Many people are recognizing Sun's increasing interest in bolstering the company's market share in the mainframe tape storage business. Among them is Chris Preimesberger, whose eWeek piece Sun Makes New Move into Mainframe Storage discusses this subject, along with the project IBM and Sun have collaborated on to enable OpenSolaris to run on Big Blue's System z mainframes.
This collaboration also caught the eye of Trevor Eddolls who commented in his blog that virtualization has made it possible to clear a lot of hardware out of the machine room, resulting in both infrastructure and carbon footprint savings. In view of this development, Eddolls continues, it's propitious that Sun can link to and help manage an IBM mainframe.
The OpenSolaris-IBM demonstration followed the earlier announcement by Sun and Dell that Solaris and OpenSolaris have both been sanctioned for use on all Dell servers.
Support for both mainframe and open systems is not new to Sun. A Q2 2007 report by IT researcher IDC revealed that about 80 percent of customers in the 1,000-slot-and-higher class use the StorageTek SL8500 Modular Library System, which supports both mainframe and open systems within the same physical library.
Jay Wallace, Sun's director of mainframe storage marketing, recently announced that Sun is investing a substantial amount of time and money in the next-generation mainframe storage sector and will be coming out with a number of new products in that genre over the next several months to augment the older StorageTek catalog.
"The mainframe storage business has a huge upside at the high end," Wallace said. "A lot of companies who invested a lot of time and money in rack-mount servers are revisiting the idea of mainframes, largely because the new ones are much more energy-efficient and easier to deploy than the older ones."
Wallace also remarked on the Sun StorageTek VSM5, now available with 53 percent more throughput than was possible at initial release in mid-2006. Wallace elaborated that Sun StorageTek engineers have enhanced the VSM 5 to improve its performance capabilities to 613 megabytes per secondmore than 50 percent faster than both competing storage offerings and earlier VSM release versions, a performance boost that also enhances disaster recovery capabilities to mission critical data.
Further evidence of Sun's ambitions in the mainframe storage market lies in its claim to the industry's only access-centric enterprise tape drive, the T9840 product line. Preimesberger reports that Sun claims it has shipped more than 100,000 T9840 tape drives since its inception in 1998. Further development continues in the T9840 drive platform with a fourth generation utilizing the same physical media forthcoming, Wallace noted.
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