Network Appliance is repackaging and customizing its data-replication technology for mixed-vendor storage environments in the hopes that the software’s ability to move data to and from any vendor’s storage system will spawn new sales of NetApp hardware for use as secondary storage.


NetApp announced four new offerings based on its ReplicatorX (formerly the Topio Data Protection Suite, or TDPS) replication software. The new products include enterprise and standard editions of ReplicatorX for heterogeneous disaster recovery, data migration, and cloning of production data for test and development, as well as a business continuity service provider offering.

Jay Kidd, senior vice president and general manager of Network Appliance’s Emerging Products Group, says that NetApp is mainly focused on selling ReplicatorX as a disaster-recovery solution for midrange and enterprise customers, but the company recognizes that the software can be used in numerous ways.

“We’re largely focused on disaster recovery, but certain customers only need to migrate data for a short period of time or they need to make copies of data for testing and development,” says Kidd.

ReplicatorX can “near-synchronously” replicate block data over any distance across heterogeneous infrastructures. Part of NetApp’s game plan is to use ReplicatorX to gain a foothold in new customer accounts and boost sales by positioning its nearline storage products as targets for replicated data.

All of the new ReplicatorX offerings are priced on a per-terabyte basis except for the temporary, project-based Migration Edition. The starting price for an enterprise or standard edition license is $40,000 per terabyte, while the Cloning for Development offering starts at $15,000 and the Service Provider Edition (managed service) is priced from $30,000 per terabyte annually. The Data Migration version of ReplicatorX can be purchased for $7,000 per week.

Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Tony Asaro says NetApp’s ReplicatorX announcement is all about offering more options to customers and that taking the product to the streets in a number of different flavors may open the door to customer environments NetApp has so far been unable to penetrate.

“ReplicatorX does a number of things for NetApp,” says Asaro. “It enables them to provide an enterprise-class remote replication solution to customers that don’t have any NetApp storage; they can use it to become the secondary or remote DR storage system; they can use it for intelligent tiered storage, using it to move data from more-expensive arrays to NetApp FAS systems or any secondary system as a more-efficient tier; and they can use it for data migrations and upgrades.”

In related news, NetApp enhanced its SnapDrive software (for server-storage management) and Virtual File Manager Enterprise Edition (VFM-EE) software (for file data management).

The new version of SnapDrive for Windows provides thin provisioning, snapshots, and deeper integration with Windows and Unix platforms, including the addition of rapid-recovery capabilities. The latest version of VFM provides enhanced Unix support with the addition of optimized file migration and management for RHEL 4.0 and Solaris 10.0.

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