Oct 28, 2008

NetApp's unified OS (still) in trouble

According to the Register, NetApp has "put all its US-based engineers to work on merging 7G and GX, its two ONTAP operating systems".

Part of the Spinaker acquisition in late 2003 (!), the GX product was supposed to bring true cluster capabilities to the NetApp product line. Instead, NetApp seems to have lost several Spinaker customers while not winning a lot of new ones (quite an understatement).

As an existing NetApp customer, we (Digiplug) took in mid '07 a long, hard look at GX, even though it was missing some important features (like remote replication to a Disaster Recovery site). In the end, we decided what we did not believe that NetApp would deliver. Looks like we were right.... We picked Isilon instead and haven't looked back ever since.

The sad reality is that NetApp is losing ground to more aggressive and more innovative companies. Since the big guns (HP, IBM, EMC) also seem to be moving faster than ever on clustering, NetApp could quickly find themselves between the hammer and the anvil... Especially with the slowdown affecting their existing customer base.

Hopefully, NetApp will drop the marketing B.S. and do what it takes to finally get a true cluster product out of the door.

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