NetApp customers are suddenly finding themselves with a range of options for things like storage networking and data management.
The big news of the week is the company's arrangement with 3Par that ties together the InServ platform with the 3000 and 6000 versions of the V-Series appliance through either Fibre Channel or iSCSI. The move is widely seen as giving NetApp a leg up in the SAN market, even if it does mean linking its file gateway to someone else's storage infrastructure.
It also means that EMC has a strong rival when it comes to SAN/NAS combinations for companies that are currently struggling with incompatible file- and block-based systems, according to this article in IT Week. What's more, it creates a sticky relationship between NetApp and 3Par, who will both compete and cooperate with each other over the same customers' system upgrades. When something goes amiss with an Inserv/V-Series configuration, which firm do you think will own up to the problem?
Drawing less attention than the 3Par deal, but probably just as significant, was NetApp's announcement that it will offer Brocade's 5000 fabric switch as part of its SAN portfolio. The move provides instant access to either the Brocade Fabric OS or the McData OS, outfitted with all the tools needed for non-disruptive SAN fabric expansion and performance enhancement. Plus there's the small fact that the switch provides 32 Gbps throughput and load-balancing across trunks up to 250 miles.
And for SharePoint users, NetApp has added the SnapManager for the SharePoint Server 2007, providing a new source of backup, recovery, deployment and management tools. The system can be combined with other NetApp solutions, such as SnapMirror and SnapShot for replication and mirroring services, as well as the FlexVol storage pool management system.
For NetApp customers, greater interoperability with the wider world of network architecture can only be a positive development. It's a far cry to say that the company has opened up completely, but at least there are now a range of options for legacy appliances and greater flexibility for new ones.