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NetApp's Practical Path To A Future Data Center Infrastructure

Although storage announcements occur all year long, fall appears to be a good time for vendors to mount storage "fashion shows" in order to highlight new solutions and initiatives, and NetApp is no exception to that trend. The company's recent announcement of new products and capabilities gives it a lot of good talking points to share with IT organizations planning for 2011 IT purchases.

New vendor announcements that encompass multiple products and/or services tend to be placed in the context of their long term vision or to emphasize an overall statement of direction. A good vision is one which resonates with customers in the sense that they nod their heads and agree that this is where they and the larger part of the market are going. Products and services that slip comfortably within the context of that vision qualify as valuable current investments that can help build toward a hoped-for future. So it should come as no surprise that NetApp's latest offerings present a "path to a future-ready infrastructure" that is built upon a "shared IT infrastructure."

NetApp points out that the aging, dedicated architectures common in many of today's centers have led to inefficiencies in resource utilization, power, space, and people, which, when coupled with continuing explosive data growth, are leading IT organizations to look at more efficient alternatives, including shared IT infrastructures. Although the traditional approach of application-based silos is not going away anytime soon, a more flexible and efficient IT infrastructure is evolving that contains zones of virtualization, internal clouds and external cloud services where data can be commonly stored and easily accessed.

Critics may say that NetApp is not adding anything new to the shared infrastructure conversation, as that trend has been well underway for some time and its evolution has been well-documented by numerous other vendors. True, but NetApp is being very pragmatic in that its vision is recognizable, realistic, and more likely to be accepted by customers today than visions whose utter newness means it will take more time to effectively communicate to IT organizations and get their willing buy-in of those solutions. Moreover, NetApp's vision is one that can easily accommodate its existing products.

NetApp has three storage system product lines--the high-end FAS6200 series, the mid-range FAS3200 series, and the entry-level FAS2000 series. The company's announcement finds the high-end and mid-range product lines getting total makeovers with three new models: the high-end FAS6280, FAS6240, and FAS6210, and the mid-range FAS3270, FAS3240, and FAS 3210.

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