In an ironic twist of fate, two companies that are well represented in most of the data centers we work with are getting tangled up in a legal fight over patents and technical innovation. IMHO the only winners in this battle will be the attorneys because the customers of each company don’t want to take sides, they just want their data center to deliver high availability access to their data resources. The risk of boffins at Sun and NetApp implementing proprietary protocols and locks to prevent interoperability between Sun equipment and NetApp equipment is a scary thought to many data center managers.
I hope that these companies can settle their differences quickly and amicably, because there are many new players in the enterprise storage marketplace that may come to market with a disruptive technology which inevitably will hurt both Sun and NetApp. Additionally NetApp’s customers, employees, stockholders, integrators and resellers may get pulled in to this by being forced to take sides and make recommendations based on legal ramifications rather than on technical grounds.
Chris Mellor of techworld has an excellent article on the subject, and it seems that he is as surprised by this as I am.