NetApp Brands Symantec SRM

Turns to partner for the heterogenous storage management its new systems require

May 17, 2006

3 Min Read
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Eight days after launching enterprise SAN systems designed to take Network Appliance deeper into more heterogeneous storage networks, NetApp today revealed its strategy for managing those systems. (See NetApp Scales Up.)

NetApp will re-sell and co-brand Symantec's CommandCentral Storage for heterogeneous SAN management. (See NetApp to Resell Symantec.) That's not earth-shattering news. NetApp has worked closely with Symantec and other independent SRM (storage resource management) vendors to make sure their products were compatable. But this is its first OEM SRM deal, and probably its only one, according to Dave Kresse, NetApp's GM of storage management.

Kresse says that with the FAS 6000 family of enterprise systems out, it is time for NetApp to have a branded SRM package -- even if it's not its own. "As we move into larger data enters, customers are looking for a broader set of capabilities, whether that means getting their switches, HBAs, or management capabilities from us," Kresse says. "We're very focused on [software development] in the data management space, but in the storage management space we've always been focused on partnering."

Typically, SRM products are designed to manage storage devices. In SANs, that can mean managing a range of different gear, though SRM is often limited to the vendor's own wares and those of selected partners. NetApp does have its own SRM package called Operations Manager (formerly Data Fabric Manager), which only manages NetApp storage. Kresse would be happy if that were the only SRM it had to sell.

"We're looking to create NetApp-specific data centers, but the reality of a large scale data center is that it is heterogeneous," he says.While NetApp has been successful selling data management software such as snapshot, mirroring, and replication applications, heterogeneous SRM has been missing. With today's news, NetApp becomes the last major storage vendor to adopt a broad SRM strategy. EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM sell their own SRM applications, while Hitachi Data Systems and Sun get their SRM from OEM deals with HP -- deals inherited when HP acquired AppIQ last year. (See HP OEMs AppIQ SRM and Partners Stand by AppIQ.)

At least one analyst thinks NetApp's steady move into SANs requires it to beef up management. "NetApp needs to get serious about software, period," says the analyst, who asked to remain anonymous. "They have a history of developing good software to support their product line. Now they have to bring it up to support fabric management. There's a big opportunity for NetApp over the next year to take their new architecture and couple it with innovative management tools."

Kresse admits NetApp didn't have much choice. It could bring SRM to market much faster by partnering or acquiring it, and there's nobody left to acquire. AppIQ is part of HP, and other private vendors such as CreekPath and Softek have moved away from SRM. (See CreekPath Tackles Biz Analytics and Softek Broadens Migration.)

"When you look for independent [SRM vendors] out there, there really aren't any," Kresse says. "AppIQ was the only one. It made sense for us to deliver in a quicker way with Symantec."

Dave Raffo, News Editor, Byte and SwitchOrganizations mentioned in this article:

  • CreekPath Systems Inc.

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • Hitachi Data Systems (HDS)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • Softek Storage Solutions Corp.

  • Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW)

  • Symantec Corp.

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