Sun is getting ready to fight NetApp.

Watching the development of ZFS for the last few months this announcement was inevitable.

Sun to fry NetApp with FISH
Smells like NAS, dude
By Ashlee Vance in Mountain View

Sun Microsystems has a near-term NetApp assault in store code-named ‘FISHworks.’

The FISH stands for “Fully Integrated Software and Hardware” and comes from work done by some of Sun’s top software engineers over the past year.

The first run of the technology will see Sun bundle Solaris, the ZFS file system, DTrace and a number of other software packages together on a NAS (network attached storage)-like hardware system. Sun hopes to kick NetApp where it hurts, banking on the theory that no one wants a complex, proprietary storage OS in this day and age.

This could become a very interesting battle between Sillycon Valley companies, I wonder if NetApp will pull out all of the Sun equipment it has in its data centers? A lot of NetApp’s resellers sell Sun Equipment. Will NetApp let its resellers sell competitive products from Sun?

It might be the time for NetApp’s resellers to clarify the following comments from NetApp to see if they can sell Sun equipment and NetApp equipment as the Sun equipment comes to market.

Solution providers who do not take advantage of NetApp run the risk of being left behind as that company continues to grow rapidly, Warmenhoven said. “If that doesn’t happen, you will be a less significant partner of ours,” he said last week. “Let’s scale together.”

On Wednesday, he clarified his comments by saying that a lot of channel partners have the tendency to sell less value-added products. “There’s quite a bit of disparity as to which partners take advantage of the opportunities and which do not,” Warmenhoven said. “We want our channel partners to be representatives of NetApp. It’s up to them to take the whole product line. Some, however, want to just flip the hardware, just take the P.O.”

As NetApp’s software sales continue to grow, solution providers who do not make software a part of their sales will lose out on many of the incentives NetApp offers, including training and rebate credits, Warmenhoven said. “We’ll see more and more of our programs tilted that way,” he said.

NetApp has no plans to punish or drop solution providers who don’t focus more on storage sales. “They’ll stay in the program because they do have a certain value to us,” Warmenhoven said.

What is a solution provider to do if Sun makes a similar statement to them? At the end of the day, the customers will get a better price because of the competition between these two titans. Perhaps NetApp will be forced to remove the software storage limits on it Filers to meet the competition. That would be a smart move!

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