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NetApp's ZFS lawyer's letter and Nexenta

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Security for virtualized datacentres

Update NetApp has sent an almost cease-and-desist letter to Coraid saying withdraw your EtherDrive Z-series NAS product, which uses ZFS, or we will take appropriate action. Coraid did, But NetApp appears not to have written to Coraoid's ZFS supplier Nexenta, which also supplies Compellent with ZFS technology for its NAS product.

Nexenta CEO Evan Powell said in a statement: "I am not a patent law expert and cannot comment specifically on NetApp and Oracle’s legal battle. However, I find NetApp’s behavior consistent with what typically transpires when established legacy technology companies are confronted with innovation that threatens their price structure and profit margins."

"They first protest that the technology is unproven and unstable, then it lacks enterprise features, then adequate support and services and finally, when all else has failed, that it is violating their intellectual property. This is the path that NetApp has taken in the last two years with the ZFS file system."

"Based on the explosive and sustained growth in adoption of Nexenta’s Open Storage software based on the ZFS file system, it is clear that our partners and customers are confident that this case will reach a settlement that follows the trajectory of almost every technology market in the last 15 years - low cost, high innovation and open solutions that provide a clear and competitive alternative to closed, proprietary and expensive technologies."

Were Nexenta to face a NetApp cease-and-desist letter its business would be grievously affected if it withdrew its products, and grievously affected if it did not, as the lawyers' fees would mount up and the risk of losing the case could deter new customers as well as causing fear, uncertainty and doubt amongst its existing customers.

Update: ZFS user GreenBytes has not received a letter from NetApp's lawyers. Nexenta has definitely not received a letter from NetAp's lawyers. NetApp has so far been unable to respond to questions on the matter. ®

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