Network Appliance’s upcoming product announcement will revolve around the VTL technology it gained when it bought Alacritus last year, and not its much-needed Excelsior flagship hardware, or its Spinnaker-based cluster file system, according to sources.
Network Appliance is expected to focus on its VTL technology in its upcoming product announcement.
Backing up those reports, the company is promising a webcast that will unveil new products related to data management, disk-to-disk backup and security. The webcast will involve speakers from NetApp, its encryption subsidiary Decru, and Symantec.
That may surprise some, because NetApp has already promised to ship the replacement for its current flagship FAS 980 boxes, code-named Excelsior, in its current fiscal quarter ending in April.
NetApp has described Excelsior as what our high-performance customers are waiting for, and says it will deliver significantly more performance than the 980, and a host of new features.
The 980 is already facing tough competition from EMC’s Celerra. As an indication of how much it needs to be replaced, NetApp itself says that 980 sales are being cannibalized by the mid-range FAS3000 box that it launched last summer.
That alone puts pressure on NetApp to ship the 980. Another factor is that the best time to launch new products is usually at the beginning of a quarter, in order to reduce the effects of delayed purchases on quarterly sales numbers.
NetApp has always been vague about when its Spinnaker-developed cluster file system will first ship as software integrated with the company’s OnTap OS. Last November the company said it would show this technology in March 2006, and talked of having slipped by only one quarter on a twenty-four month schedule for the integration.
NetApp bought Spinnaker in a $300 million stock-swap made just over two years ago, so if it is only one quarter late, Spinnaker is due very soon. But NetApp is under far less pressure with Spinnaker than it is with Excelsior.
Not only does NetApp’s major NAS rival EMC not yet have any public plans to offer a clustered file system, but the technology is unlikely to appeal to mainstream buyers for a while yet.