Network Appliance says the latest version of its operating system will be a boon for resellers trying to sell the company’s storage hardware and their consulting services.
DataOntap 7G “”dramatically drives waste out of customer’s storage infrastructure,”” said Chris Bennett, NetApp’s senior director
of product management, “”and it enables people to get higher quality applications out sooner.””
The operating system, which comes with all of the company’s hardware, includes a virtualization engine which NetApp says is capable of aggregating physical storage components into self-optimizing capacity pools, while enabling data management functions to be tailored to individual application datasets.
It claims customers can double their storage utilization, dramatically increase I/O performance for enterprise-class applications, and significantly reduce storage management costs for multi-application environments.
“”This technology will change the way people go about solving storage problems and the way they go about doing application tests,”” said Bennett.
“”That provides a huge opening for resellers that understand business problems to go in and counsel people on the most effective way to roll it out.””
The 7G version is a free upgrade to Version 6 of the operating system and can easily be downloaded by customers, or comes with its new systems. The benefit to resellers, Bennett said, are new features will enable them to offer customized services.
“”The part that’s technically demanding is re-architecting the (customer) environment to take advantage of the new capabilities,”” Bennett said. “”I think there’s a very rich vein to be mined by resellers in addressing their business in a fresh and interesting way.””
Also newly introduced is an application called FlexClone, a separate product which starts at US$6,000, which enables fast creation of multiple, independently writable images of datasets created in 7G, with no storage overhead. This app means another revenue opportunity for VARs, said Bennett.
“”People will need to think about their business practices, such as cloning a volume. Currently those tools are grossly underutilized because they are arcane to set up and they generally require 100 per cent storage overhead for every copy.””
He estimates that 70 per cent of the NetApp user base have hardware using versions 6.x of the operating system. Another way of looking at it, he added, is that NetApp hardware up to four years old can be upgraded to 7G, except the NetCache appliances and its 700-series systems.
He hopes by the end of the month by the end of 2005 up to 30 per cent of customers will have systems in production running 7G.
NetApp also announced that its gFiler storage systems support p Fibre Channel.
In addition, system support has been extended to HP’s StorageWorks XP Disk Array family and IBM’s TotalStorage DS4000 series.