Hot from Sun's Forum at Las Vegas comes confirmation of some disk array rumours and denial of others. The storage strategy in a nutshell, as outlined by David Yen, head of the storage division at Sun, and Nigel Dessau, VP storage marketing, is:-

1. Sun is going to concentrate on its own hybrid server/storage boxes such as the X4500, aka Thumper, and Honeycomb.
2. Tape, or rather data protection hardware and software, remains key with a product roadmap outlined for virtual tape libraries.
3. Mid-range drive array offerings will be slimmed down. Sun will not develop its own me-too arrays where perfectly good OEM offerings exist.

Hybrid storage/server products

Honeycomb is still in development. Stanford University is now using it and Oxford's Bodleian library is also said to be receiving a unit. The X4500 has recently gained a supercomputer centre customer.

Mid-range disk

The LSI Logic-sourced 6130 is going to end-of-life. It's a slow 2Gbit/s FC array and will be replaced by the faster 4Gbit/sec 6140. This is a Sun product which has featured in the FalconsStor software-based virtual tape library VTL Plus product. The 6540 Sun-built array will continue as well.

The high-end 9990 virtualising drive arrays sourced from HDS (TagmaStore) will continue as well.

Sun's own mid-range virtualising array product, the 6920, is, based on nods, winks and comments from Dessau, up for sale or outsourcing of its production to a third-party. HDS has developed mid-range versions of the TagmaStore and Sun will probably prefer to spend its 6920 R7D cash somewhere else and use the HDS product instead.

Tape and tape-based products

The VTL PLus product will be developed and Sun and FalconStor will jointly develop software for a new VTL Enterprise appliance, scaling up to 1PB capacity and with improved tape archive integration. (That suggests integration with the StreamLine libraries.) The VSM Open mainframe virtual tape library will continue.

File system

The Zettabyte File system (ZFS) is going to have a global namespace facility added to it. Two other file systems - StorageTek's QFS and SAM-FS - will be integrated with it. ZFS should or could become Sun's main file system sometime in 2007.