I really like Dave Hitz, he took me to dinner once at a Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Baltimore. He seems like a really nice & sincere guy. But over the years he seems to have changed his tune about the direction of his processors – Flip Flopping between Intel & Alpha and back to Intel. His dislike for SANs was legendary, but he likes them now. I linked the quotes below to the complete articles they were taken from so you can read his thoughts in context. So what seems like a Flip Flop on SANs might be the invisible hand of the market forcing NetApp to focus on the needs of the customer.

“The claims of the SAN vendors sound similar to ours” said Hitz, “But they are dealing with raw disk data. Unix and NT file systems are very different”. NetApp’s file system software includes data sharing between Windows and NT, supporting NFS and CIFS data formats from both Unix and NT systems and HTTP for web support.

To put the announcement into perspective, before last week Network Appliance didn’t just specialize in NAS, it detested SANs. “For five years, I’ve been the guy on the stage telling you SANs suck,” said David Hitz, a Network Appliance founder and executive vice president of engineering, during the announcement.

‘I had been explaining to Don why NAS was great and SAN was not, although some customers had been saying we should do SAN,’ Mr Hitz said. ‘And he said: ‘in this economy, if a customer wants to give you money, I recommend you take it.’ That’s what we decided to do.’

No matter which way NetApp twists and turns in the future, our customers know that Zerowait will have the parts and technical support they require to keep their NetApp systems running reliably for years to come at a very reasonable price . Unlike NetApp which concentrates on their quarterly sales numbers, Zerowait is concentrating on providing our customers long term value from their current data storage infrastructures.

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