« More On Thin Clients | Main | Being an Informationist »

August 03, 2007




Certainly an interesting perspective.

Now didn't NTAP have their bottom fall out in 2001? And they were able to recover. So they have been through this movie before. Right?

What else can be provided to bolster the claim that this is only an NTAP issue not that of the industry?

Otherwise, given your affiliation, your opinion looks biased and imflammatory.

Chuck Hollis

Hello, "anonymous" (???)

I saw more than a few things written along these lines, including industry mags (www.byteandswitch.com, www.searchstorage.com, etc.)

You may not have access to the financial analyst publications, but there were more than a few analyst notes written that included a point or two made here.

BTW, please identify yourself in the future, or I won't be posting your comment.



Good insight to some of the issues that surround NetApp. You made the point that there are "several very competent and aggressive smaller companies who are perhaps more nimble than NetApp." Nimble is one word to describe these companies, but there is something much bigger in play here. Some of these startup companies have revolutionary storage architectures and customers are starting to take notice. For example, LeftHand Networks can out-scale every one of NetApp's SAN offerings by clustering top tier OEM storage server platforms together, with no controller or “forklift upgrades” along the way. These emerging storage companies may not be able to compete with the depth of NetApp’s product and service offerings, but when you can purchase a highly scalable SAN that provides features like thin provisioning, asynchronous remote copy, and synchronous multi-site SANs for a fraction of the acquisition cost of the equivalent NetApp offering, not to mention that it’s user installable, it’s a eye opening value proposition.

An example of how slow the bigger storage companies move is the transition from fibre channel drive technology to SAS drive technology. Some of these emerging companies are already shipping SAS drive technology, but why isn’t NetApp and EMC? SAS drives are more reliable because of dedicated point-to-point cabling, use less power, and cost less than fibre channel drives, yet NetApp and EMC only offer fibre channel connected drives today. Why is this? I’m sure they’re working on it, but part of the reason is being handcuffed to their legacy architectures, making the transition from shared controllers and busses to serial point-to-point technology difficult.

Many topics here to debate, but the main point is that next generation storage architectures with a much better TCO story are emerging in the market, and you either have to keep up with the technology or find yourself behind the industry. Think about what happened to giants like DEC that were unable to embrace and extend the x86 and open architecture wave, and you have to wonder if some of the bigger storage companies are not in the same boat today. What occurred in the computing world is occurring in storage.


Chuck Hollis

Hi John:

I think the industry is well-served by newer players that have fresh thinking -- and no legacy to consider.

But I think there's another source of innovation that's only available to the larger players, and that's integration and hybridization.

Looking at storage as a stand-alone technology leads you down one path; considering storage in the context of billions of dollars of technology acquisitions can lead you down a very different (and interesting!) path.

Thanks for commenting!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

General Housekeeping

  • Frequency of Updates
    I try and write something new 1-2 times per week; less if I'm travelling, more if I'm in the office. Hopefully you'll find the frequency about right!
  • Comments and Feedback
    All courteous comments welcome. TypePad occasionally puts comments into the spam folder, but I'll fish them out. Thanks!