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Sun, Hitachi Talk Storage

5:40 PM -- Hitachi Data Systems and Sun have been storage partners for years, and industry insiders say that partnership could lead to the next huge storage acquisition.

There are whispers that Sun will sell off all or part of its storage business, and HDS is considered a likely candidate to buy. One source with ties to Hitachi says HDS's parent company in Japan has discussed a deal with Sun execs, but nothing is imminent.

"Sun is talking to Hitachi Japan about its storage," the source says. "Both sides are exploring their options."

Those options are for Sun to sell its entire storage division one year after acquiring StorageTek for $4.1 billion, or to sell only its disk or only its tape business to Hitachi. (See Sun Sets on StorageTek.)

Neither of those options makes sense right now. It's unlikely Sun would surrender its entire storage line so soon after buying and integrating StorageTek. And why would Hitachi want Sun's disk business, when it has its own SAN portfolio, including the enterprise TagmaStore SAN that Sun resells now? It also doesn't make sense for Hitachi to get into the tape business at a time when tape is in decline.

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