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IBM Swings NetApp Gateway

Network Appliance may see itself becoming a major player in the SAN space, but its OEM partner IBM still considers NetApp primarily a NAS provider -- and is likely to stick with that view.

IBM signed a deal to OEM NetApps systems in April 2005 in hopes of providing quality NAS to its customers after failing with several tries on its own. (See IBM, NetApp Ink OEM Pact and IBM Turns a New NAS Leaf – Again.) Since then, NetApp has shifted to become more of a Fibre Channel SAN play, and it has a new enterprise platform to get more customers to use its boxes for block storage. (See NetApp Solid On SANs.) During its earnings call last week, NetApp CEO Dan Warmenhoven spoke of becoming “a serious contender in SAN.”

But IBM’s John Foley, product manager for the IBM-NetApp alliance, doesn’t see NetApp becoming IBM’s SAN provider. According to Foley, IBM is happy with results of the NetApp partnership but intends to keep its own Fibre Channel SAN lineup and supplement it with NetApp systems for NAS. IBM today said it would begin selling NetApp’s V3000 gateways as the IBM System Storage N5000 Series Gateway. (See IBM Adds NetApp and NetApp Promotes SATA.)

IBM now sells NetApp's low-end FAS270 system and its midrange FAS3000 series gateway/storage devices, with NetApp’s new FAS6000 systems to follow. (See IBM/NetApp Deal Blossoms and IBM Releases N5000 Series.) IBM intends to bring out future NetApp gear within 90 days of NetApp’s rollout.

IBM is also reselling NetApp system software. It added DataFabric Manager today, and plans to sell NetApp’s next generation DataOntap GX software within 90 days of NetApp’s rollout. (See NetApp Nudges Closer to New OS.)

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