NetApp Solidifies New Take on StoreVault

NetApp has officially released a version of StoreVault for the 'midmarket'

February 26, 2008

3 Min Read
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Demand from enterprise customers appears to have led Network Appliance to aim its latest StoreVault SAN/NAS systems not at SMBs but at small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Less than two weeks after removing StoreVault's divisional status and shifting it back into its mainstream FAS marketing machine, NetApp has unveiled the StoreVault S550, a 2U rackmount system that supports 750 Gbyte and 1 Tbyte drives for up to 12 Tybtes of raw storage. Prices start at $6,000 for 1 Tbyte.

The S550 supersedes the vendor's 6-Tbyte S500, the first StoreVault product in the line, announced in 2006. But unlike that product, which was aimed at SMBs, the S550 is clearly meant for larger companies looking for streamlined storage in branch or remote offices.

The vendor says the S550 performs 7 percent better than the S500 and 67 percent better than the S300. But NetApp continues to advertise its StoreVault S300, announced in October 2007, as an SMB unit that's complimentary to the S550.

"The StoreVault S300 is perfect for budget-challenged or smaller environments," states a writeup on the StoreVault site (which still has its own URL). "The StoreVault S550 is better for larger firms that may be searching a more scaleable, higher performing device for a rack environment."NetApp has equipped with S550 with its recently announced SnapManager for SQL Server. This addition provides NetApp Snapshots for SQL Server data in StoreVault, reducing backup times, according to NetApp. StoreVault S550 also supports SnapManager for Exchange. The S550 also comes with an optional replication feature, which in turn can make use of SnapManager's new support of individual virtual machines in VMware setups.

NetApp will not support SnapManager for Oracle on the S550.

NetApp is also entering a competitive fray with this low end of the midrange StoreVault. It will battle against Dell's PS5000, EMC's AX4, HP's MSA2000, and IBM's DS3300.

The S550 could also poke into at least some of NetApp's own low-end FAS sales -- although by moving the product back into the mothership, the vendor is clearly looking to avoid that scenario.

At least one analyst thinks NetApp could be aiming for FAS synergies. "It could be easier to sell the StoreVault into ROBO or small departmental situations as part of larger NetApp FAS storage server deals," says Greg Schulz of the StorageIO Group.At least one reseller says the StoreVault products have already sold well among large government contractors and other enterprise customers. "Enterprises want StoreVault for branch offices," says Ron Robinson, CEO of IT Data Storage, storage reseller and service provider in the Georgia area of the U.S. Now, he claims to have gotten at least 10 calls from enterprise prospects about the S550. One major manufacturing customer, he notes, has asked for a quote on installing S550s in 40 locations. "They want to replace tape, save backup software licensing costs, and manage everything from Atlanta."

Sounds good. But it remains to be seen how NetApp's StoreVault S550 will ultimately stack up against competitive wares, as well as NetApp's existing FAS lineup.

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  • Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL)

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • NetApp Inc. (Nasdaq: NTAP)

  • The StorageIO Group

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