Is NetApp preparing to defend 'unified' storage?

NetApp seems to be mobilising its bloggers to defend its “unified storage” position as the industry prepares for EMC's rumoured entry into the space. Also this week, bloggers start to contemplate deduplication in more depth.

It's nice to think that vendor blogs are spontaneous creations, in which beneficent authors share their experience and wisdom – and get in as many gentle plugs as they can – but primarily aim to engage and educate.

We're less certain of that proposition this week, after we saw some information compiled by a competitor of EMC's.

The competitor is preparing for EMC to launch a new combined SAN/NAS product to be called the"V-CX" that will refresh the CLARiiON and add some of Celerra's best bits (but not FAST). The rumour mill – and the material we've seen – says the new device will emerge in April and that Celerra and CLARiiON may then go away sometime in 2011.

Regular readers will know that SAN/NAS devices are often labelled"unified storage" and that NetApp has pretty much staked out that patch, although of late its marketing has spent more time on virtualisation than unification.

Hence our interest in two NetApp blog posts this week, each suddenly talking up the unified storage positioning again.

Could it be that NetApp is using its bloggers to remind us all just who unified storage first?

Your author is betting it's the case and that the posts we link to above are part of a deliberate plan that includes this press release celebrating its 150,000th unified storage customer. There's even a nifty graphic on the NetApp home page pointing out its unified storage cred.

EMC is, of course, silent on the issue, but EMC blogger VirtualGeek slams what he calls NetApp FUD in this post. The blogosphere is also interested in EMC's recently-previewed colossal storage federated cloud thingy. 3Par reckons it's pretty speculative stuff, following on from Storagebod's view. HDS' Hu Yoshida weighs in, too and says the lack of clarity on just what EMC proposes means it's a bad time to buy EMC kit, just in case you land yourself a dinosaur.

Also on EMC, Preston de Guise has a small preview of the next release of NetWorker (7.6 SP1), which he says will be "big, and very important release ... well worth the wait for a lot of users."

The other ongoing discussion this week surrounds IBM's XIV product and how it handles drive failures. This week's players are Storagebod and Techmute.

Another common thread this week is HP's Storage Tech Day. There are a zillion posts out there, but we like this one from Australia's very own Rodos.

Dedpue gets deep

A very interesting trio of posts this week deal with data deduplication. Chi Corp urges us to think outside the box, Should These Lights considers dedpue of Exchnage on NetApp and VMWare and Modern Backup discusses"adaptive deduplication."

Why the significance. Well ... in your editor's experience a technology like dedupe very quickly gets applied to the low-hanging fruit. Not long afterwards, people start using it for harder tasks and start to run into unforseen complexity. Most of the virtualisation coverage you'll read at the moment is starting to explain how to address that complexity and I would not be in least bit surprised if that's the way dedupe coverage heads in coming months, making these three posts a bit of a marker.

Elsewhere, Michael Hay at HDS contemplates Blu-Ray's role in enterprise storage and Emulex offers a configuration tutorial. Grumpy Storage will hit a note for many with his post about how silly modern meetings have become.

Recovery Monkey embarks on a filesystem benchmark extravaganza and Storage Texan debates NFS vs. Block Access for OS/Applications. Storage Buddhist philosophises about SONAS, Stephen Foskett finds some silliness in Microsoft's Robocopy and Storage Sanity wonders why he doesn't hear much about File Virtualization. AboutRestore tackles LTO-5 and Aprigo reckons it has beaten Symantec to the punch when it comes to managing unstructured data.

Lastly, Sunshine has sadly, signed off from Online Storage Optimization. Good luck with whatever comes next.

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