Sun, Veritas team on NAS-SAN combo


Sun Microsystems and Veritas Software have teamed up to provide a network-attached storage (NAS) product that competes head-on with NAS market leader Network Appliance's filers. The Sun-Veritas bundle provides a dedicated storage area network (SAN) for its NAS heads, which consist of Sun's workgroup and enterprise servers running Veritas software.

Within the last six months, EMC, Hitachi Data Systems, and IBM have all entered the NAS market with products linking NAS and SAN architectures.

Sun and Veritas are distributing the NAS servers through distributors GE Access and MOCA, which are testing and certifying the products. Sun and Veritas are banking on the distributors' mass- market reach to penetrate the NAS space.

"Both companies have an increasing [distributor] channel focus, and we want to leverage each other's strengths in the channel," says Don Foster, vice president of partner sales at Veritas.

The new product, called "Data Availability for NAS powered by Veritas and Sun," is available in three turnkey configurations: workgroup, department, and data center. Veritas ServPoint Appliance Software for NAS runs on the Sun servers. The NAS head is attached to Sun's StorEdge T3 disk array, which scales from 640GB to 10+TB and is configured for RAID 5. Each bundle is available in either single- or dual-node versions; however, ServPoint software can support 32-node clustering.

Veritas also provides its Point IntimeCopy (PIC) and NetBackup software as well as support for NDMP.

The Sun-Veritas turnkey network-attached storage (NAS) system combines Sun servers and disk arrays with Veritas software.
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Pricing ranges from $98,000 to $1.6 million for a high-availability configuration. "The pricing is very competitive with what the leaders are offering," claims Neville Nandkeshwar, product manager for Veritas' appliance software management. "We're very comparable with Network Appliance."

ServPoint is Veritas' first entrée into NAS, according to Nandkeshwar. "We took about one year to make sure that what we came out with is equivalent or better than what the leaders in the marketplace have," he says.

Although Sun has been selling its own NAS products, "this program allows for integration with the different Veritas tools," says Tim Belcher, senior storage manager for channel development providers at Sun. "What differentiates it is the cluster capability. Sun's filers don't have cluster capability," he adds.

The Sun-Veritas NAS product uses Sun's T3 arrays. In contrast, Sun's N8200 NAS filers are based on Sun's A1000 arrays. Belcher says future Sun-Veritas products may include entry-level appliances similar to Network Appliance's F85 that may include Sun's A1000 arrays.

Sun considers Network Appliance and EMC to be its biggest competitors, according to Belcher. However, IBM's and Hitachi's recent entries into the market cannot be discounted. "Those announcements validate the market and the architecture we're going after. I'm confident that, based on the combination of Sun and Veritas positioning, our appliance will run as well as or better than any of those, [but] our focus from a sales perspective is definitely NetApp," says Belcher.

However, NetApp does not consider the Sun-Veritas NAS product to be a competitor, according to Ray Villeneuve, vice president of strategic marketing at NetApp. "Their product is not a true appliance, and it can't deliver the same performance as a NetApp solution," Villeneuve claims. He contends that the Sun-Veritas combo is not an "appliance" but a "full-blown server."

But Sun's Belcher counters that the Sun-Veritas NAS system is an appliance. "This is an appliance that can be turned on in less than 20 or 30 minutes, just like NetApp's," he says.

This article was originally published on August 01, 2001