Questions hang over Sun, Symantec, HP

It is often said that storage administrators are highly risk averse. If so, their risk adversity meters must be somewhere in the red zone at the moment. Vendor uncertainty and instability is highly correlated to perceived risk, and there are some big storage vendors out there with some large question marks hanging around their necks.

Let's start with Sun. A few weeks ago, I attended an analyst event held at one of Sun's large campus-type facilities here on the East Coast. During that event, a very highly placed Sun marketing executive told us that its storage group would be making a major network attached storage (NAS) push later in the year. However, last week I heard that the NAS marketing people were reassigned to other jobs. Whoosh - gone. And not a day goes by lately without someone asking me: what's the future of IntelliStore? Answer: IntelliStore has no future and NAS may be in the same boat (again).

Next up is Symantec. When the Veritas acquisition was announced, I was skeptical. I saw two very different companies motivated to hang on to each other for very different reasons. Last week we got word of problems with the latest release of NetBackup - a flagship data protection product aimed at the enterprise customer base that Symantec now covets. How can this happen? Two words: merger distraction.

Finally, HP. The boardroom leak scandal (Carly-gate?) is a big story for sure and HP is a big storage player, but should storage administrators pay much attention to the who-betrayed-who-and-how point counterpoint? Only if they want to be entertained.

I'd be remiss not to advise storage administrators to keep Sun at the top of the watch list. Sun Storage is a loose football at the bottom of a big pile of players. Keeping them on the watch list is just good due diligence. I'm less concerned about Symantec/Veritas. Yes, there's some dissention in the Veritas ranks, but that will eventually work itself out. And while I think there's a slim chance that I may regret saying this a year from now, I don't think HP's boardroom skullduggery will have any real affect on HP's storage customers. As a now former HP director says, "This too shall pass."

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