Sun CEO discloses plan to merge storage, server units

Sun Microsystems Inc. CEO and president Jonathan Schwartz this week disclosed in his blog that the company plans to combine its storage and server product organizations into a new group called the Sun Systems. The realignment comes about two years after Sun paid about US$4.1 billion to acquire tape vendor Storage Technology Corp.

The new business unit will be responsible for aligning the company’s server, storage, virtualization and networking technology, Schwartz said.

Schwartz suggested in the blog post on Monday that the decision to combine the units comes as IT executives struggle to manage increasingly integrated system, storage and networking systems.

The new unit will continue building and selling standalone storage systems, he said. “I’m expecting our Systems team to be just as focused on standalone storage and networking as they are on building great integrated systems,” noted Schwartz in his blog.

A spokesman for Santa Clara-based Sun declined to elaborate beyond the blog post on the reorganization plan, except to say that executive vice-president John Fowler will head the new unit. Jon Benson, senior vice-president of Storage at Sun, will report to Fowler, the spokesman said.

The moves comes about two months after a survey of 100 executives at Fortune 500 companies by Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. concluded that Sun’s storage business is losing market share to rivals IBM, Network Appliance Inc., Hitachi Data Systems, Dell Inc. and EMC Corp.

Schwartz, however, contended in the blog that Sun’s storage tape and archive portfolio is a significant long-term strength for the vendor. He tried to paint a rosy future for the technology despite a growing number of IT organizations replacing tape technology with disk-based and online storage/backup alternatives.

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