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NetApp chucks staff at OS merger

Block-level VTL de-dupe before year-end

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Frustrated by drawn-out development schedules, NetApp has put all its US-based engineers to work on merging 7G and GX, its two ONTAP operating systems.

The company will also release its first block-level, de-duplicating virtual tape library (VTL) well before the end of the year.

NetApp storage arrays, with the exception of its VTL products run a single operating system - Data ONTAP - in one of two versions. The standard version is 7G, while GX adds the ability to cluster NetApp arrays together to provide a single super filer or block-mode storage array.

The code in GX comes from NetApp's acquisition of Spinnaker in 2003. At the time the intention was to bring 'Storage Grid architectures to market more quickly'. Five years later it still hasn't been done in the form of an integrated ONTAP O/S.

Clustered filers provide expandable and high-performance file name spaces which suppliers like Isilon, with its IQ product line, are exploiting and winning sales at NetApp's expense.

A merged ONTAP would provide an upgrade path for existing NetApp customers into larger NetApp product configurations.

A source suggested that the merging has become urgent and NetApp has focussed all of its US-based software engineers on the task. The company has been unable to provide a real answer on this, which suggests the answer is 'yes.'

The ability to have a far more space-efficient VTLs through block-level de-duplication will be delivered before year-end, according to a NetApp spokesperson. It is already available in other NetApp storage array's through ONTAP 7G's ASIS technology. ®

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