NetApp, Veritas expand partnership

Network Appliance Inc. (NetApp) and Veritas Software Corp. are expanding a 6-year-old strategic relationship to include additional joint sales and marketing, product integration and cooperative technical support.

The companies together plan to offer a number of services for advanced data protection, high availability and storage resource management.

"Really, what this is all about is collaborating on joint sales, marketing and support of a broad array of services," said Rob Oderbery, vice president of business development at Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetApp.

Oderbery said products jointly developed by Veritas and NetApp are due out this fall and will continue to ship through next year.

In the meantime, both companies will focus on offering six services: a storage backup-and-restore application for Network Data Management Protocol; a disk-based backup using Veritas' NetBackup software to NetApp's NearStore array; a data migration service with Veritas' NetBackup Storage Migrator and NetApp's servers; replication with Veritas' Volume Replicator to NetApp's arrays; and an Oracle database performance optimizer using Veritas Cluster Server and NetApp storage.

The two companies are also offering a storage resource management service that uses Veritas' StorageCentral software to manage NetApp's storage servers for consolidated management of storage-area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS) systems.

While NetApp and Veritas were touting their expanded relationship, a NetApp official was less forthcoming about the prospect of a partnership with Microsoft Corp. In an interview with Computerworld earlier this week, Rich Clifton, vice president of NetApp's SAN/iSAN business unit, stopped short of using the word partnership in relation to Microsoft. He instead described the two companies as having synergies and said NetApp plans to use Microsoft's iSCSI driver and Multipath I/O software in upcoming SAN and NAS servers.

NetApp is considered the last major storage vendor holdout to partner with Microsoft on its Windows-based NAS platform. "We're the leaders on the target side, and they're on the host side," Clifton said. "I think there's a lot of alignment around that whole space."

Clifton referred to Microsoft's iSCSI driver as software that "screams" and said NetApp would use the software for connecting low-end Intel Corp. servers to its storage subsystems. "The iSCSI phenomenon is really going to be a play in the market. The speed of its growth, I think, has been underestimated by a lot of folks."

Clifton also said NetApp will shun proprietary load-balancing software, such as EMC Corp.'s PowerPath, opting instead for Microsoft's Multipath I/O application for its fault tolerance and failover capabilities. The applications currently ship as a device development kit to third-party partners such as EMC Corp., Hitachi Ltd., Hewlett-Packard Co., Veritas and NetApp.

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