.

The 5320 joins the entry-level 5210, the enterprise-level 5310 and the 5310 gateway NAS systems.

Martin said the 5320, based on technology from Sun’s purchase of Procom’s NAS assets and powered by AMD’s 2.6 gigahertz Opteron chips, boasts 50 percent more performance than the Sun 5310.

Customers who have the existing storage systems can protect their investment by swapping out the older NAS head for a new 5320. Martin said the 5320 will start at $49,990 for a 2.4 terabyte system.

Sun will also expand its Try-and-Buy program for servers to include storage products. Customers and reseller partners will be able to evaluate and test the 5320 at no charge for two months, with the option to purchase the system.

Sun, which virtually doubled its storage sales when it acquired StorageTek last year, expects the 5320 to help it better compete with Network Appliance and EMC in the competitive NAS market for housing data files.

To celebrate its StorageTek integration, Sun will also unveil Sun StorageTek Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) entry-level system 4e and enterprise-grade system 5.

Both are virtual tape (VTL) solutions for storing mainframe data on a virtual disk and migrating it to a tape device based on policies.

Article courtesy of

Clint Boulton
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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