Network Appliance Digs Deep into Enterprise Storage

At an event held concurrently with Internet World Fall 2002, NetApp tackles enterprise management with new storage software and accompanying products.
NEW YORK - Staging a full assault on competitors, Network Appliance Tuesday unleashed the company's new flagship offering, which serves as the concern's first storage appliance to support Fibre Channel SAN environments. NTAP touted the FAS900 series as the industry's first unified storage engine capable of handling networked storage in SAN and/or NAS mode.

Hawking its vision that "not all data is created equal," Network Appliance vowed to meet challenges head on with the help of a new portfolio for fibre channel storage area networks (SAN) and strategic partnerships.

The Sunnyvale, Calif. company's efforts this week to unify storage consolidation, data center operations, business continuance, and enterprise applications all work toward making the job of IT managers easier, while saving businesses money normally on additional IT employees to take care of complex computer systems.

Network Appliance, in an effort to help IT managers simplify data storage from a single interface, also devised the latest version of DataFabric Manager -- the point of control for the company's storage software -- to allow centralized management of dispersed NetApp data storage in SAN or NAS enterprise environments. DataFabric Manager 2.1 manages new and legacy NetApp NAS devices, NetCache appliances and NearStore products. DataFabric Manager also manages the new FAS900 series.

The initiatives also move to satisfy industry calls for single platforms that handle both SAN and NAS for block access and file access, according to Enterprise Storage Group Senior Analyst Steve Duplessie. Companies had previously picked either the storage area management or the network-attached storage tack, touting one as more effective than the other.

"Network Appliance's approach to unified storage offers this solution and eliminates the SAN vs. NAS argument that is no longer relevant for today's data-intensive enterprise," Duplessie said.

According to Mark Santora, senior vice president of marketing at Network Appliance, the FAS900-FCP series has already achieved inclusion on the Hardware Compatibility List for Microsoft.

To further bolster its strategy, NetApp has partnered with several infrastructure-minded firms Tuesday, including Brocade, Oracle Corp., VERITAS Software, AppIQ, BMC Software, CA, NuView, and Precise Software's Storage Solutions Division.

For the major firm alliances, NetApp has inked an OEM agreement with switch maker Brocade to facilitate its entry into the SAN market space, allowing the companies' mutual customers to take advantage of the benefits of SAN and NAS to enhance storage networking simplicity and functionality. With Oracle, NetApp said it now has tighter technology and support alignment. NetApp has worked with VERITAS Software to qualify the FAS900 series with VERITAS Software's storage management software.

Network Appliance, who competes with the likes of VERITAS, EMC, HP, IBM and Hitachi, is also seeking to extend the tendrils of its enterprise services portfolio with three new services packages and a new nine-step consulting methodology with professional services.

In related news, Network Appliance inked an expanded agreement with IBM to provide enterprises and service providers with content delivery network (CDN) software. The deal combines IBM's middleware, servers, and services with Network Appliance's content delivery appliances and software, establishing a CDN reference architecture that simplifies the creation, management, archiving, and delivery of such applications as enterprise intranet portals, streaming media applications and consumer pay-per-view services.

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