Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/12/07/netapp_mars/

NetApp launches SECRET MARS MISSION, seeks egghead

We drill into storage biz's Red Planet development

By Chris Mellor

Posted in Storage, 7th December 2012 10:25 GMT

The Reg storage desk has learned of a Mars project at NetApp. So we've sent our own Curiosity rover - specifically, a Google bot - to scan for job descriptions. This is what it transmitted back:

NetApp SW Engineering Manager for Mars Project

Part of NetApp Mars software engineering manager job description

What kind of new storage product that involves both hardware and software, is new to NetApp's product arsenal, and is highly strategic could this be? We found no job vacancies for hardware engineers, which suggests that NetApp could be using bought-in hardware and adding software, storage applications, to it.

Mars clearly does not run DataONTAP, NetApp's disk array controller operating system. As it's new and cutting edge we don't think it's an E-Series product either. El Reg thinks it is an all-flash array to be used by virtualised servers, and it has a shipping date of 2013 or 2014 pencilled in.

Further, we think it's possible that this is going to be an acquired flash array technology and not one developed by NetApp in-house.

CEO Tom Georgens said in the third quarter fiscal 2013 earnings call: "As I think about our flash strategy in the long run, I do believe that flash will exist at every level of the hierarchy, including perhaps even more levels than currently exist. ... There will be more instantiations of Flash as time goes on. I think you should expect us to participate in those."

NetApp's John Rollason, director for product, solutions and alliances marketing in EMEA, said: "I can confirm that ‘Mars’ is indeed a NetApp project codename. However, we can’t discuss unannounced projects with you unfortunately." ®