Sun is to unveil a number of server appliances to add to the N8200 network-attached storage product launched in April, writes Nicholas Enticknap.
The company has not released details, but confirms it is preparing an onslaught on this emerging market which, says Bloor Research analyst Martin Brampton, "is growing in popularity".
According to UK product marketing manager Chris Sarfas, the push is a logical progression for Sun. "Over the past two years, we have evolved our server range so that it now goes from bottom to top, from small to enterprise class. In conjunction with that we have been OEM-ing our technology. For example we've developed a cut down version of Solaris which is tuned solely for running Oracle. They sell that software bundle to other suppliers." Companies selling Oracle appliance servers include Dell, Fujitsu Siemens and Hewlett-Packard.
Sarfas continues, "It makes sense to put the cut-down Solaris on our own servers. We have announced the N8200 storage appliance server, and we are looking to extend that. The main thing about appliances is that they make administration easy. Each is tuned for the application we are trying to serve."
Sun is the latest of a number of major players to attack the potential of the server appliance market. Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and IBM have all launched server appliances this year, joining a number of specialist start-ups such as Cobalt Networks and Network Appliance.
IDC expects this year to be "pivotal" in the development of the market. The research company is forecasting growth from well under $1 billion last year to over $11 billion in 2004. Network-attached storage will account for more than half of sales throughout the next four years, says IDC, but Web server appliances are the fastest growing sector.