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Subject:  Re: Return Of Grasshopper Date:  3/6/2000  12:42 AM
Author:  rchampoux Number:  1373 of 8794

You might want to revisit that thought about calling NTAP a gorilla.

I did a Gorilla analysis of NTAP a couple of months ago. My conclusion was that NTAP wasn't a Gorilla, but had the potential to become one if it maintained its market share (more than double the nearest competitor) and NAS became prevalent. I suggested that NTAP's "open, proprietary architecture" resided in its proprietary ONTAP operating system and proprietary WAFL (Write Anywhere File Layout) storage protocol. The "openness" derived from the ability of NTAP file servers to deliver data to any kind of server (NT, Unix, or Web) without losing any of the attributes of the data.

Here's the post:

And here's a diagram showing WAFL becoming embedded in the storage network along with a lot of other open protocols - the difference, of course, that WAFL is proprietary to NTAP. Looks an awful lot like those diagrams of enabling software in the Gorilla Game, doesn't it?

What's changed since the post is that the nearest NAS competitor (EMC, with 18.2% market share vs. 45.9% for NTAP) was actually shown not to have as large a market share as believed. The reason is that EMC actually includes its in its NAS revenues sales of Symmetrix storage systems that are attached to its Celerra file servers. For a number of reasons, this makes it not necessarily an apples-to-apples comparison with NTAP's NAS business.

Also, NTAP's management has gone on record several more times recently saying that it tries to model its business after Cisco's. Let's see, a dedicated appliance optimized to serve storage (route packets) with a proprietary ONTAP (IOS) operating system and proprietary WAFL protocol for storing data (sorry, I forget the name of Cisco's networking protocol) - sounds like there could be a little primate potential there. Only time will tell...

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