We are examining a pair of leading enterprise data storage providers, Nexsan and NetApp, in a head-to-head matchup to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
Let’s see how they compare to each other in several key categories:
See more: The Storage Management Market
Many of Nexsan’s clients are governmental contractors, particularly national laboratories under the Department of Energy or defense contractors, like Raytheon. As such, their products have an added emphasis on data security, and the company bills itself as the leading provider of reliable and secure data platforms. Nexsan’s primary storage products are broken into five categories:
- Unity Enterprise-Class Storage: All-flash enterprise NAS. High-availability storage for block, file, and object protocols. Has support for immutable block and file snapshots. Designed for data resiliency, security from cyberattacks, and greater regulatory compliance. Scalable to 3.3PB.
- V-Series NVMe Storage Platform: Designed for high-performance, low-latency cloud applications. Up to 7.1 GB/s bandwidth, with 116 TB usable capacity against 464 TB effective capacity.
- E-Series P & F Storage Platforms: “Ultra-reliable” storage platforms, geared toward sensitive data with high-security needs in industries, such as surveillance, government, health care, and the financial sector. Up to 3.24 PB capacity.
- The BEAST Elite Storage Platform: High-reliability, high performance storage, backed by software that enables encryption, snapshots, robust connectivity, and support for asynchronous replication. Up to 3.24 PB capacity.
- Assureon Data Vault: Geared toward high-compliance requirements, such as HIPAA, GDPR, SEC-17, and WORM. Uses a unique file fingerprinting and asset serialization process, along with blockchain technologies to secure digital assets.
NetApp offers a very broad suite of services, targeting in-house data management, cloud services, and hybrid cloud solutions. Through nearly 30 years of acquisitions, NetApp has greatly expanded its portfolio. A sampling of their products include:
- FAS Storage Arrays: The company’s flagship storage products, each of which strike different balances between performance, capacity, and other demands of enterprise-class workloads. Highly scalable, with some clusters able to reach 176 PB in raw capacity.
- ONTAP Data Management Software: Unix-based proprietary operating system that aims to provide a seamless management of data, regardless of its location in the cloud or on-premises. Deployed on many NetApp products such as FAS arrays.
- SolidFire All-Flash Storage: Private cloud all-flash units with dynamic scaling, automation, and API hooks.
- StorageGRID: Software-defined object storage system, available as software only or for turnkey appliances within a hybrid or multicloud environment. Can be deployed as virtual machines or Docker containers.
- E-Series Data Storage: Hybrid flash storage systems, aiming for a middle ground between price and performance. Their largest array supports up to 180 concurrent drives, giving the system a total capacity of 2.16 PB.
See more: Top Trends in Data Storage Management
Nexsan’s partner program offers its members the typical partner benefits, such as sales leads, registration for exclusive pricing on various deals, free online or in-person technical training, and accessibility to sales tools, such as e-books, presentations, webinars, white papers, and market analyses. To become a member, Nexsan imposes several requirements on applicants, including: an open distribution model, an NDA, meet certain sales transactions each year, and participate in marketing campaigns for Nexsan products, among many other requirements.
NetApp breaks its partner program into five paths, as the company describes them:
- Global Systems Integrators: Focus on building skills and creating sales
- Solution Providers: Business growth through NetApp technologies and brand strength
- Service Providers: Accelerate solution deployment and reduce time to reach a positive ROI
- Cloud Partners: Integrate NetApp’s cloud suite into partner cloud offerings in public clouds, like Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud
- Alliance Partners: Accelerate innovation, expand market awareness, grow sales with NetApp solutions.
NetApp currently partners with more than 30,000 businesses across the globe. Google recognized NetApp as the “Cloud Technology Partner of the Year.”
The California Institute of Technology collaborates with NASA to capture and analyze data from the nearly 20-year mission of the Spitzer Space Telescope. The telescope routinely dispenses with 100 TB of image data, putting a heavy burden on CalTech’s data storage systems. For over two decades, CalTech has partnered with Nexsan to expand its server capacity, adding 2,000 drives, 130 controllers, and 65 chassis, with hardware, such as the Nexsan SATABeast, SATABoy, and most recently, the E-Series storage systems, achieving an efficient management of 2 PB of storage. Much of this was possible with Nexsan’s Automatic Massive Array of Independent Disks (AutoMAID) system, which saves energy without impacting performance.
Ducati sought to capture data from every aspect of its high-end motorcycle racing, aiming to find opportunities to optimize bike performance. In partnering with NetApp, Ducati equipped each of its bikes with 40 physical sensors, sending them on the raceway and capturing their performance in real-time. Back ending this effort were NetApp high-performance computing clusters, processing telemetry as it was received, and giving Ducati a higher fidelity of information for all of its tests. Ducati has since expanded this program to include over 15,000 of its motorcycles across the world, someday hoping to achieve the same data capture off 100,000 bikes in the wild. The company says this data capture has reduced the length of its typical prototyping process by as much as 30%, getting new bikes more rapidly to the market and keeping the company competitive.
Reviews for Nexsan are generally favorable, but sparse — perhaps no surprise considering the private nature of many of its primary clients. Customers praise performance, scalability, and the value of its services. Nexsan’s technical service is quick to respond to customer issues, and the design of system firmware is praised for enabling flexible updates. Some customers report some issues with the security, service, and support aspects of certain products.
NetApp reviews are abundant and overwhelmingly positive. Customers praise the high performance of all-flash solutions, despite the added costs. They also enjoy NetApp’s data management system, with an attractive GUI that is intuitive and efficient, though some customers find certain functions could only be used from the CLI. Some report issues with NetApp’s technical support, and some find solution documentation lacking. Customers largely find NetApp’s solution to be easily deployed, simple to manage, and the price to be competitive.
|Nexsan||~4.0 across Gartner Peer Insights|
|NetApp||4.7/5 across Gartner Peer Insights||
Nexsan received recognition for its partner program in 2020, garnering a 5-star rating for providing its partners with streamlined access to its products and services. It has also received awards for its storage products, such as the Storage Product of the Year award at the 2017 Storage Awards.
NetApp has received numerous awards, including the Microsoft 2021 Customer Experience Partner of the Year, the Stratus Award for Artificial Intelligence (and many other awards for its business intelligence (BI) and AI systems), the 2021 AWS Independent Software Vendor Design Partner of the Year award for its joint partnership with AWS on a fully managed, multi-protocol storage service to migrate enterprise workloads without refactoring, and it has won numerous awards for as a highly desirable place to work.
NetApp is tough competition, having established itself as an innovative, dynamic company that has seen remarkable success over the last couple decades:
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