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  1. Technology
January 29, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Sun Microsystems Inc launched its bid for the storage market beyond its own Solaris user base on Wednesday, saying it intends to double the size of its storage revenues over the next three years, with one third of that business expected to be on non-Sun platforms. It already claims to be the number one seller of storage systems in the Unix marketplace. Sun has a new brand name for the effort – StorEdge – and is even building a new manufacturing facility to build the products. The new effort was spurred on by its acquisition last year of the storage systems technology and people from ailing Encore Computer Corp (CI No 3,170), and the company has re-launched Encore’s Infinity SP range as the A7000 Intelligent Storage Server, but only after extensive testing and limiting supported platforms to Solaris, HP/UX and IBM MVS mainframes, it says. The A7000 supports up to 32 SCSI, Block Mux or Escon host connections with fiber channel planned for the future, and has a 2.9Tb capacity and up to 4Gb of mirrored, non-volatile cache. The key element of the A7000 is, of course, Encore’s data sharing software, which still appears to be unique in the industry, and allows for the direct sharing of mainframe, Unix and NT data without file transfers. That facility requires its own Unix core operating system running on an Intel co-processor, so it won’t be appearing on any of Sun’s other storage products for the time being, at least. The most interesting of those is the A5000 RAID Storage Array, previously known as the Network Array 5000 or under its Photon codename (CI No 3,276). Photon, using dual fiber channel arbitrated loop technology, has been shipping for two months, and Sun says it’s stacked up 200Tb of sales in that time something Sun says took Data General Corp 13 months to achieve for its own It’s aimed at customers who want very high availability and high-performance input/output. At the low-end, Sun has introduced a new Compaq- killer workgroup class storage unit, the A1000, due to ship in two months, scaling from 20Gb to 150Gb, and will initially support only Solaris, although HP-UX and NT support are slated for later in the year. The faimily is rounded out by the A3000, previously known as the Sun RSM Array 2000 subsystem, a 75Gb to 20Tb departmental and data center system that’s been shipping for six months, and now supports NT and HP/UX. Stretching across the entire range is a set of standards and specifications Sun calls its Intelligent Storage Network architecture, a long-term strategy for customers building heterogeneous storage systems, intended to enable the use of interchangeable building block components. Sun has its targets set firmly on EMC Corp, IBM Corp, Data General Corp’s Clariion division and Compaq Computer Corp with its new products. Prices start at $286,000 for the A7000, $35,000 for the A5000, and $89,000 for the A3000. No pricing has been announced for the A1000.

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