Integrating Decru Technology

By eweek  |  Posted 2006-02-03 Print this article Print

Are there any plans to integrate Decru and NetApp technology or will the company continue to operate as a stand-alone business unit? What becomes of Decrus storage partners? [Decru is] running more like a division than a subsidiary. They share our human resources practices and policies; weve consolidated financial reporting, and manufacturing will be consolidated at well. The independence comes from both the engineering, product management and sales and marketing side of things.
Before we acquired Decru we had almost completed an agreement for an OEM model. We would OEM and resell Decru technology. We did not execute that. We turned it into an acquisition instead, but essentially that is the model were working on now.
So Decru internally OEMs their product into the NetApp sales force and they partner with other storage vendors as well like EMC and so on, through a non-NetApp sales force which really is Decru-specific. I dont see that aspect changing. We like to see our storage competitors comfortable partnering with Decru. Youll notice that EMC has this reseller capability. When an EMC salesperson wants to partner with Decru, we dont want them to feel inhibited. Thats by design. We want to keep them separate and theres really good business reasons for that. Click here to read about NetApps acquisition of Decru. On the technology front, theres already good decisions underway between engineering teams should part of the functionality flow to the storage systems and so on. And my view is that will evolve naturally over a period of years. You may want to do key management in the network but do the actual encrypting right at the storage unit. If EMC would like to incorporate the semiconductors that Decru developed to do encryption at wire speeds into one of their products, Id be open to the discussion. What can customers expect to see in terms of virtualization technology resulting from NetApps acquisition of Spinnaker? Why the delay? It has been a big job and Im very pleased. The technical strategy here was to take our current operating system which is now about roughly 12 or 13 years old called Data ONTAP and integrate that with the Spinnaker operating system, Spin OS. Its the fusion of the two that will essentially create a new generation of operating system for us. That is a big challenge. Think about taking the Macintosh OS and Windows and putting that together. That is a big challenge. Its a lot of code—its millions and millions of lines of code. I have confidence it will be ready to go to market early [this] year. How will the "next-generation" NetApp OS/Spinnaker technology being developed be able to benefit storage systems? The first major component for the Spinnaker architecture was the ability to scale out. That is to have more machines, more processors, scale horizontally and still retain the notion of a single system. You can start with one machine, coupled to another, coupled up to a third, coupled up to a fourth, and you get all that computer power parallel. Its actually I/O power in parallel, so you can build a storage infrastructure that can scale as broad as your compute infrastructure. Thats what we think is the next stage in storage architecture. The other thing it does in the first release is it provides what we call a unified namespace, which is the way a single system image is achieved. Normally, to access a piece of data you have to know which volume or which disk its on, be it either disk B or disk C, or volume on the network. The idea here, analogous to URL naming convention, by having a standardized naming scheme, the system will resolve the names of the location in a transparent manner. What that means is that you can migrate data from one unit to another, transparently to end users or applications, so data management becomes independent of whats going on in server and end-user sides of the equation. What pitfalls must NetApp avoid as it remakes its brand from strong NAS-based roots into a storage provider with much more under the hood? I really dont endorse the strategy EMC has with moving into applications space with things like Documentum. To us, thats an inappropriate expansion at least from our perspective. Were going to do everything a customer needs in the area of storage infrastructure. Storage infrastructure to me includes all data management services that go with it, like managing all content in [an enterprise]. You can conjecture where that might go, [such as] embedding search and indexing into a storage infrastructure so you can more easily find information, things of that nature. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.


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