The new Clariion products allow users to replace disk drives, power supplies, cooling fans and small form-factor pluggable optical transceivers on their own. A new Disk Replacement Utility wizard guides them through the process, checking each step to make sure data is protected, according to EMC. In the third quarter of 2006, the company will add processes and utilities to enable qualified customers and partners to perform their own installation of the CX3 arrays. “VARs [value-added resellers] can put together services on top of the Clariion without having to call in EMC and customers that want to can install the systems themselves,” said Barry Ader, senior director of Clariion marketing at EMC.
If NetApp’s customers are looking for a low priced alternative this EMC equipment might be the ticket. I have also heard that NetApp is going to release a FAS270 with SATA disk, at a really low price point. So, we could see a price war emerge at the high end of the storage marketplace and also at the low end of the marketplace. That will be great for consumers, but it will be bad for NetApp’s resellers because they may get squeezed out of profitability, because EMC sells through Dell on the low end. Many years ago NetApp and Dell had a relationship, but when it went south, Dell and EMC got together. It should be interesting to see what happens at the low end of the market. I don’t think IBM will sell it rebranded NetApp equipment into the low end of the marketplace, so there might become a real stratification in the sales channels for NetApp equipment. Perhaps NetApp will even look at a lower price point reseller than Dell soon, and you will be able to go to Best Buy soon and buy your filers! Stranger things have happened!