Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Sun-Tzu

I saw a headline today that made me think that NetApp is really starting to fear the second level storage companies who have a lower cost solution for reliable high availability storage.

3PAR(R) and NetApp(R) Form Joint Interoperability and Support Agreement

Joint customers have identified the dramatic reduction in storage capacity and management costs as the key benefit of the 3PAR and NetApp solution. Traditional datacenter infrastructures often consist of proliferating silos of block and file capacity. With this solution, both capacities can be reduced significantly through consolidation onto a single, massively scalable, tiered-storage pool. This storage pool is based on the 3PAR InServ Storage Server, with direct block access provided by 3PAR and file level access provided by the NetApp V-Series.

NetApp makes a substantial amount of its profits from selling Seagate hard disks and Xyratex storage shelves, obviously if NetApp’s salesman are going to give up the sales of disk and shelves they are going to lose some commission. And most sales folks don’t like to give up their commission to a competitors products. So how will NetApp – which is a hardware sales company going to make up the lost sales opportunities from this deal for its salesman?

Will this be a good opportunity for the 3PAR sales force? It gives them some gravitas, but how can working with a competitor be good for either sales force? A look back will show that NetApp does not play well with past partner companies like Dell, Hitachi and so many others. So it looks like they are taking Sun Tzu’s advice and keeping an eye on their enemy.

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