Sun Shines on AppIQ

Startup will supply SRM software for Sun, and menage with Hitachi could soon follow

February 24, 2004

3 Min Read
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Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) and storage resource management software vendor AppIQ Inc. entered into a licensing and co-development deal today (see AppIQ Partners With Sun). And it looks as if their union could lead to a three-way relationship with Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). [Ed. note: Storage Trois, anyone?]

Sun’s deal with AppIQ is similar to one struck between AppIQ and Hitachi last October (see HDS Expands Software, Services). Sun and Hitachi also are partners; Hitachi is the OEM for Sun’s high-end SAN system.

Sun will incorporate AppIQ’s technology for heterogeneous storage management into its own storage management suite, branding the product as StorEdge Enterprise Storage Management, powered by AppIQ. It will mark the first time Sun has extended its storage management software across products other than its own. Availability is planned for late this year.

Hitachi incorporates AppIQ’s software in its HiCommand SAM (software application management) suite.

So what's the distinction between Sun and Hitachi when it comes to AppIQ? “The main difference between the two deals is the focus,” says Nancy Marrone-Hurley, senior analyst of the The Enterprise Storage Group Inc. “Hitachi integrated AppIQ into its storage, while Sun will integrate AppIQ into its systems environment. Now there’s the opportunity for the three of them to work together.”Neither Sun nor AppIQ want to get into details of how they might make a threesome with Hitachi, though Derek Maxwell, Sun’s manager of storage management software, stresses AppIQ's support of the Storage Management Initiative (SMI) and Common Interface Model (CIM) for software: “It helps that both vendors [Hitachi and Sun] are building on the same software platform,” Maxwell says.

AppIQ was among the first vendors to build software around the SMI and CIM from the start, before the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) ratified the techniques as standards (see AppIQ, Take Two). Now that major players are lining up behind them, AppIQ could boost Sun and Hitachi in their efforts to get on the bandwagon.

Lining up partners like Sun and Hitachi should give AppIQ a lift in its battle for industry acceptance over the likes of fellow startups CreekPath Systems Inc. and DataCore Software Corp. “They have two major endorsements, and that type of product is best sold by larger players,” says analyst Arun Taneja of the The Taneja Group. “People want it from a bigger company because they don’t trust a startup.”

For its part, Sun's use of AppIQ fits its plan to emphasize storage as a piece of its overall network computing strategy (see Sun VP: Our Storage Is Undervalued). The tack hasn’t worked so well lately, as Sun has struggled with sales and market perception (see Sun Reduces Q2 Loss and Sun SANs Slapped).

Still, Sun is actively battling to rise again. It recently brought back co-founder Andreas "Andy" Bechtolsheim as senior VP and chief architect of its volume systems products group, as it absorbed his startup Kealia (see Sun Deals for Handy Andy). Sun also extended its deal to acquire low-end SANs from Dot Hill Systems Corp. (Nasdaq: HILL), which did enough business with Sun to turn a profit the last three quarters (see Dot Hill's Alive & Well).— Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

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