Shining light on Sun's storage strategy

Shining light on Sun's storage strategy

Sun Microsystems has attacked the storage market with a vengeance, as company officials talk up acquisitions, investments and new products on the way. The vendor claims a Sun server and storage pairing gives customers one place to shop and "one throat to choke," positioning Sun well against the storage king EMC.

The company recently finalised its acquisition of storage software maker LSC, and on Monday (May 7) launched a set of storage appliances -- the StorEdge N8400 and N8600 Network Attached Storage (NAS) products, designed to give users storage space while requiring minimal configuration. In addition, Sun's chairman and chief executive officer Scott McNealy said last week the company would continue making storage acquisitions throughout 2001.

While Sun may talk a good game, analysts claim the vendor needs to live up to its words to gain market share in a lucrative space.

"Sun tells a good story, but it only holds up in some cases," said Roger Cox, an analyst with Gartner.

The StorEdge products were only Sun's second and third NAS offerings respectively, marking a slow move toward a high growth market. Beyond its limited NAS line, Sun has also been losing share in the market for storage products linked to its Solaris operating system, falling behind EMC in a market it should own, according to Cox.

"Sun only got about 32 per cent of that market, when they should be getting 100 per cent," Cox said.

In 1999, Sun held 35 per cent of the Solaris-related storage market, while EMC owned 39.5 per cent of the same segment. Sun then lost ground, down to 32 per cent or about 1.2 billion in sales in 2000. Conversely, EMC pulled in 44 per cent or 1.7 billion in sales.

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