NetApp opens fire on EMC

NAS wars

channel

NetApp has opened fire on EMC with the launch of the midrange FAS3020 and 3050, its first family of storage devices to support both Serial-ATA and Fibre Channel drives as primary storage.

"In the NAS market it's just us and EMC," asserts Tim Pitcher, the company's newly-promoted European strategy and business development veep. IDC's figures seem to back him up - NetApp was by far the biggest NAS vendor to Western Europe last year in revenue terms, although Dell and HP both sold more boxes than NetApp or EMC.

The FAS3020 and 3050 replace the FAS920 and 940, with around double the performance and four times the disk capacity - up to 50TB and 84TB, repsectively. Like earlier FAS models, they are not just NAS systems - they can also provide SAN volumes via either iSCSI or Fibre Channel. Each 3000 series box can support up to 20 2Gig Fibre Channel and 24 Gig Ethernet ports.

NetApp systems engineering director Stuart Gilks says the company is doing very well in iSCSI, especially among mid-sized Windows sites. "We have 2,000 live iSCSI customers," he says. "The majority are Windows, Exchange and SQL Server, and they're running on FAS so it's also providing NAS for other applications, all on the same network and the same platform. We're seeing some traction for iSCSI in Linux, but NFS works better in that environment."

He adds that the new SATA shelves can also be added to other current FAS models. "The combination of dual-parity RAID, our DataOnTap software, and the optimisation we've done on SATA allows it to replace Fibre Channel as the primary storage in some applications," he says.

As well as the FAS3000 which includes storage arrays, NetApp also announced equivalent new members of its diskless V-Series of virtualising storage controllers. To emphasise the competitive point, the only major array vendor not supported by V-Series is EMC - it can virtualise and provision arrays from Hitachi, HP, IBM, Sun, Engenio and Storagetek.

"We have demonstrated it working with Clariion," says Pitcher, "but when we add an array we have to have support from that vendor."

He admits that, unlike EMC's supposedly non-disruptive Invista storage router, virtualising a non-NetApp array with V-Series will require data migration work. However, at just over $50,000 for a basic V3000 or $35,000 for a FAS3020, NetApp is considerably cheaper. ®

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