NetApp de-dupes competitors' arrays

Posted on September 01, 2008

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By Kevin Komiega

NetApp has fired a shot across the respective bows of its competitors with the announcement that its V-Series family of storage virtualization controllers can now front-end primary storage systems from any vendor with virtualization and data de-duplication capabilities. The V-Series product line already enables customers with non-NetApp storage systems to run the NetApp Data ONTAP 7G operating system. Now, the V-Series allows customers that have EMC, Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Hewlett-Packard (HP), or other storage systems to deploy NetApp de-duplication technology—which is a free feature of ONTAP—to reduce redundant copies of data on primary storage.

NetApp’s A-SIS (Advanced-Single Instance Storage) de-duplication is capable of achieving de-dupe ratios of up to 20:1, with the possibility of even greater ratios over time.

“We believe that we are alone in the market in terms of being able to de-duplicate data on primary storage,” says Chris Cummings, NetApp’s senior director of data-protection solutions. “Other vendors are focused on de-duping backups and archives.”

Claiming to be the sole vendor in the storage industry doing something—the old “we don’t really compete with anyone directly with this product”—is usually standard vendor hype. In this case, however, NetApp’s claims may be on target, at least temporarily.

“It’s an accurate claim today,” says Stephanie Balaouras, a principal analyst at Forrester Research. “NetApp supports de-duplication across its entire family of FAS systems and is already talking about the benefits that de-duplication can provide not only in backup environments, but also in virtualized server environments, virtualized desktop environments, home directories, file shares, etc. NetApp is ahead of the rest of the market today when it comes to expanding the value proposition of de-duplication beyond backup.”

In fact, NetApp’s customers are adopting de-dupe in droves. According to Cummings, de-duplication is one of the fastest adopted technologies in the company’s history, with more than 2,500 customers “turning on” the de-duplication feature in ONTAP on more than 10,000 NetApp storage systems to date.

Along with the V-Series, all of NetApp’s FAS and NearStore storage systems already have de-duplication. Cummings says all of the company’s storage systems will include de-duplication technology by year-end.


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