Strong Story for Storage for Server Virtualization
NetApp continues its strong position in server virtualization solutions, citing VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and Cisco as partners. NetApp:
- Has 12,051 joint NetApp & VMware ESX customers
- Guarantees a 50% reduction in storage capacity for virtual environments (read the fine print)
- Is number 2 in iSCSI storage for virtual servers in the US (Dell is number 1)
- Was awarded Citrix Ready solution of the year
- Has been named the Microsoft 2009 Partner of the Year, in the Advanced Infrastructure, Storage Solutions category. NetApp was chosen out of an international field of top Microsoft partners for delivering market-leading customer solutions for Microsoft Hyper-V environments.
Moreover, NetApp has tools that:
- Manage VMs and storage together
- Empower virtual server administrators to:
- Provision storage
- Perform backups & recovery
- De-duplicate data
- Clone virtual machines
- Integrate with VMware
- SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure, Rapid Cloning Utility, Site Recovery Manager
- Integrate with Citrix & Hyper-V
Indeed, NetApp claims to be the first to have this degree of integration with Citrix and Hyper-V, going so far as to have these vendors use NetApp’s APIs. What’s more, NetApp is ready with its tools for VMware’s recently announced vSphere.
Clearly, NetApp remains a leader in this market segment.
SANscreen – A Hidden Gem
SANsceen came from the acquisition of Onaro. What started out as a great SAN auditing tool and evolved under Onaro to an even better storage change management system, this tool now provides:
- Real-time visibility into the “storage services” delivered by a storage infrastructure.
- Management of storage as a true end-to-end service with path-based service policies, violations, and change-planning capabilities.
- Improved resource utilization and application performance created by aligning storage resources with application service levels.
- Global visibility into storage resource allocation.
- Visibility of VM configurations.
Interestingly, while SANscreen supports other vendors' storage, it does not yet support NetApp CIFS and NFS filers, yet it must now compete for the channels' attention along with all the other NetApp products.
One-on-One with Dave Hitz, Founder and EVP
Speaking with Dave Hitz is always a stimulating pleasure, and our conversation with him at Analyst Days was no exception:
- Data Reduction: How much more can we get? Given that data de-duplication is reaching mainstream and in-line data compression is becoming viable for primary storage, e.g., Storewize, what else can technology do? Can we get much more? Dave believes that there is still room for application-aware data reduction, especially for virtual machine images. And of course, versus fixed-length chunks, higher data reduction ratios are possible with a variable-length chunk approach like that of Data Domain.
- Reducing the chance of silent data corruption: Jeff Whitehead, CTO and co-founder at Zetta, recently blogged about the sure probability of silent data corruption as disk storage installations grow up into petabytes. Dave pointed out that was why NetApp introduced double parity RAID (RAID-DP) and also that data deduplication, by its nature, reduces that probability.
- How to Castrate a Bull: Dave recently released his new book by that title and gave attendees a copy. It is delightful, insightful and highly recommended. It chronicles his journey with NetApp and is peppered with wonderful tidbits such as rules for managing people and problem solving:
- “Who owns the problem?
- Do I trust them?
- How do I find an owner I trust”
- For the answers read the book.
Conspicuously missing this year was any kind of presentation on the future of storage. NetApp did spend a lot of time explaining that it already was a big Cloud player in that its products were widely deployed by Cloud providers. And, that it did not intend to address the Cloud any further. When the CEO, Dan Warmenhoven, was asked didn’t NetApp have a skunk works project somewhere for the Cloud, his response was “I wouldn’t know because I’m the CEO.”
Action Item: If NetApp is going to grow revenues beyond taking market share in its traditional markets, it should consider borrowing a page from Onaro/SANscreen and expand its deep experience with server virtualization into more products that support heterogeneous storage products. Indeed, server virtualization is so hot today that NetApp must seize this opportunity and grow away from just storage and into information infrastructure. NetApp should also develop a better Cloud story.