EMC, NetApp resume battle, 3Par brawls with the big boys, IBM/FujiFilm’s tape unravelled

Storage bloggers have returned to bickering and competitive sniping, as EMC responds to NetApp’s first big announcement of the year with rancour, while bloggers tear into IBM’s new superbig tapes

The storage year has started again in earnest!

How do we know? Well ... the first sign is the date: January 27th. Australia’s national day is the 26th, and no-one is really working at 100% intensity until that date passes and kids go back to school (hoooooray!).

The second sign is that snippy mean criticism of one storage vendor by another is back (double hoooooora!).

Regular readers of this column will be utterly unsurprised to know that EMC and NetApp are in the thick of the action, which starts with a Chuck Hollis “Rant,” which brought some return fire from 3Par, who declared the missive “thought diarrheaship.” NetApp had a swipe, too, declaring itself the true innovator in the industry.

That was kind-of disproved a few days later when the company lined up for its public cuddle with Cisco and VMware, a trick EMC of course pulled off last year with a rather more substantial joint venture to show off for the embrace. NetApp has used the term “secure multi-tenancy” to describe parts of the new offering, and Hollis has blasted back with a series of reasons the new solution isn’t up to scratch (IDEAS International has a more sober analysis of the competing love-fests).

NetApp has some other bullets to fire, too, like this piece kicking COPAN’s corpse (for a counterpoint see v.Tacit on spin-down), a swipe at 3Par and even a dig at “Mr Backup” W. Curtis Preston.

That’s the kind of aggression that was NetApp’s hallmark in 2009, and it raises two issues. One is that your columnist recently acquired a new Twitter follower from NetApp’s comm’s team, we suspect as a result of our pointing out the aggression. The second is a recent EMC hiring binge that has seen the company put a few notable storage bloggers on the payroll, as noted by Storagebod and v.Tacit. The folks concerned are very capable individuals, blogging aside, so it may be foolish to think that EMC is hiring bloggers to covert them into corporate mouthpieces. Whatever the motive, there sure is a contrast between NetApp’s attacks and EMC’s seeming embrace of well-regarded neutrals.

It also makes Stepen Foskett’s series analysing vendor blogs even more timely, and also gave us something to think about in light of two amusing and non-aggressive posts from Aprigo, one of which sees it pull out of China (shame it wasn’t there to start with) and another containing an honestly terrible advertisement! What is it they say about vinegar and honey?

Geeky stuff

The other topic generating some negativity this week is IBM and Fujitsu’s joint announcement of extremely dense magnetic tape, which some folks thought so impressive the tale made it into super-cool gadget blogs like Gizmodo. But among storage bloggers, reaction is less warm, as can be seen over at AboutRestore and in this post from The Backup Blog. Storage Mojo and Drunken Data had a go, too, and are more positive. Preston de Guise has his usual thoughtful take on the topic, too.

The other gadget-blog-like piece we’ve spotted comes from boche.net, which has taken a series of unboxing shots of a new Celerra being removed from its box. He shot some video, too, so get busy watching this:

EMC Celerra NS-120 Unboxing Video pt1 from Jason Boche on Vimeo.

The details

January has also seen lots of folks put pen to blog on more technical topics, such as this one from Online Storage Optimization on databases as compression targets. Pivot Point considers virtual storage designs, while StorageIO looks at the relevance of RAID. RayOnStorage finds some interesting data from Toshiba on SSD performance and longevity, a topic IBM’s Barry Whyte grazes on as techmute has some answers about XIV disk faults.

The Storage Architect has a nice technical comparison of Azure’s Windows Blob storage vs. S3. Also on cloud storage is ESG’s Steve Duplessie, who says the cloud will “vaporize.” Another analyst, Storage Switzerland, has some interesting insights about Enterprise Vault for SharePoint 2010.

HDS is back in action, with Hu Yoshida thinking about tiering and Michael Hay considering Google’s use of EXT4, while Nigel Poulton explains the HDS/Hitachi relationship. HP’s Calvin Zito contemplates the possible demise of fibre channel drives.

Read more on Storage management and strategy