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3PAR, NetApp Join Ranks

3PAR has inked a deal with Network Appliance whereby the two will offer joint support agreements to customers who prefer to use 3PAR as the back end to NetApp's filers. (See 3PAR, NetApp Team Up.)

The agreement, unveiled today, assures customers of either vendor that 3PAR's InServ systems will interoperate with NetApp's V-Series 3000 and 6000. Either vendor will serve as a single point of support for both products. Connectivity between the units is Fibre Channel, though iSCSI can be attached to the NetApp gear.

The move is part of a trend toward joint support among leading vendors of block- and file-based storage. It mirrors similar deals that 3PAR has with Ibrix, OnStor, and Polyserve; that BlueArc has separately with HDS and LSI; and that NetApp has with EMC, Fujitsu, IBM, HDS, and HP. (See HDS Hikes High-End NAS, HDS, BlueArc in Big NAS Deal, and IBM Swings NetApp Gateway.) In all instances, the vendors involved are looking to meet customer demand for both SAN and NAS.

At least one analyst, who asked not to be named, thinks this latest deal underscores a big shift where NetApp's concerned. "I suspect this is more of a strategic alliance than a customer push," he says. "Jay Kidd's team at NetApp is expanding the relationships for the V-series to capture more market share. I know they are signing up a number of OEMs and strategic partners. From 3PAR's vantage point, this gives them a 'big' name partner to help them fend off EMC. Overall, I think it makes sense for both vendors."

Another analyst concurs with that assessment. "It shows that NetApp is open to listening and working with their customers even if it means putting their file gateway in front of other vendors' storage," says analyst Greg Schulz of the StorageIO consultancy.

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