It has been a quiet period for Sun's Data Management Group (DMG), the combination of the acquired StorageTek and Sun's in-house storage efforts. The friends of Sun have been getting impatient for news. What is likely to happen if we combine Sun's interesting 6920 storage controller with StorageTek hardware and software products? Where will the HDS TagmaStore play in the Sun-StorageTek product roadmap? What might happen on the NAS front with Honeycomb free to play with StorageTek ILM products?

It is all so enticing in prospect but ears laid to the ground have picked up nothing. Sun's last quarterly product announcement was a bit light in the storage area. What has been going on? What is going on?

A person close to events at Sun says that the marketing people in DMG are ready to roll and sound their drums. The new DMG product roadmap for the next five years has been agreed. The partner roadmap is agreed - and that must have been a hard nut to crack with hundreds, thousands, of channel members across Sun and StorageTek whose interests have to be reconciled.

The product strategy is going to feature several themes. One of them is compliance and intelligent archiving with identity management. This is a natural fit of StorageTek product and customer base strengths and Sarbox-type issues so dominant in everyone's thinking.

There is going to be a strong focus on network-attached storage (NAS), a big Sun push. There is also going to be a new mainframe-friendly Sun.

For some Sun Solaris/Sparc people the StorageTek acquisition might have been seen as a way to go to StorageTek mainframe-using customers and say, "Keep the StorageTek library but now you can ditch that old mainframe iron in front of it and have bright, shiny new Solaris/Sparc tin instead."

This view hasn't materialised. Instead the opposite view prevails. Sun is going to be talking to mainframe users in a positive manner; it's going to be mainframe-friendly and build on StorageTek's high-end customer base.

Sun has a tremendous opportunity here. Because of the StorageTek acquisition Sun's DMG has an extraordinarily broad line of products and customers. It has a vast array of customers open to its approaches, a huge challenge to rise to. The word on my part of the street is that it's ready to rise to that challenge and start beating its drum. We'e listening out in anticipation.