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Author: philieu One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 61  
Subject: Snap 4000 vs Netapp F720? Date: 2/25/2000 7:01 PM
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dau,

can you comment on the above referenced post in the nTap board by TinkerShaw?

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?id=1190046000552001

Regards,
Philip
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Author: dbau One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 22 of 61
Subject: Re: Snap 4000 vs Netapp F720? Date: 2/25/2000 9:37 PM
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I'm no expert in this area, just learning. Hope I'm not hyping DSS too much. I'd like to hear the negatives as well as the positives.

But here are some positive thoughts.

Each of TinkerShaw's points:

(1) will major players buy it. These players depend on 24/7100% uptime of which NTAP is known to give

The major players won't buy it at first, but this seems OK. Quantum's move upmarket is an "attack from below", and if they are being successful they will capture the low-end customers first. The minor players. The major players will follow after Quantum product capacity catches up with their needs, and after minor players have shown them that there is proven reliability and a big price/performance benefit.

(2) Will current clients of NTAP buy a Quantum product given (1) difficulty of compatibility with existing NTAP systems and (2) unknown reliability problems, (3) no certification from software makers such as Oracle or Real Network.

Current clients will be slow to switch, and integration issues are a big question mark for me. But there are a couple hopeful possibilities to consider.

(1) Quantum brings storage-integration knowledge for backup solutions via DLT, so they possibly have engineers that understand - at some level - how to integrate with NTAP and EMC systems.

(2) We're still at the early stages of the growth for the NAS business - that's why it's interesting - and it's possible that the number of new customers (who care less about legacy integration) simply exceeds the number of old customers (who care more about legacy storage). After all, NTAP is gaining on EMC....

(3) Basic file sharing is the killer app, so Quantum can begin competing even without support from Oracle and Real. And in the end, it's in the interest of Oracle and Real to work on all the most popular storage systems; they don't benefit if they tie themselves just to NTAP. If Quantum can build a filer with broad appeal and compelling price/performance, then we can expect Oracle and Real will work with them.

...Therefore, if it wants to bust into this market it had better well be a much better product at a much better cost than what NTAP is selling.

TinkerShaw is right that the price/performance advantage DSS proposes needs to be dramatic if they want to win. But I think that DSS may just pull it off.

The interesting thing about focusing on the ultra-low-end market first is that in the super-low-end market, the product design has to be very economical, and administration costs really need to be zero. There's the hope that DSS's stupid low-end design will be appealing to data centers filled with more and more NAS boxes.

When your box costs $3,000 instead of $30,000, it makes sense to just throw the whole thing out when it starts to cause problems or when it needs to be upgraded, rather than wrestle with all the problems of opening it up and replacing components. So perhaps as price drops dramatically there's room for a qualitatively different approach than NTAP's big filers.

I want to find out more about the design of the Snap 4000 when it comes out. My hope is that we'll find that Quantum has designed a much simpler product than NTAP's 700 series filers. We'll see.

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Author: BobSutton Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 23 of 61
Subject: Re: Snap 4000 vs Netapp F720? Date: 2/25/2000 11:14 PM
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Dave, thanks for tossing some stimulating fuel on a fire that benefits us all. I'm jet-lagged and overdue for a nap that precludes any more thoughtful reply, but have two observations I've observed in the high-end SAN and tape silo wars that might be germane...

First, vendor loyalty is not nearly as hardwired as some would portray it. Large corporate storage clients are aggressive shoppers and seem inclined to award new and incremental storage bids mostly on the basis of price/performance. Anecdotally (over the past six to nine months), nobody in that market is commanding much premium except EMC and I've heard enterprise purchasing people use them as an example of everything that can go wrong with a vendor lock-in. Some of the big NYC financial institutions are letting it be known that they're buying "brand-x" just to keep EMC honest and at least two of the big SAN vendors regard sales-cycles to displace EMC as more attractive than their competitive server sales cycles and focusing resources accordingly. A three- to six-month payoff is not considered unreasonable. So, I wouldn't immediately consign DSS to the low-end ghetto if their NAS solutions are capable of moving upstream and they have relationships to build around.

Second, regarding your observation:

The interesting thing about focusing on the ultra-low-end market first is that in the super-low-end market, the product design has to be very economical, and administration costs really need to be zero. There's the hope that DSS's stupid low-end design will be appealing to data centers filled with more and more NAS boxes.

This is actually a very profound reality in a world that is rapidly embracing the out-sourced, co-located, lowest-cost footprint model that the ISP/ASP/HSP evolution brings to the table. With so much distributed-server capacity coming on-line in hosting services sites, it seems inevitable that costs will be driven out quickly. Low-end NAS that can demonstrably move up-stream should catch on the way rack-mountable, commodity servers have done.

Anyway, off to a glass of cabernet and some much-needed sleep...

Bob Sutton


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