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Get Focused….

I was interested to see Chris Mellor's story that NetApp are pulling all their development resource off of existing workloads and focusing on getting GX into OnTap. I used to work for a guy whose maxim was 'get focused or get f****d' and in NetApp's case it looks like get focused or get cluster f****d. I see lots of vendors touting clustered NAS solutions; HP, Exanet, iBrix, onStor, IBM, Isilon too just name just a few; all of them bring up NetApp and GX, all of them are very disparaging about GX and probably with good reason but I think NetApp have finally been poked with the stick enough times and are really waking up at last. They can't keep telling us that GX is great but the next release will be the one which really works; it needs to be the one which really works, offers all of Ontap's functionality and it needs to be with us in the next six months.

If NetApp get GX properly integrated into Ontap, they are going to have a big job countering all the FUD out there but at least they will have a working solution; I'm waiting to see EMC's play in the Clustered NAS Space. I can see an acquistion but then they're going to have to be careful to not to do an NetApp and take 5 years+ to integrate it; if they do, they can forget it or just capitulate the high-end.

And then there is Microsoft's move into Cloud computing and what that means for the market; Chris is predicting doom and gloom with mass consolidation in the storage market. I think even without Microsoft's move into the cloud, we were going to see consolidation in the industry; there are just too many array vendors at the moment. I think he's actually massively under-estimating the number (and that includes that fact that LSI make arrays for a number of people and Hitachi's storage is rebranded by HDS, HP and Sun).

The cloud could also spell trouble for Microsoft, its a move into a business that I don't think they understand. Can you imagine an outage which takes out tens of thousands of businesses? Amazon's outage shows what can and will happen. Perhaps a couple of outages of this sort of scale will scare enough people and will save the storage vendors.

Whatever happens large-scale clustered storage solutions are going to be very important; how these scale-out storage solutions are built and delivered and on whose platform will be interesting. Maybe storage virtualisation to enable anybody's spinning rust to be utilised will be very transient because there just won't be that much choice? Maybe MAUI will be EMC's silver-lining to the cloud? And maybe NetApp will get GX working just in time? And maybe someone will develop some management tools as opposed to administration tools.


  1. How soon we forget. EMC has/had NSX scalable clustered NAS. NetApp has had Spinserver for almost 5 years now, they said it was integrated 2 years ago, clearly that isn’t the case since it has gone nowhere in all this time, which is a shame because the Spin stuff worked 5 years ago!
    Also, LSI provides much of the IBM storage portfolio as well as for SGI.

  2. Martin G says:

    Neither EMC or NetApp in their mainstream product offerings have a NAS product which can offer
    1) 16 Terabyte+ filesystems
    2) 16 Terabyte+ files
    For some of us strange people, this is becoming a problem.
    And of course, LSI now supply HP with yet another string to their storage harp. Although the strings are now so twisted, it’s a rather discordant harp.

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