So here’s my 1000000% unbiased independent <cough cough> opinion on some of the things being said.
One comment doing the rounds is “Large enterprises are stretching NetApp’s technology and they’re not keeping up”
I can;t see any honest person having a problem with that statement other than may be the fact that truly large enterprises are stretching all of their vendors technologies. Let’s face it, all of the vendors are struggling to cope with the explosive growth we have seen over the last howevermany years.
I also don’t think there is an honest person out there, in the know, who would argue against the statement that there is a ton of NetApp Sprawl out there in the large enterprises – and credit to NetApp for selling so much kit and cornering the market. However, this sprawl does cause problems, and such estates are a nightmare to manage. In fact, more often than not they actually don’t get managed. Then, when it gets really bad, those large enterprises end up calling in people like Chris, and some of the rest of us out there, to tidy up the mess.
DISCLAIMER and honest fact: I know Chris, and I know he is speaking from experience on this subject.
THOUGHT: One commenter even went so far as to call Chris "dangerous". I therefore propose that Chris change his name to Chris Danger Evans – a'la Austin Danger Powers!!!
If people don’t think that large enterprises are pushing NetApp technology beyond what it was designed for then those people almost certainly don’t work for large enterprises, or they are lying. Just look at the Spinnaker purchase (way back in 2003) and what NetApp are trying to do with OnTap 8 Cluster Mode. They’re not going through the pain of making those changes just for the heck of it. They’re doing it because they need to. In fact somebody may need to light a fire under their arses because they’ve been sitting on that Spinnaker code for a long time now and scale-out NAS is well and truly here…. .
I also defy any honest person to disagree that OnTap 8 with its two modes (7-mode and cluster-mode) is anything other than a rats nest. I mean how complicated do you want to make things for your customers!? With so many half-baked features it does little more than cause confusion. Could they have done this any worse? However, they could come good on it over the next few releases.
Balancing it up
However, even if NetApp technology is being pushed and arguably not keeping up with the huge growth demands, its pretty damn hard to find somebody out there with a better story –
- They have the biggest ecosystem in the NAS space (3rd parties writing to their API’s like crazy)
- They have some of the tightest integration with the higher elements of the stack
- They have a great story for VDI using their PAM cards and ASIS de-dupe technology
And that’s not a comprehensive list. So even if you find somebody who has abetter scale-out story, you can almost bet they don’t do all the good stuff NetApp do.
Also, in the SMB space the fact that their boxes do multi-protocol (CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, FC, FCoE) can be a great benefit. And you generally don’t get the unmanageable sprawl in the SMB space either.
Yes NetApp technology and architecture is being pushed and there is sprawl out there. Yes the Spinnaker integration is taking an age. But you’d be hard pressed to find anybody with a better NAS and unified story.
Obviously nobody is truly unbiased or independent, but that’s my penny’s worth.