Sun is re-integrating its storage and systems businesses. The aim is to generate more innovation, more products and get them to market faster.

Currently, Sun has divided its storage product activities. Broadly speaking there is a storage systems set of products, such as the X4500 'Thumper' inside executive VP John Fowler's System business unit. Then there is a storage-as-peripheral unit, looking after the tape libraries and drive arrays, under senior VP Jon Benson.

In effect Benson runs the now separate StorageTek products unit and Fowler the internally generated systems storage products which have nothing or little to do with the storage products gained through the StorageTek acquisition.

The StorageTek operation has been through some leadership and senior executive changes, culminating in David Yen's move to head a new Sun Microelectronics business. At that time it was thought that the operation was in a stable organisational footing.

But Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz decided otherwise.

The distinctions between servers, storage and networking are becoming harder to see and so the two separate storage activities will now be combined inside John Fowler's Systems business unit, with Jon Benson reporting to John Fowler and no longer directly to Schwartz.

Nigel Dessau, who did storage marketing, has that role subsumed into the enlarged Systems Group marketing and he has a new job looking after the partner strategy group. This looks at relationships with Microsoft, AMD, Intel and others.

The new enlarged Systems team will work on the evolution and convergence of computing, storage and networking systems. It means that the huge rump StorageTek business is going to get rays of sunshine poking into every product corner. The expectation is that the overall storage business will be energised.

Existing product roadmaps remain unchanged. The Hitachi Data Systems and LSI relationships remain unchanged.

Customers will also see no change as customer-facing organisations: sales, services, and the channel people retain their existing server and storage flavours. It is only the 'back-end' storage and systems organisations that are now combined - engineering and marketing.

Benson said it should help across the entire storage portfolio, from primary disk to archive.

At the event conference call, John Fowler talked of the combination of separate networking efforts: Fibre Channel and SAS from the storage group; and Infiniband and 10GigE from the systems group. Now all the switched networking work is combined inside the new Systems Group.

Much was made of the X4500 as an exemplar product representing the intersection of servers and storage with Sun software IP. The storage group's software efforts largely get transferred to Rich Green's software group in Sun, except for specialised things like mainframe tape virtualisation.