Sun Microsystems last week laid out a road map for its storage and IT services strategy, saying it will offer multivendor storage management technology and focus on helping IT managers consolidate the servers and storage devices in their data centers.
But Sun executives were long on vision and short on details during the four-hour press briefing.
"Can someone please stand up and describe what the strategy is?" said John Webster, an analyst at Data Mobility Group in Nashua, N.H., in an interview after the announcements. "I think they're really struggling with this."
Mike Karp, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates in Boulder, Colo., lauded Sun for its ability to produce good technology, but criticized its marketing. Sun officials do appear to understand some of the basic benefits that data center consolidation efforts can deliver to users, Karp said. But, he said, "they've not been able to articulate a strategy for two years."
Mark Canepa, executive vice president of network storage at Sun, said the company is developing multivendor storage management software using the Storage Management Interface Specification, a set of models and protocols that's designed to let storage management tools control disk and tape devices from multiple hardware vendors.
Canepa also emphasized Sun's N1 strategy for dynamically allocating storage devices and other system resources to applications as needed. Sun acquired storage virtualization technology when it bought Acton, Mass.-based Pirus Networks Inc. last November, and Canepa said it plans within the next "several quarters" to unveil automated provisioning software that can serve up pooled storage like a utility.
Although Sun didn't provide full details about when and how it will be able to support management of multivendor storage-area networks (SAN), Susan Sparks, director of corporate information systems for the provincial government of Nova Scotia, said as part of the briefing that such capabilities are no longer a big issue for her.
Sparks, whose agency runs back-office applications for Nova Scotia's schools, housing department and health care system, standardized this year on SAP AG's software and an all-Sun SAN.
"People out there are living the day-to-day nightmare of supporting multivendor environments," she said. "I'm not anymore."