Sun Microsystems was big on partnerships and virtual tape technology at this week's Sun Forum user conference, but a little short on details.
Sun announced plans to take its OEM relationship with FalconStor to the next level through joint development of an enterprise-class virtual tape library (VTL), and also announced a new partner network.
Sun Storage executive vice president David Yen said the joint development agreement with FalconStor will give Sun exclusive features for its enterprise VTL, including enhanced functionality to meet the data protection needs of large enterprise customers, but Sun offered no details on what those features will be.
A Sun spokesperson characterized the deal as moving from an OEM relationship to a joint development relationship. While the recently announced VTL Plus is based on FalconStor's latest software, "the VTL Enterprise we previewed today will have Sun-only features/functionality developed as a result of that relationship," the spokesperson said.
Sun said the next-generation virtual tape solution "will capitalize on the strength of Sun's systems portfolio, including the Solaris Operating System, to enable customers to streamline their backup processes with enhanced functionality around key requirements, including high availability, disaster recovery and back-end physical tape integration and policy-based management."
Sun said the new solution will also leverage assets created in the development of StorageTek's Virtual Storage Manager (VSM) Open technology and through joint collaboration with FalconStor.
"With the combination of our Sun Fire servers running the Solaris OS and our expanded collaboration with FalconStor, Sun will deliver enterprise-class open systems virtual tape solutions that virtually no one in the market can match," said Yen.
Greg Schulz, founder and senior analyst at StorageIO, noted that "over a year since Sun acquired STK, Sun finally gets around to announcing that they are going to provide virtual tale library capabilities for open systems environments via a partnership with FalconStor after having previously announced they were deferring development of their own technology. While not earth-shattering, it's great to see David Yen be able to make announcements and help to reinvigorate Sun storage solution offerings.
"The good news here for Sun users is that they will finally be able to get a Sun-branded VTL for open systems leveraging field-proven technology from FalconStor," said Schulz.
Still, Schulz said, it remains to be seen how the Sun-branded technology will differ from that of other FalconStor partners and other VTL solutions from the likes of Diligent and Sepaton.
Sun said the new offering with FalconStor will be available in 2007.
FalconStor's VTL software is the basis for a number of offerings, including those from EMC, Copan, McData and Sun.
Also at the conference, Sun announced the Sun StorageTek Ready platform, a group of Sun technology partners "committed to ensuring certified storage product interoperability and cooperative support across Sun's product portfolio." Inaugural members include BakBone, Brocade, Dot Hill, EMC, Hitachi, HP, LSI Logic, McData, Oracle and Symantec.