“Competition creates better products, alliances create better companies.” Brian Graham

With Topio, NetApp and its partners get two key benefits, starting with low-cost disaster recovery, according to Rogers. “This will be quite popular with our customers. Now our NearStore solution can act as a disaster recovery device for competitors’ products. This gives customers a choice to not be held captive to their primary storage suppliers,” he said.

Over the last several years NetApp has tried to make their products as proprietary as possible to captivate their customers. For example, NetApp doesn’t use the standard 16 drive RAID array , like other manufacturers do, they use a custom 14 drive raid array. NetApp doesn’t use a standard canister, they use a proprietary sized canister. These are simple every day products that can help customers save money or lock them in. In every case NetApp looks to hold their customer in proprietary captivity.

A leopard can’t change its spots, and I don’t think customers should depend on NetApp to make it easy to work with their competitors, no matter how nice it sounds to the press and marketing folks. Will NetApp suddenly form an alliance with EMC to help customers? How did their alliances with Hitachi and Dell work out for customers?

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