NetApp Ups the Virtual Ante - EnterpriseStorageForum.com
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NetApp Ups the Virtual Ante

Network Appliance had a busy week, unveiling new storage products for VMware virtualization environments and announcing its quarterly financial results and a reorganization of its small business storage unit.

NetApp's latest products are intended to bolster the company's claim that it is the best-positioned storage vendor for VMware environments, said Jay Kidd, NetApp's chief marketing officer.

"We're going after this market hard," said Kidd. "Not a lot of companies out there know how to do it well.

"No one else has this level of application integration with the storage."

The new products include SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure, which NetApp says automates data protection and recovery of virtual machines and eliminates interruptions and performance hits caused by traditional server-hosted backups and restores. It works across both SAN and NAS environments.

Also, all Windows-based SnapManager products are now compatible with VMware, so NetApp customers can manage data within virtual machines and take advantage of the application-specific data management capabilities of SnapManager products. Versions are available for Exchange, SQL, SharePoint and Oracle. By extending SnapManager capabilities to virtual infrastructures, users now have common data management tools for both their virtualized and physical server environments, NetApp said. The products also accelerate deployment of Windows applications in virtual server environments.

The new Provisioning Manager uses policy-based automation to speed up provisioning processes, improve capacity utilization and reduce human error in both virtual and physical server environments, the company said. The thin provisioning tool works in both NAS and SAN environments.

Parag Patel, VMware's vice president of alliances, said in a statement that SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure "leverages VMware virtualization for improved management and automation, including virtual machine backup, restoration, replication and disaster recovery."

Ed Grassie, director of Technology and Infrastructure at BBM Canada, which provides broadcast measurement and consumer behavior data to Canadian broadcasters, advertisers and agencies, said NetApp solutions "supply the data storage power while VMware virtualization software enables us to distribute data and processing the way that we want. NetApp enables us to protect our data with immediate mirroring to remote systems to support disaster recovery. This provides extra time so we can either deliver the data earlier to customers or recover from other issues or problems along the way."

NetApp also upgraded Protection Manager to protect virtualized environments, and updated its Data ONTAP operating system with de-duplication for NetApp V-Series and MultiStore systems. NetApp also announced new virtualization professional services.

The products will be available later this spring.

Also this week, NetApp said it experienced 21 percent sales growth last quarter, but the company said growth will slow from that pace in the current quarter because of the slowing economy and pullbacks by financial customers hit by the global credit market crisis. NetApp's shares were down 6 percent on the news.

NetApp also said it is folding its SMB StoreVault division into its core FAS storage unit, essentially placing all its storage customers under the same organization.

"Today, StoreVault is focused exclusively on sales to small and medium businesses," said Kidd. "We see a bigger opportunity to expand the target for the StoreVault platforms into remote and branch offices as an extension of our core FAS product line. Coupled with our FAS2000 product, this now gives NetApp and our channel partners a broader entry product line to sell."

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