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Sun Revamps Midrange Storage Line With New Arrays

The Sun StorageTek 6140 and 6540 arrays offer a significant boost in performance. The devices will compete with EMC's recently released Clariion CX3-20 and CX-80.
Nearly a year after closing its $4.1 billion acquisition of StorageTek, Sun Microsystems has revamped its midrange line of storage arrays that features key designs from both companies.

The Sun StorageTek 6140 and 6540 arrays replace Sun's StorEdge 6130 and StorageTek's FlexLine 200/300, and offer a significant boost in performance. The arrays will compete with EMC's recently released Clariion CX3-20 and CX-80.

Sun has added 4-GB Fibre Channel support with an integrated switching subsystem, which can double overall SAN performance, according to company officials. Also significant is the modularity of the system: Customers can combine Serial ATA-2 and Fibre Channel disks in one tray.

Sun officials emphasize this is the first line that brings together technology of both companies.

"This combines the best of Sun and StorageTek," says Jason Schaffer, Sun's director of product management. "StorageTek has a legacy of being very good in terms of providing heterogeneous support for partners, while Sun has a lecacy of good packaging and simplicity."

With this release, Sun also took the wraps off its STK Common Array Manager (CAM), which provides a common interface for managing multiple Sun arrays, says Joseph Zhou, a senior analyst at Ideas Research. That software, which offers advanced copy and replication, and automated management capabilities, will be free with the systems.

"Those capabilities are usually charged as optional premium features from other providers of Fiber Channel arrays," Zhou says.

Both systems have fully redundant architectures, Sun says. The 6140, which starts at $25,000, has eight front-end Fibre Channel ports and supports up to 112 disk drives. The 6540, which starts at $85,000, also has eight ports with support for up to 224 drives.

Sun's Schaffer says he predicts about 70 percent of the 6140s will be sold through Sun's channel partners, while the higher-end 6540 would be closer to 50 percent. Training for partners has only recently begun, he says.

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