Shares in Network Appliance Inc rose $3.88 yesterday to $42.37 as the company announced the delivery of new data sharing software for its Unix and NT file servers (CI No 3,445). NetApp’s new Windows Networking software version 3.0 fills a gap that, according to the company, was holding back sales of the file servers to […]
Shares in Network Appliance Inc rose $3.88 yesterday to $42.37 as the company announced the delivery of new data sharing software for its Unix and NT file servers (CI No 3,445). NetApp’s new Windows Networking software version 3.0 fills a gap that, according to the company, was holding back sales of the file servers to NT customers – the market from which the Santa Clara, California-based company is expecting its strongest growth. Although it began in the Unix world, NetApp has been selling its dedicated network storage servers to customers running Windows clients for two years. The servers have their own operating system, OnTap, and their own high performance file system, WAFL, as well as simultaneously supporting NFS and CIFS data formats from both Unix and NT systems and HTTP for web support. But until now NT users have had to use Unix file permission and administration tools on the NetApp machines, something NT system administrators have not been too willing to do. Now NetApp has integrated NT file permissions into its file system, and added native support for NT administration tools and backup software. The company claims it’s got further than any other company towards integrating CIFS – Microsoft’s CIFS Common Internet File System (previously known under the less glamorous title of Server Message Block) – with the widely used NFS Network File System. It’s a more sophisticated integration, it claims, than the Santa Cruz Operation Inc’s VisionFS product, Sun Microsystems Inc’s Sunlink (sourced from Syntax Inc) and AT&T Co’s somewhat elderly Advanced Server for Unix, currently the subject of a lawsuit between AT&T and Microsoft Corp (CI No 3,432). NetApp’s somewhat less healthy rival, Auspex Systems Inc, uses Advanced Server for Unix. NetApp says it expects 90% of all companies with distributed systems will be dependent on both Unix and Windows NT by 2000, and that currently, around 30% of administrators share files between Unix and Windows. The company recently ousted Auspex from an exclusive network filer supplier agreement with Texas Instruments Inc. Analysts Merrill Lynch, which began covering NetApp last month, estimated the company’s July quarter was on track to make estimates of $0.18 earnings per share on revenues of $56m, compared with $0.17 EPS and $50.4m revenues last quarter. Fibre channel failover systems, and faster hardware (using the Alpha RISC chip) are due in the next few months. Meanwhile, the company is broadening out into Web caching, with a recently announced agreement with SkyCache Inc, the internet satellite data delivery company. But just as NetApp came from the low-end of the market and took Auspex by surprise, so a new generation of companies has spotted room in the file system appliance market. Both Mylex Corp’s Fremont, California-based Network Power & Light division and Mountain View, California- based Cobalt Networks, Inc have their eye on the same business. NetApp dismisses such companies as low-end, but it should remember – that’s what Auspex said.