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Sun to introduce low end storage products, exec. says

Sun Microsystems Inc. intends to introduce new products for the low end storage market including a new Linear Tape Open (LTO) offering in its fiscal year 2008.  The move is in reaction to poor sales of products that Sun sells to the low end storage market which contributed to the company’s dismal storage revenue performance in its fourth quarter.   

Bret Schaefer, Sun’s vice president, investor relations, outlined Sun’s storage plans during a call on Wednesday as he tried to put the best face forward on Sun’s surprisingly positive overall fourth-quarter results and dismal performance in its storage division.   

Sun’s storage products revenue for Q407 was $639 million  — a decrease of 10.4% compared to the same period last year.   Schaefer said the decline was the result of weakness in low end tape and disk sales and that Sun will have to turn its storage business into a more profitable position moving forward.  Schaefer touted to storage analysts the success of the Sun Fire X4500, otherwise known as the Thumper. Sun shipped nearly 20 Petabytes of Sun Fire X4500 in Q4 and is now on an annual billing run rate of $100 million.  Sun executives view the Sun Fire X4500 as the foundation for a new line of data warehousing appliance based on general purpose computing and open source operating systems.   

During Monday’s Q4 earnings call Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz said Sun is also hanging its hat on its virtualization strategy, saying in Q4 the company began to see the impact of Sun’s virtualization investments with support for Solaris 10 containers and as of last month support for bundled virtualization giving customers the ability to buy fewer but more richly configured systems and storage on both Sparc and x64 platforms.

“We clearly see Solaris and its core virtualization properties as opening a world of new opportunity beyond computing,” Schwartz said on Monday. 

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