Don't throw out those Sun STK libraries yet . . .

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It's been a little over a year now since it was announced that Oracle would buy Sun, and in the intervening time, there has been a great deal of speculation over what would happen to Sun's storage division.

I know I've been waiting with bated breath (ok, that might be a BIT strong) to find out what the future of Sun storage would be, and now we have at least a small nugget of information (Oracle has been frustratingly mum on the topic since the acquisition). As you might have guessed, there is good news and there is bad news for Sun storage customers:

  • The good news: Sun storage lives! Oracle met with some of their largest customers (1 PB+ of data in STK libraries) last week to discuss the future roadmap for enterprise tape libraries. We don't have any details yet, but we do know that in the next 12 months we can expect to see new product releases for tape libraries, tape drives, and virtual tape libraries for mainframe. The only major omission from this list is the open systems VTL offering, StorageTek Virtual Tape Library Prime, which doesn't surprise me much considering that traditional open systems VTLs seem to be phasing out and being replaced by backup to disk appliances (basically a VTL without tape emulation).
  • The bad news: It's going to be more expensive and less flexible. Are you really all that surprised? Oracle hardware support policies that went up on the website in mid-March state that support must be purchased on each piece of hardware and is not allowed to lapse (or else pay 150% of the last support bill to be compliant), AND the support clock will begin ticking the minute the gear is shipped to the customer (rather than when it is deployed in the customer's environment). Oh, and not to mention that support costs have also doubled.

The net-net? Oracle/Sun is definitely in the storage market for the forseeable future; however, the resemblance to the Sun StorageTek you remember is dwindling. It will remain to be seen if Oracle can stop the bleeding and earn back their storage customers' trust.

We've had a lot of client inquiries recently about migrating off of Sun storage in the backup environment. I'm curious: what are all of you out there thinking?

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