Network Appliance releases new products, strengthens partnerships

Network Appliance Inc. on Monday announced two new network attached storage (NAS) appliances, some new solutions and broader partnerships with Veritas Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., and FileNet Inc. to help its customers deploy best-of-breed storage solutions, the company said.

The FAS980 and the FAS980c are two new high-end storage filers designed for the heart of the enterprise data centre. The devices run on NetApp’s Data ONTAP 6.5 operating system and store up 64TB of data if clustered. An individual unit will hold up to 32TB of data. The FAS980 and FAS980c’s predecessors – the FAS960 and FAS960c – scaled up to 24TB of data individually and 48TB if clustered, said Jeff Goldstein, general manager, Network Appliance Canada Inc. in Toronto.

NetApp has also released a new near storage device that employs ATA disks called the NearStore R200. The product allows companies to mirror data from their primary storage devices onto NearStore, which then backs up to tape at a slower pace. It will also include NetApp’s new RAID-DP, which will be built in to the company’s entire line of enterprise storage systems. RAID-DP allows for two disks to fail on a RAID array, without losing any data, according to the company.

In addition, NetApp’s gFiler – a storage gateway between Hitachi Data System’s SAN environments to NetApp’s NAS environment – now supports IBM Corp.’s storage platforms, and the new SnapMover software balances workloads between different gFiler systems.

NetApp has also extended its relationship with Cisco Systems Inc., whereby it will support and sell Cisco’s 9000 series of switches. NetApp will also integrate its SnapLock software into Veritas Inc.’s Data LifeCycle Manager 5.0, and SnapLock will also be integrated into FileNet Inc.’s P8 Content Manager.

Bob Passmore, research director, storage, at Gartner Inc. in San Jose said these announcements make NetApp stronger in the storage market than it was before, because it is filling the holes in its offerings through its partnerships and new products.

“NetApp is more trying to gain incremental business from their existing customers set than it is trying to go after the market head-on,” he said.

Essentially, NetApp leads in the NAS market, and is still playing catch-up in the SAN market, compared to its biggest competitor EMC Corp., Passmore said, but the situation is not as black and white as that.

“We’re in a pretty mature, sophisticated market today. A vendor like EMC has a got an extremely broad portfolio, as does IBM, as does Hewlett-Packard. NetApp actually has a much narrower portfolio than any of those three vendors, but what it does, it does very well,” he explained.

NetApp’s Goldstein said that one reason why the company has chosen to expand its offerings through partnerships, as opposed to trying to create everything itself, is to offer customers best-of-breed storage solutions, while being able to focus on its core competencies.

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