NetApp enters large-capacity storage market

By John Zyskowski

Government storage managers shopping for very large capacity disk systems now have a new option to weigh from a company that, although a fresh face in this part of the market, is hardly a newcomer on the storage scene.

Network Appliance (NetApp) on Monday unveiled a pair of enterprise class Fibre Channel storage systems that join the ranks of high end systems offered by competitors such as EMC, Hewlett-Packard and Hitachi Data Systems.

The new NetApp FAS6030 can store up to 420 terabytes of data, while the FAS6070 can handle up to 504 T, which is considerably more than the 168 T maximum capacity of the company's previous high end system, the FAS3050.

The FAS6000 series systems can do double duty, serving file-based data as network attached storage (NAS) devices and/or handling lower level block-based storage to support databases and other enterprise applications via storage area network (SAN) connections.

To reach customers, NetApp officials will make a case that the new FAS6000 series systems are less expensive to purchase and manage than products from competitors, due to a number of built-in storage management features and a unified storage operating system across the NetApp product line that make storage administrators more productive, said Dan Warmenhoven, NetApp's chief executive officer.

NetApp grew to prominence as an early player in the NAS market, though in the past couple of years the company has introduced Fibre Channel and iSCSI systems to expand into the block-based SAN market. That push has resulted in those types of products now accounting for 40 percent of the firm's sales, said Warmenhoven.

Still, the company continues to battle the perception that its expertise is only in midrange NAS, an obstacle NetApp will face head on as it begins marketing the new FAS6000 series products.

'The image challenge we have is that NetApp is a full-line supplier, top to bottom, all access types, and any environment you want,' he said. 'Perceptions of us largely are anchored in our history as opposed to our current [product line].'

The company has made steady progress in the government market since opening a federal sales office several years ago, said Warmenhoven. Federal sales now account for about 12 percent of the company's business, he said.

The two new FAS6000 series systems are available immediately. Additional details include:

n starting price for the FAS6030, which includes approximately 1 T of raw storage and one storage controller, is $131,600, while the starting price for the FAS6070 with approximately 1 T of raw storage and one controller is $196,225;

n the FAS6000 series systems can support both Fibre Channel and lower cost Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drives in the same system, as well as 10-Gigabit Ethernet and 4-Gigabit Fibre Channel interfaces to host computing systems.

NetApp officials also announced an upgrade to the company's Data ONTAP 7G operating system, which runs on the company's storage systems. Enhancements with the new version 7.2 include the ability to tailor system performance levels to different storage volumes on the same system and increasing from 199 to 499 the number of storage volumes supported using the companies FlexVol feature.

Finally, the company also introduced two new services, a special support package specifically for the new FAS6070 product and a rapid deployment service that helps customers more quickly plan, design, implement and test the installation of their new NetApp products.

About the Author

John Zyskowski is a senior editor of Federal Computer Week. Follow him on Twitter: @ZyskowskiWriter.

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