It always was a mystery why hotshot channel head Leonard Iventosch suddenly left NetApp last summer. Perhaps this sheds some light, though - NetApp has just announced the end of life for its main SME channel product, the S Family, formerly known as StoreVault. Users are complaining of being shafted.
StoreVault, a NetApp product line for small and medium enterprises, was launched in 2006 as a separate and channel-only product.
In September last year StoreVault's status was changed as NetApp made it a mainstream product, re-naming it the S Family. It was not a fully mainstream product, though, running a reduced functionality version of Data ONTAP, NetApp's O/S, and not getting a FAS denomination, such as FAS 1000, that would have been indicative of mainstream status.
The StoreVAult S300 and award-winning S500 lines were then discontinued with the S550 introduced.
Users became apprehensive about missing functionality such as Windows Server 2008 support. Poster Robert Miles on the S Family forum said: "Netapp must support Windows 2008. When the Storevault product came out, I thought that "Netapp" understood the market they were going after and I got on board with them." Jumbo frame support on the StoreVault/S Family NIC was also awaited.
When NetApp issued the EOL notice (registration required) some users were dismayed. Poster Genito Isabella wrote: "This really pisses me off... Way to go NetApp, one less customer that definately won't be upgrading to a FAS! Sun Unified Storage here I come."
Frank Lung, NetApp's product manager for entry systems, posted a note saying that users: "can purchase up to three years of warranty and support extension for your S550. Also in February 2009, NetApp is changing the upgrade/trade-in program to include S550 systems."
According to a copy of the NetApp EOL notice on Jon William Toigo's Drunken Data blog, S Family availability from NetApp ceases in March. FAS2020 product configurations will be created, with channel-only Select Bundles, as replacements for customers who would have bought the S550. This was confirmed by Patrick Rogers, Solutions Marketing VP for NetApp.
Poster Nicholas Barsotti wrote: "I told them that is it totally unacceptable that they do not support Windows 2008 domains and StoreVault Manager running on Vista. Its the year 2009 for crying out loud. They told me they will report my feedback but I don't think it will change anything."
Rogers said: "NetApp will not provide any further product enhancements for the S550," and confirmed that S550 support will continue to and through 2012.
Barsotti finished his post by writing: "They will need to make the FAS2000 series available at a HUGE discount for me to consider doing a business with a company that has so betrayed me." ®