Sun adds mix-and-match disk storage, multivendor software

Sun Microsystems this week announced four storage products, including upgraded software with multivendor management capabilities and a pair of midrange storage devices that can mix and match Fibre Channel and Serial ATA disk drives within the same box.

The storage rollout is part of Sun's quarterly product launch, which is being held in San Francisco.

Chief among the new storage offerings is the latest version of Sun's Enterprise Storage Manager software. ESM 3.0 can use the Storage Management Initiative Specification (SMI-S) to control rival disk arrays from EMC, IBM, Hitachi Data Systems and Hewlett-Packard, Sun officials said.

Sun first embedded support for SMI-S into its software 18 months ago. But until now, the company has been able to give storage administrators only a consolidated view of its own hardware, said Mark Canepa, executive vice president of network storage at Sun.

Sun also introduced its second network-attached storage device, a midrange product called the StorEdge 5310 NAS that can scale up to 32TB of capacity with Fibre Channel disk drives and 74.5TB using a combination of Fibre Channel and Serial ATA disks.

Serial ATA is a less expensive technology that can be used for secondary storage, enabling data backups to be done within the same box used for primary storage.

In addition, Sun will unveil the StorEdge 6130, a midrange disk array that can also mix Fibre Channel and Serial ATA drives with a maximum capacity of 33.6TB.

The company is also adding a tool called the Compliance Archiving System. The software offers write-once, read-many capabilities, plus audit-trail options for Sun's NAS devices, setting them up as potential competitors to fixed-storage products from vendors such as EMC.

Charles Sears, manager of research computing at the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University in Corvallis, said he's having trouble completing disk-to-tape data backups during his allotted processing window. The amount of data the school stores on high-performance Fibre Channel disk drives in its Sun storage devices is "growing exponentially," Sears said. As a result, he's looking at using Serial ATA technology to provide a near-line backup capability.

Sears uses Sun's ESM 2.1 software, and he hopes over the next month to upgrade to the new version of the software and manage the devices under one umbrella. "That would be nirvana," Sears said.

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