Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sun has a new plan, but can they execute on it any better now than they did in the past?

Sun wants to dis-integrate storage industry


"Sun is hatching a plan it hopes will literally disintegrate the storage industry by removing the value that comes from integrating software and hardware into storage appliances.

Joe Heel, Senior Vice President of Sun's Global Storage Practice told TechTarget ANZ that: "In general computing, value stack has unbundled the different pieces of computing like the CPU, the operating system and applications. This has commoditised some components and elevated the important of the operating system."

"In storage this has not happened," leaving storage dominated by business models Heel likened to computing businesses from the mainframe era in which vendors provided all of the technology in their products. That dominance was famously undone as minicomputers and eventually PC-based systems mixed and matched components from different sources, a trend that gave rise to the Wintel hegemony.

Sun believes that today, the likes of EMC and NetApp are similar to mainframe providers and therefore susceptible to a new approach.

"In storage we want to drive this unbundling," Heel said. "The intent is 'de-mainframising' of storage."

The company's first attempt at this project so will be an open source network attached storage (NAS) device due in early 2008."

Most of the customers we do business with have a substantial amount of Sun equipment in their infrastructures. If Sun can clearly differentiate why their storage is now better, cheaper or able to provide a longer term ROI, perhaps some customers will delve into their storage platforms.

However, Sun has a reputation for being difficult to deal with, just like the storage competitors they are targeting. It is very hard to change a business model, it will be interesting to watch what happens.

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