Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) is trying to make up lost time in the NAS market.
A longtime NAS laggard, Sun aims to leverage NAS software originally licensed from Procom Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: PRCME) last year (see Sun, Procom Form Alliance). For $50 million, Sun bought Procoms software and part of its engineering team outright early this month (see Sun Buys Procom NAS Assets). Now, all systems are "go," as armed with Procoms intellectual property, Sun heads for the NAS battlefield.
By buying instead of building, Sun hopes to accelerate development of high-end NAS, making it a mainstay of its storage strategy. What we really wanted was the technology Procom spent years developing," says Chris Wood, CTO of data management for Sun. "If we built NAS from the ground up, it would be 18 months until version 1.0. Or, for a relatively small sum of money, we could acquire that technology now. This immediately puts us in contention in the NAS space."
Wood says that NAS, over time, will become the predominant method of accessing storage. Thats a big change from a year ago, when Sun had no NAS products.
A flurry of recent activity in the NAS space makes it tough to go from nobody to contender overnight. Market leaders Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) are busy adding products and major partners to face each other off; Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) has jumped into NAS; and startups keep improving their technology and grabbing funding. (See Dell Adds a NAS, Cisco & EMC Close NAS Deal, IBM, NetApp Ink OEM Pact, NetApp Promotes SATA, EMC Launches High-End NAS, Isilon Lays On $20M Icing, and BlueArc Branches Out.)