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5/15/2006
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Sun Merges Server Groups, Names New Storage Head

Among the units merged are the Scalable Systems Group and the Network Systems Group, which is responsible for Sun's Opteron servers.

Sun Microsystems combined its server groups into one organization and named a new head of its storage operations as part of a reorganization the company announced Monday.

Sun said Mark Canepa, head of its Data Management Group, has left to pursue other opportunities after 10 years at the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company. He is being replaced by David Yen, formerly vice president of Sun's Scalable Systems Group, which encompasses Sun's SPARC servers.

Sun also merged its Scalable Systems Group and Network Systems Group, which is responsible for Sun's Opteron servers, into one unit. The new group is called the Sun Systems Group and will be run by executive vice president John Fowler, who previously ran the Network Systems Group. He will now oversee all Sun systems products, ranging from x64-based servers to UltraSPARC IV+ products and Coolthreads-based T1000 and T2000 systems.

Fowler and Yen will report directly to Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's president and CEO. "We see alignment and acceleration opportunities in combining our systems efforts," Schwartz said.

Mark Teter, CTO of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based Sun solution provider, viewed the changes as positive. "I got the impression that Canepa didn't get involved with the channel intimately," he said. "I know that wasn't his job. It just seems his relationship with the channel wasn't as close as with his peers."

"You can see the synergies they're leveraging out of the server group," Teter added. "Having Yen come from the server side is a good move. He has credibility in the industry."

Teter also noted that Fowler has a good track record, since he helped bring Sun's low-cost SunFire Opteron servers and T1 servers out on time.

In his prior role, Fowler focused on delivering industry-standard network computing systems for Solaris, Linux and Windows. He and his team are largely responsible for the success of Sun's x64 industry-standard servers, according to Sun.

As executive vice president of SPARC systems, Yen was responsible for driving Sun's throughput computing and networking initiatives. Under his leadership, the SPARC systems group has unified Sun's microprocessors, enterprise systems and SPARC-based volume systems initiatives, and he has been a key advocate of Sun's OpenSPARC initiative aimed at creating a multicore, multithreaded ecosystem, the company said.

With Yen and Fowler, Sun's storage and server technologies should have improved synergy, according to Teter. For example, he said, Sun's new NAS 5320 leverages its AMD Opteron-based Galaxy server platform, and the upcoming Honeycomb security appliance and Thumper high-performance file server are based on technologies from Sun's acquisition of Kealia, a server technology firm founded by Andy Bechtolsheim, one of Sun’s co-founders.

Schwartz stepped into the CEO role late last month. Scott McNealy, Sun's long-time chairman and CEO, continues to serve as chairman.

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