Sun returns to network attached storage

Sun will introduce a number of new storage products, including a new server that signals the company's return to network-attached...

Sun will introduce a number of new storage products, including a new server that signals the company's return to network-attached storage tomorrow (20 September).

Called the StorEdge 5210, the server is a midrange Nas appliance that will use a 3.06GHz Xeon processor and a stripped-down operating system licensed from Procom.

It will come with 4Gbytes of memory and six Ultra 160 SCSI hard drives, each with 146Gbytes of storage.

The system will include a data snap-shotting capability, an easy-to-use management interface and an installation wizard that will allow users to configure the box within 15 minutes, according to Sun.

Sun's previous attempts at Nas devices, the Sun StorEdge N8400 and N8600 servers, were taken off the market a year after their launch in 2001. Analysts said at the time that they did not perform as well and were not as easy to use as those of competitiors Network Appliance and EMC.

Sun struggled with earlier attempts at NAS products because the company was more focused on selling Sun Fire servers for file serving instead of taking the "appliance" approached pioneered by Network Appliance, said Arun Taneja founder of analyst firm The Taneja Group. "They never really could convince the people that created Solaris that they should create a stripped-down version of Solaris for the Nas box," he said.

Sun will announce the release of its first storage array based on technology it acquired through its 2002 purchase of Pirus Networks. The StorEdge 6920 will come in four configurations, ranging in capacity from 4Tbytes to 16Tbytes of storage, and it will be the first of a number of products in Sun's Integrated Data Services Platform, which will use the storage virtualisation capabilities developed for Pirus's switches.

Customers will be able to use the Pirus technology to represent different Sun storage devices as a single, virtualised storage array, a capability that is normally handled by server software, Taneja said. He expects Sun to extend this capability to non-Sun arrays,he said.

Sun also plans to unveil an integrated archive storage system, similar to EMC's Centera, the company said.

Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service

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