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December 04, 2014


Gabriel Chapman

So let me get this straight, you are going to take an already expensive and limited hyper converged platform (EVO:Rail) and pair it with a filer to get the data services that vSAN doesn't offer (FAS), while adding additional complexity to a platform that is supposed to be simple and in turn remove one of the greater value props that hyper convergence offers (ie simplicity of the stack in a single form factor).

Yeah, good luck with that.

Chuck Hollis


Thanks for wishing us luck!

-- Chuck

Gabriel Chapman

Good luck Chuck :)


I have to agree with Gabriel. I dont understand why NetApp is becoming involved in this other than to help slow their declining market share. What's NetApp going to do when VSAN starts providing data services too?


Both NetApp and EMC are pretty much flat in sales and revenue. Check their recent 10Qs. Traditional SAN technology is old and expensive front and back end. Capex, with traditional SAN is higher than hyper-converged. The real issue, very few businesses accurately calculate is the Opex. E.g. 3PAR many arguably believe is the best SAN technology in the market today. A representative was recently commenting that a customer of theirs has 4 petabytes of data stored in their devices. He said that it takes 1 engineer near full time to manage the systems. Consider the Opex and lets use reasonably sampled numbers -150k in salary, 50k in benefits, payroll taxes and personal equipment make it probably 200k. Let's extrapolate this for general traditional SAN. Over 3 years that 600k to operate. Ouch.

Hyper converged far less. I'm an expert and I've run the numbers. I am doing a of with that extra money.
Commodity hardware, simple and far less in cost. In the end it's all about the software. The world is quickly evolving into software-defined data centers.

NetApp had no choice.


Forgive me for forgetting this number. The Opex human cost 3PAR cited with that 200k is managing only 2 PB. So a company with 500 TB divide that amount into the number cited.

vsan fan

Ha ha ha ha ha.


I don't think NetApp fully understand the VMware offering.

Customers must ask themselves, what is the true driver for choosing a VSAN with FAS solution?

If the answer is, "we are heavily invested in NetApp" then its probably more cost effective to stick with the traditional NetApp + Compute architecture as oppose to also investing 3k per socket on VSAN.

If NetApp truly believe that VSAN does not compete then they need to talk to their partners to get a better understanding of what VSAN is. Yeah maybe it doesn't compete NOW in scenarios where a customer requires a highly scalable solution but it certainly is a "different type of hammer" offering capacity and IOPs, a requirement for any competing storage solution.


It would make sense for NetApp to compete with EVO:RAIL because they have a better product than VSAN : Data Ontap Edge with Cluster mode.
But price, limitation to 1 Gbps, complicated setup, are reasons for unsuccess compares to Evo:Rail, Nutanix,...

HP is a Evo:Rail partner but propose Lefthand VSA too.


Comment to Steve

You forget to mention that you will need an engineer or 5 to manage 4PB stored in a virtualized SAN. What about those salaries?
Also if one engineer takes nearly fulltime to manage 4PB 3PAR SAN, he/she is either doing something wrong, or else the company is a service/cloud provider and are extremely busy with customers - which means they get paid a lot, and then the engineer certainly deserve his salary.

Tradional SAN is a mature technology, whereas EVO:RAIL is not yet taken its first baby step. At its current state I would not be confident to rely on it in my production. That thing currently has issue even to install.

And yes trust me, I'm an expert too.

Nick Howell

Disclosure: Nick Howell from NetApp

Thank you, Chuck, for "getting it." :) You're right on the money.

We discussed this quite a bit with Duncan Epping in our latest podcast episode, where you can hear my $0.02, for what it's worth.


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.
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