NetApp: Virtualization Represents Security Threat

The EMEA channel chief said that customers can achieve savings from virtualization technology but have to spend on security.

BY: Arnaud Dimberton

CANNES, France-Juan de Zulueta, vice president of EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Asia] channels at NetApp, talked with eWEEK about the storage giant's virtualization strategy during the VMworld conference here.

Zulueta said that virtualization can result in savings of up to 90 percent, but also creates a high-risk environment. He said that, "customers need to implement high-end security solutions."

Here are some of his remarks:

What does an event like VMworld mean for NetApp?

It helps us demonstrate our commitment to virtualization, both to our partners as well as our customers. We've been able to explain where we're going and also to prove that partners and customers will be able to use our solutions. Virtualization isn't something new for NetApp. We're very strongly committed to integrating with tools like those offered by VMware, and we have a significant number of partners offering virtualization solutions to address problems that are impossible to address by traditional physical means.

How long have you been working with VMware?

We've been working with them for several years, but we've become much closer over the past year, bringing our R&D teams together so that we could jointly develop solutions to specific problems. We just announced SnapManager for VMware, which lets customers use VMware command lines to automate virtual machine management as well as storage management processes.

Will NetApp remain specialized in storage?

Yes. We're committed to storage virtualization. We realized very early on that virtual storage is very advantageous from a number of perspectives, such as deduplication.

If a customer wants to create 350 or 500 workstations, we can create those workstations on a single physical machine. That leads to a smaller storage footprint, lower power consumption and a smaller data center. In some cases, you can use one tenth of the storage you were using before, amounting to 90 percent savings.

NetApp customers can also take advantage of our thin provisioning, which means any allocated space is actually used. Depending on which application they're using, they can save a lot of storage space that way. And our data protection and recovery solutions are scalable as well.

Does virtualization entail a security risk?

Virtualization can lead to what is referred to as a single point of failure. Virtualization rhymes with consolidation, and that could lead to additional security risks. That means that customers need to implement high-end security solutions. But where outages are concerned, virtualization lets you simply data back-up and recovery.

How strong is the virtualization market in France?

The French market is driving us. We're working closely with IBM – especially for servers – and Bull, both of which have adopted virtualization strategies. We've also launched a program to attract HP partners in order to help them diversify their offering by integrating NetApp solutions into their environments.

Is the virtualization market in full bloom yet? What are your goals for 2008?

I think there is significant momentum now, which is why we've created a specialized virtualization division. The purpose of the division is to make sure all of our solutions are aligned, put together reference infrastructure, manage implementations, work with our partners in the server universe (notably IBM and Fujitsu Siemens), as well as to develop marketing and technical structures to make this investment pay off. It's important to keep the momentum moving because it's leading to spectacular advances. We think this approach will make us the No. 1 data replication software vendor in the world during 2008. We're very encouraged by our results so far.