Recently my track record on Sun predictions has been 100 percent - wrong. HDS is going to buy the 6920 business? It hasn't. HDS is going to buy the entire Sun storage business? It hasn't. David Yen is leaving? He isn't. Hmm. Still I think we got it right over the X4500 Thumper storage/server and also Honeycomb. Both are looking to be key products in Sun's storage resurgence.

Sun presented to financial analysts in San Francisco on February 6th and David Yen covered the storage business. However, Jonathan Schwartz, Sun CEO, and two other executives also touched on storage matters.

Yen's pitch

David Yen surveyed Sun's storage mansion and said the building was in good shape. In common with other execs he started by saying that Sun had a 4S strategy: software, systems, services and storage.

His storage strategy is:-

- Maintain leadership in tape, archive, and virtual tape
- Deliver best-in-breed disk storage by integrating Sun and partner IP
- Innovate new storage paradigms
- Expand the community of storage developers

He reviewed a decade of tape innovation and predicted 2008 would see a new VSM5+ virtual tape product, a new tape library, codenamed 'Crimson' and a fourth generation of 9940-format capacity-centric tape following on from the T10000, offering 1TB per cartridge using the same media as the T10000. A ST9840De drive would offer 80Gb and 30MB/sec transfer. This is called an Access Drive, what used to be called performance-centric.

He confirmed the importance of extending Sun's virtual tape product from mainframe to open systems and the importance of Sun's tape products generally. The StreamLine 8500 is selling very well indeed; it has been adopted at more than twice the rate of other new StorageTek large libraries.

Yen said that Sun's disk portfolio was the strongest it had ever been, mentioning in particular the 6140 and the 6540. He also overviewed the NAS products: 5220; 5320; 5320 cluster; 5320 gateway and gateway cluster.

Then it was X4500 time with Yen saying it was the world's first Web 2.0 server. There are six X4500-based products ('solutions') 'in the works'. The X4500 will be used in the future for network-attached storage and as the base for a virtual tape library running the FalconStor VTL software, in other words, the replacement for the unsuccessful VSM Open product.

Honeycomb (Sun StorageTek 5800) was described as 'programmable storage and he mentioned its self-healing capability. Yen said that Honeycomb client and server software would become open source, as would Sun's CIFS client. Michael Keller, a university librarian from Stanford University, said that a Honeycomb project si underway that will involve hundreds of terabytes of storage.

The 6920 was not mentioned.

More on Thumper

Schwartz said that the Sun Fire X4500 Thumper hybrid server, with its 24TB, Solaris and ZFS, and general purpose AMD Opteron CPU is where storage is headed. It costs $1-2/GB and that cost is declining. It represents the convergence of servers, storage and open source software. He sees volume capabilities in this box and one of Schwartz' mantras is 'volume drives value.'

John Fowler, Sun's systems EVP, said the X4500 is suited for use in high performance computing, back office and web infrastructure, which means an expanded role from its original data warehousing/video serving start.

Eco-friendly Sun

Andy Bechtolsheim, chief architect SVP at Sun's Network Systems talked about matters green and mentioned in passing a hybrid tape/disk device, saying that this and tape were eco-friendly. I think we will see Sun banging on the green drum for its storage more and more.