SAN DIEGO -- Storage Networking World -- Jay Kidd, SVP and GM of Network Appliance's Emerging Products Group, has clearly faced the question before.
He's ready with a thoughtful answer when we ask him why NetApp hasn't offered one operating system that has it all -- why instead, the vendor's Ontap GX has the clustering capabilities today's NAS users need, without the advanced enterprise backup features contained in Ontap 7G. (See NetApp's GX Targets HPC and NetApp Ships Data Ontap GX.)
"For enterprise customers, we chose to focus on [Ontap] 7G," he says. "GX was always intended for high performance computing environments. We are working toward convergence. But our business success has resulted from not forcing that convergence."
Kidd says NetApp's clustering capabilities, based on hardware arrays like Isilon's, aren't aimed at the enterprise space, where sales of modular storage in the form of the FAS6000 series are reportedly brisk. (See NetApp Paints Rosy Picture.)
Speaking of Isilon, Kidd dismisses any real threat from that direction, except in the media and broadcast niche. He downplays CEO Dan Warmenhoven's outburst against Isilon at the recent analyst show. "Dan's comments were, well... The point is that we won't let Isilon take the clustering space."