NetApp moves into high-end storage

New line of storage arrays is geared for large enterprise applications and data consolidation

Network Appliance on Monday will make its move into high-end storage with the launch of a new line of storage arrays geared for large enterprise applications and data consolidation.

NetApp is targeting its new FAS6000 systems against EMC's high-end Symmterix DMX and Hitachi Data Systems' Lightning arrays. The systems can concurrently support hundreds of applications based on SAN (storage area network) and NAS (network attached storage), and both Fibre Channel and SATA drives, said NetApp officials in Sunnyvale, California.

NetApp is offering two flavors of the new system: the FAS6030, which will replace NetApp's FAS980 and can scale to about 420TB; and the FAS6070, which scales to 500TB, officials said.

The storage vendor will also expand its software and services offerings to help storage administrators ease growing complexity in the data center.

"NetApp has built a legacy around ease of use and simplicity, they're known for their NAS being simple to deploy and manage, and now they're looking to extend this into the data center," said Brad Nisbet, an analyst with IDC, in Framingham, Massachusetts.

NetApp's Manageability Software suite, geared to improve data availability, productivity and storage utilization, now includes tools for applications, servers, data and storage. NetApp also expanded its services offerings with the launch of its Rapid Deployment Services for Storage Implementation for NetApp systems in NAS and SAN environments.

NetApp storage rival EMC is also making an effort to expand its software and services offerings, both in-house and by acquiring services providers. EMC's Chief Executive Officer Joe Tucci said recently that the company plans to buy several regional service providers this year. NetApp says it will enhance its services in-house and through partnerships, rather than taking the acquisition route.

Arup Group, a London-based provider of engineering, architectural, and planning services, plans to upgrade to the FAS6000 series, mainly for the scalability and performance boosts.

"We have a data structure that is growing 70 percent per annum," said Martin Cooper, chief technology officer, for Arup.

Arup, which has been a NetApp customer for about six years and has about 30 NetApp arrays deployed, opted for the storage vendor because of cost and the way its products integrate with Microsoft Exchange, Oracle and SQL databases, Cooper said.

The new FAS6030 and FAS6070 are available now, with pricing starting at $131,600 and $196,225 respectively, for 1TB of storage.