Network Appliance eyes SAS-based analytics

NAS (network attached storage) giant Network Appliance (Netapp) on Tuesday announced that it has joined the SAS Partner Program in an effort to deliver BI (business intelligence) products to the Netapp platform.

As a member of the SAS program, Netapp will work with SAS to develop advanced BI technology for Netapp customers that includes data mining and ERP, according to Netapp representatives based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Participation in the program will also yield a customer outline of "best practices" for deploying and managing SAS BI tools on Netapp storage filers, according to Netapp.

Decaying hardware margins are prompting storage vendors like Netapp to offer software and services, such as the SAS BI tools, to derive revenue and differentiate themselves from competitors such as EMC, said Steven Elliot, a research director at Hurwitz Group, in Framingham, Mass.

"If you are Netapp, you are looking for every different type of differentiator from a service management perspective that you can deliver," said Elliot.

"Netapp is looking at it from the standpoint of all these things that customers are asking for to help deliver services. And because services are where things are headed, rather than just a hardware box, all of the sudden it's really about what type of implications on my business processes, or business applications, does the storage have?" explained Elliot.

Netapp last May relinquished its No. 1 position as the world wide leader in NAS storage to rival EMC, according to IDC, in Framingham, Mass. Netapp was one of the industry's originators of NAS storage.

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