February 13, 2003 4:24 PM PST

Sun storage pact bears more fruit

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The partnership between storage specialist Dot Hill and Sun Microsystems moved another step forward this week with the release of two new storage systems from Sun.

Sun released its StorEdge 3510 FC and 3310 NAS storage systems during a massive product launch Monday. The systems sport the Sun logo but were actually designed by Dot Hill as part of an agreement that began in 2002.

The first fruit of the partnership was the StorEdge 3310 SCSI, a product that lacks the Ethernet network connection abilities of the 3310 NAS. The 3510 is the same size as the 3310--a 3.5-inch-thick rack-mountable system--but can connect to special-purpose storage networks using the Fibre Channel technology. The system has eight Fibre Channel ports.

Under the partnership Sun also will sell a 1.75-inch-thick system later this year, said Dot Hill spokeswoman Helene Dashefsky. Sun also uses some of Dot Hill's management software.

Sun has a long history of partnering with other companies in the storage market, but its products haven't always fared well. In addition to the partnership with Dot Hill for lower-end storage systems, Sun relies on a deal with Hitachi Data Systems for its top-end products.

Dot Hill, formed in 1999 through the merger of Artecon and Box Hill, had a net loss of $12.4 million on revenue of $16.3 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2002. The company has financial ties to Sun; Dot Hill borrowed $4.5 million from Sun that it expects to pay back by June.

The Dot Hill products comply with a stringent standard called NEBS, which certifies that equipment can withstand specific amounts of heat, cold, smoke or jolts.

The 3510 FC array has a starting price of $22,995 and will be available at the end of February, Sun said. The 3310 NAS will be available by June with a starting price of $18,995.


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