Another internal NetApp document comes to light, HDS rounds on EMC’s FAST

The storage blogosphere has lit up with comment, criticism and crankiness about EMC’s FAST technology, with HDS and 3Par leading the charge. NetApp is silent, for now, but is still leaking internal documents, while Seagate announces a solid state disk.


Oh dear. Just a few weeks after we found secret some NetApp competitive intelligence lurking in a community RSS feed, another internal document has come to light.

This one is nowhere near as explosive, as it is a mere “Quote tool bulletin,” intended to help “Field Sales and Partners “How To Quote” NetApp™ products that have been released or have been recently updated.” The document features some instructions on how to quote for the “DS4243 disk enclosure and IOM3 enclosure module.”

There are also some screen shots of a configuration tool and long lists of part numbers.

None of which is particularly incriminating.

But it sure is embarrassing, for two reasons:

  1. You’d imagine that after we stumbled upon the last such document, which saw customer names and configurations leaked to the world (a jolly big privacy no-no in your correspondent’s opinion), NetApp would have tightened things up a bit.
  2. This document is aimed at sales folk and is marked “Redistribution outside of an authorized NetApp distributor or reseller to third parties prohibited without prior written NetApp approval.” So perhaps you could draw a realllllly long bow and suggest its presence in the place we found it, a forum set up for NetApp customers, is intentional. The truth is probably that this is a second big mistake.

We’ll honour the request not to distribute the document, but feel NetApp really needs to get its act together, because the same forum this week also contains a post that reads thusly:

I heard that a big customer is using SME6.0 beta program and we want to contact a person(SE?) supporting the customer to share info. Our customer's configuration is Exc2010 + SME6.x + Snapdrive6.2 + DR.
It just started and not much infomation to setup so it would be much appreciated that we can share info.

That reads like another internal communication coming to light in the wrong place, a terrible look for a company promoting its ability to store information with integrity.

Okay … on with the show, and what on earth is EMC thinking? In the first week of December days are short in Massachusetts, but here in Australia, half our brains are already at the beach. So we were a bit huffy when news that the evil machine corporation felt it prudent to emit a colossally-significant new products just 17 days before Christmas. That product is, of course, Fully Automated Storage Tiering, a.k.a FAST and you can read about it here if you really want to.

EMC’s Chuck Hollis shoved FAST out the door with a trio of predictably buoyant posts. The rest of the blogosphere’s response was also mostly predictable. HDS hates it. Christophe Bertrand reckons it is late and bad (Heidi Biggar has a swing on another matter). 3Par hates it too and has decided Symantec beat FAST too. Storage Anarchist thinks this kind of negativity just whips up more coverage which is kind of proven by this post from Storagezilla, who thinks FAST is ace. Storagebod thinks FAST is good but could and should go further, which is pretty much what Greg Schulz, Storage Nerve and Virtual Geek say, too (with the latter two recycling lots of EMC slideware). Storage Sanity has a big and good post about tiering that seems to have emerged a few hours before FAST. D’oh!

NetApp is silent on FAST, so far. It does have a waft at the corpse of Copan, suggesting MAID was a dumb idea, poorly implemented. StorageIO rallies to MAID’s side, defending its honour.

Seagate’s reverse?

A corporate bullhorn of a post we think could well generate some more organic responses comes from Seagate and announces the company’s first solid state drive. Seagate has, in the past, been accused of trying to stifle SSD adoption. In January 2008 the company also told yours truly it thought pure SSDs were a dumb idea. The last link also mentions Seagate as offering 2008 as the ship date for its first SSD. Make of this all what you will, bloggers.

There’s a bit of “2010 is upon us, let’s reflect” stuff out there at the moment. Drunken Data has one and Preston de Guise another. Preston is also gathering speed nicely on his Anti-Cloud blog. Online Storage Optimization declares dedupe the biggest deal of 2009.

Elsewhere, Storagezilla tees off on the term “near continuous data protection,” arguing that it’s either continuous protection or not. We suspect ‘Zilla is not a man who would tolerate the term “very unique”!

Back at Virtual Geek, there’s some more details of VCE vBlocks, a topic NetApp’s @Valb00 thinks is worrisome because of this Cisco document describing the beasties. (This came from another Twitfight with Chad Sakac)

Canned Platypus has some bad news about patent trolls and cloud computing, Storage Architect keeps reviewing Drobo and Grumpy Storage spruiks the very worthy-sounding UK Independent Storage Management Forum.

William Vanbenepe notes some new Amazon Web Services offerings (and did you notice that new uploads to Amazon AWS are free until June 2010? Get those digital photos up there, dear readers!) Cinetica expresses chastened enthusiasm for Sun’s 7000 series boxes and Nigel Poulton invents the “Rack Area Network” in a post on his new blog as he leaves Ruptured Monkey behind for his own gig.

HDS’ Hu Yoshida wonders if Storage Administrators are an endangered species and the Tivoli Storage Blog (a newbie we have spotted this week) outlines data dedupe.

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