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Cheeky NetApp does it better than biggies

Trounces EMC, IBM, HDS and HP

In a cheeky move NetApp is guaranteeing that customers using EMC, HDS, HP and IBM storage will save 35 per cent of the capacity on these systems by front-ending them with a NetApp V-Series product.

NetApp already offers a 50 per cent guarantee program specifying that customers will use 50 per cent less storage in its own, Citrix, VMware and Microsoft virtual environments compared to various other supplier's storage arrays. The savings are calculated against a baseline setup compared to a NetApp best practices setup.

Rich Clifton, a NetApp senior VP, says that this is a minimum guarantee and customers generally achieve greater savings. Now NetApp has extended this guarantee idea. Competitors have said that the programme compares NetApp storage best practices to unrealistic baseline storage practices to which NetApp responds by asking why they don't offer their own guarantee programmes.

The V-Series virtualises attached third-party storage arrays such that they can be managed using NetApp's ONTAP operating system. The guarantee says that, by using NetApp best practices and its thin provisioning, snapshot and deduplication technologies, customers will reduce redundant copies of their data on the third-party devices by at least 35 per cent.

The reason that this is not a 50 per cent saving, as in the original guarantee programme, is according to Clifton because the V-Series has to use the third party suppliers' RAID technologies and not its own.

This is reminiscent of NetApp running an SPC benchmark on an EMC Clariion array and, fortunately for NetApp, finding it offered inferior performance to its own products. (EMC doesn't believe in the SPC benchmarking system, saying it is unrealistic.) Now NetApp is saying, in effect, it can manage its competitors' kit better than they can.

The guarantee only applies to the competitors' Fibre Channel block storage products; Symmetrix and Clariion from EMC for example, and not Celerra or Centera. The best practices NetApp specifies are checked by its Professional Services organisation or participating NetApp service partners. If NetApp cannot demonstrate a 35 per cent capacity saving against the base line, through running competitor's kit via a V-Series head, then it will make up the capacity shortfall.

The company offers a Storage Efficiency Calculator at ww.netapp.comm/guarantee for customers to enter details of their storage environment and see what they can save. ®

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