StorageTek users face product wait

Former StorageTek customers face a wait to see what will happen to the products they are using now that Sun Microsystems has completed its takeover of the storage firm. Sun is still working on its product roadmaps for the combined company but has said it is looking to cut products in the disk and software areas.

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By  Caroline Denslow Published  September 11, 2005

Former StorageTek customers face a wait to see what will happen to the products they are using now that Sun Microsystems has completed its takeover of the storage firm. Sun is still working on its product roadmaps for the combined company but has said it is looking to cut products in the disk and software areas. In its statement announcing the completion of the US$4.1billion deal, Sun said that, while there was very little product overlap between Sun and StorageTek, in the disk and storage management software areas “product collaboration can be achieved and Sun expects to do this within the next two months.” Analyst firm Gartner has predicted that StorageTek’s Storability storage management software is at risk of being dropped, as well as its Shared Virtual Array (SVA) product line. It is advising Storability customers to “reconsider” their plans. Sun announced its intention to buy StorageTek in June (see IT Weekly 11-17 June 2005). Now the deal is completed, StorageTek becomes part of a newly-formed business unit within Sun, the Data Management Group, which has three distinct arms: Disk, Tape and Information Lifecycle Management Solutions (ILMS). Storage now accounts for around a quarter of Sun’s business, making it of critical strategic importance for the company. Graham Porter, marketing manager, Sun Microsystems Middle East and North Africa, said there are a number of pending issues that have to be addressed before a new storage strategy can be completed. “In terms of the product roadmap we have a few deadlines, which are coming up before the end of the year, so at the moment we haven’t decided exactly what products we will continue to sell or how we will brand them,” Porter told IT Weekly. “My expectation at the moment is we are looking at something like October or November before we can provide some rationalisation as to what products will be retained and what they will be called,” Porter said. “We are not expecting a huge amount of product lines to be cut because, on the whole, it’s fairly complementary. If you look at what we have today, even from our own products or from StorageTek or other parties, there’s probably only around 10% overlap. You won’t see a lot of changes,” he added. In the region, StorageTek customers include the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the Banque Saudi Fransi and Kuwait National Petroleum Company. While one user contacted by IT Weekly said he was “very much concerned” by the deal, others were more upbeat. “Most of our customers are happy about the merger, as always there are some who are sceptical but most of the people in the market have a positive response,” claimed Sudhakar S, business development manager at StorIt Distribution, a StorageTek sales partner. “I don’t think we should take it too seriously,” he said. While Sun is still working out how to integrate the two companies at regional level, Porter confirmed that David Beck, former regional manager of StorageTek for the Middle East and Africa, would be joining Sun’s Middle East office. “We are looking forward to have Dave on board. We’ve known Dave for many years because we’ve been working with StorageTek for quite a while,” he said. “The bigger issue is looking at the partners that he’s been working with and figuring out what to do with the StorageTek partners,” he added.

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