The deal had industry watchers wondering about the future of Sun's OEM relationship with VTL leader FalconStor, but Sun said in a statement that "the Diligent relationship does not change the Sun commitment to the current VTL roadmap. Our VTL family is based on FalconStor software ... the Sun-branded VTL products are integrated and tested appliances, adding significant value to customers due to Sun's investment in testing and they are supported end-to-end by Sun."
A Sun spokesman said the company also plans to offer FalconStor's de-dupe technology with its OEM offering at some point, easing speculation that Sun might turn to Diligent for de-dupe technology.
Sun will resell Diligent's enterprise and midrange offerings through both its direct sales teams and the channel. Diligent and Sun already have joint ProtecTIER customers, Diligent said, some with more than 1 PB of physical storage under management.
"This is another big win for Diligent," said Heidi Biggar, analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group. "It is a further testament to the strength of the ProtecTIER solution in both midsize and especially large data centers where there have been some questions about the ability of de-duplication technologies in general to meet the rigors of these types of environments."
"Data de-duplication in enterprise data-centers is a significant technological challenge, requiring specialized architecture, combining scalability, flexibility and resilience," said Diligent CEO Doron Kempel. "Our cumulative experience successfully serving this market, and the references we've obtained over 18 months of production deployments, continue to be determining factors in customers' and partners' decisions to adopt ProtecTIER."
The deal closely follows Diligent's $10.5 million funding round announced last month.
StorageIO founder and senior analyst Greg Schulz said the deal could also strengthen ties with HDS in the high end, since Sun and Diligent both have relationships with HDS. He dismissed the importance of the deal to FalconStor, noting that FalconStor leads the VTL market, while Data Domain has been the early leader in data de-duplication.
"One thing is for sure, expect a lot more de-dupe debates and discussions tied around VTL conversations in the weeks and months to come, particularly around Sun and their OEM and reseller partners," said Schulz.