Sun Thinks Small on Storage

Intros entry-level SAN and NAS, blade servers as part of Network Computer 03 launch

February 10, 2003

3 Min Read
Network Computing logo

Amid its broader Network Computer 03 product launch today, Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) will roll out new members of its low-end SAN and NAS family, as well as a new blade server platform (see Sun Expands Low-End Line).

Sun has now put together a credible entry-level storage lineup, which analysts expect to be the fastest growing segment of the market. The new StorEdge 3510 Fibre Channel array starts as small as a 2U-high chassis with five 36-GByte drives for $22,995. The StorEdge 3310 NAS system, which starts at $18,995, is designed to complement Sun's new blade server system, says Bill Groth, senior director of storage systems marketing at Sun.

The new storage systems, which will be shipping next month, are "really tailored to roll out with the entry-level servers we're rolling out," Groth says. "We can now provide products that can compete head-to-head with anything in this class."

Also today, Sun will launch its first blade server platform, which will support multiple servers, running either Sun UltraSparc or Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) processors, in a rack-mounted chassis. To manage the system, Sun will introduce N1 Provisioning Server 3.0 Blades Edition, based on software from its TerraSpring acquisition last year (see Sun to Pilot N1 in Q1 and Sun Bounces on Terraspring).

Sun developed the new storage subsystems with Dot Hill Systems Corp. (NYSE: HIL), which built the base arrays to Sun's specifications. The 3510 and 3310 are the follow-ons to the 3300 SCSI array Sun rolled out in September 2002 (see Dot Hill Becomes Sun Worshipper and Sun Rolls Downmarket).Groth says Sun is targeting the new systems at small and medium-sized businesses -- those with 1,000 or fewer employees -- as well as "Tier 1 and 2 Web infrastructure" providers. In another new development, Sun's low-end storage line will be distributed by Tech Data Corp. (Nasdaq: TECD).

The 3510 Fibre Channel array is "really the only system on the market that merges enterprise features with value pricing," claims Groth. The system provides up to 12 drives per 2U chassis; three units can be connected, for a total of 36 drives, or 5.2 TBytes configured with 146-GByte drives. In addition, the 3510 provides eight Fibre Channel host ports and up to 1,024 logical unit numbers (LUNs), which is at least twice that of competing products.

"Most of our competitors are offering de-featured midrange products for this market segment," says Groth.

But at least EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), which sells a good portion of its low-end and midrange storage through Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL), would dispute this. Moreover, EMC argues that its Clariion CX line is able to provide unmatched flexibility as a customer's storage needs increase over time. The entry-level CX200 shares the same software, hardware architecture, and disk drives as the CX400 and CX600, providing an upgrade path up to 35 TBytes -- nearly seven times what Sun's StorEdge 3510 offers.

Meanwhile, Sun's 3310 NAS server is available in the same drive configurations as the 3510 and runs an embedded, proprietary operating system (Groth wouldn't tell us which one) that can support as many as 128 file systems. The NAS server supports both Common Internet File System (CIFS) and Network File System (NFS) protocols. "This is an ultradense solution, optimized for a blade server environment -- it's capable of supporting hundreds of blades," Groth says.Sun will also introduce a low-end autoloader, the L8, an eight-drive, 2U-high device intended for first-time tape automation users. The L8 autoloader, licensed from Advanced Digital Information Corp.

Stay informed! Sign up to get expert advice and insight delivered direct to your inbox

You May Also Like

More Insights