Is Riverbed a threat to NetApp?

It must be hard to pick your strategic partners these days if you are a storage vendor. For example, Riverbed is a partner of NetApp , but it looks like Riverbed is about to release a very competitive product offering to cut the growth of storage.

Riverbed calls its new product Atlas, and says it can eliminate up to 95% of redundant data in corporate storage systems. In a release earlier this week, the company asserted that the Atlas appliance “will do for its customers’ data at rest” what the company’s Steelhead products “have done for their data in motion,” eliminating redundancy “which typically burdens IT infrastructure by slowing down access to data and applications and increasing costs and operational overhead of data management.”

“Wolford makes the eye-opening claim that alpha testers are finding they can increase primary storage by 300%-1,000% by using Atlas. That sure makes Atlas sound like a big threat to the storage vendors, don’t you think?

Riverbed said it plans to start shipping the product in the 2009 first half.

Not sure if the Riverbed news this week is responsible, but it is the case that storage stocks today are under pressure: NetApp today is down $1.70, or 7.8%, to $20.10; EMC is down 83 cents, or 6.5%, to $12.01; RVBD is down 18 cents, or 1.4%, to $12.77.”

NetApp’s executive suite seems to be getting ready for some sort of change in the storage marketplace and may be preparing their own golden parachutes.

Attached to the 10-Q NetApp filed on Sept. 3 were amended change-of-control severance agreements for CEO Daniel Warmenhoven and other unnamed executives that were effective on June 19

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