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NetApp Takes On EMC With Future Ready Infrastructure

Today NetApp announced new high-end and mid-range storage systems, support for 2.5 inch disk drives and Solid State Disks (SSD), Data ONTAP 8.0.1, unified connectivity for FCoE, CIFS, NFS, and iSCSI, along with the OnCommand Management Suite, and FlexPod for VMware which is a pre-sized and validated data center infrastructure solution. NetApp is clearly targeting the burgeoning Virtual Machine opportunity and is building the path to a future-ready infrastructure. In my opinion, today's announcement by NetApp represents the big bet that the company can provide storage, software, and connectivity technology that provides the infrastructure foundation for shared storage in both virtual and physical server environments.

NetApp has also put the proverbial stake in the ground with its offerings for public and private cloud infrastructure solutions via FlexPods. Given constrained IT budgets and no slowdown of data growth foreseen in the near term, products and solutions such as those announced today by NetApp will be attractive to NetApp customers and those prospects needing to leverage flexible technology for future infrastructure requirements.

NetApp's FlexPods is hot-on-the-heels alliance similar to the VMware, Cisco, EMC (VCE) alliance. By releasing pre-sized and validated FlexPods for VMware, Cisco, and NetApp (VCN) environments, the company has made a clear statement that they will not be left out of the Virtual Machine evolution currently underway. In my opinion, FlexPods are a direct competitive response from NetApp to EMC's VBlock offering with Cisco and VMWare.

Notable bloggers have been quick to point out that FlexPods may be gone and forgotten by this time next year. However, those who may initially pan FlexPods should take note that VMWare administrators are rapidly gravitating to NetApp file based solutions. Why? For two simple reasons - they are simple to install and easy to manage compared to custom Storage Area Network (SAN) LUN based storage infrastructures.

Should NetApp FlexPods provide the same ease of deployment use experience that VMware Administrators have grown accustom to, these solutions are likely to gain traction and not simply disappear from view over the course of the next year.

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