NetApp Repackages Topio

Future handling of the replication software remains a question

April 6, 2007

3 Min Read
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Nearly six months after its $160 million purchase of Topio, Network Appliance has repackaged the startup's replication software, adding a marketing twist toward its own products. (See NetApp Re-Releases Topio and NetApp Grabs Topio.)

Topio's Data Protection Suite (TDPS) has morphed into ReplicatorX, which remains software for rackmounted Windows, Unix, or Linux servers connected to virtually any form of SAN.

But the message has changed: While users once publicized their use of Topio's product to set up disaster recovery and even tiered storage in heterogeneous SAN environments, NetApp's pushing the latest iteration as an adjunct to its own ONTAP operating system. (See Outpatient Svcs Firm Replicates With Topio and Brick Maker Uses Topio .)

NetApp still sees ReplicatorX as a solution for "any to any" disaster recovery or data migration, but it's billing the package for use in test and development environments, along with NetApp's FlexClone replicator for NetApp gear.

"Because of the value that NetApp storage brings to the table in the form of FlexClone, the company focuses on the message of replicating production data from non-NetApp to NetApp storage and then use FlexClone technology to create rapid, storage-free clones for test/dev," writes a NetApp spokesperson in an email today.This tack is a departure from earlier word that NetApp would integrate the Topio software into its NearStore Virtual Tape Library and SnapVault remote office backup products.

No word on that kind of integration now. "[Those] are disk-to-disk backup products that are complementary to the ReplicatorX software," states Subra Mohan, NetApp senior product marketing manager, DR solutions, in response to a query on how the planned integration may pan out.

The work of integrating TDPS with ONTAP and its associated FlexClone package was already achieved before the acquisition last year. (See Topio Replicates NetApp.)

So today's news is really no news at all -- except in terms of marketing.

But that appears to be the message. The new spin is in line with what execs mentioned at a recent analyst conference, during which Jay Kidd, SVP of NetApp's emerging products division, cited Topio's potential to boost NetApp sales among integrators. (See NetApp Stokes Competitive Fires.)"The real opportunity... is to get more and more hooks onto primary locations and replicate that onto our secondary platform," he said at the time. "With Topio, we're just getting started."

No word on whether future plans would call for deeper integration with ONTAP or other wares.

At least one analyst thinks today's news doesn't change Topio's original charter. "The product keeps NetApp in the game and on par with other vendors in the transparent data movement, migration, and replication game," writes analyst Greg Schulz of the StorageIO consultancy in an email. "So unless you introduce a sales prevention or revenue avoidance team into the picture, heterogeneous data movement should be a plus for NetApp, its partners, and customers."

ReplicatorX is available now for $50,000 per Tbyte of replicated data.

Mary Jander, Site Editor, Byte and Switch

  • Network Appliance Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • The StorageIO Group0

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