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NetApp Makes Virtual Upgrade

Many features have yet to materialize, and support from EMC is lacking

Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP) today announced what it calls a series of "multivendor virtualization solutions," though many of the key features are still on the drawing board (see NetApp V-Series Debuts).

Basically, NetApp is revamping its gFiler NAS, which features a SAN gateway compatible with various vendors' arrays, with a new series of boxes called the V-Series. NetApp is positioning the V-Series as a Virtualization engine that supports SAN, NAS, and IP SAN in one unit.

But there's little actual news to report. The V-Series looks and acts like the gFiler, with one main exception: A single V-Series unit now supports multiple arrays, albeit from one vendor. Previously, gFilers only supported one array per unit.

And that's it -- so far, anyway. But NetApp has a series of additional plans that could make things more interesting.

By the middle of this year, V-Series units will be able to support multiple arrays from different vendors. That means customers could conceivably link SANs from Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ), IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to the back end of a single NAS.

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