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The Sad Future of Sun Storage

Cutting to the chase, IBM may be the real winner here, because it won't get saddled with Sun. But what does the Oracle acquisition mean to the storage part of Sun? Well, of course, the leftovers at Sun will make this sound as if this was the best deal ever and that the Sun storage offering will be better than ever. Really?

First, expect major layoffs after the acquisition is complete at the legacy Sun divisions. Oracle has a track record of doing so in past acquisitions (PeopleSoft, Siebel Systems, and BEA Systems), so don't expect this to be any different.

Mr. Ellison seemed most excited about getting Java from the deal, and really not much was mentioned about storage. From a storage perspective, what does Sun really have? It has its unified storage system, the 6580/6780 storage arrays, the whole ZFS effort and, of course, the whole STK library family.

Despite some success with the Unified Storage System, it still has a long uphill climb; the traditional storage arrays are OEMed Engenio arrays, so they could cut those back pretty easily. I think one of the diamonds in the storage end of this acquisition is ZFS and the Open Storage effort. ZFS is gaining traction among many suppliers and users. A quick announcement from Oracle supporting the effort would go a long way, closely followed up with a commitment to leave it alone and allow the community to continue the development effort.

The second storage diamond in this sale, oddly enough, is the STK Library family. I know, I always pick on tape -- it's fun, tape sales are either flat or only declining slightly, but even flat tape revenue for STK is pretty good. Oracle can just milk this cash cow without much additional development effort. Oracle would just have to deal with minor upgrades to enable support for future drive technologies.

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