Busting Moves and Busting Myths
by Michael Hay on Dec 10, 2007
There is a myth about our High Performance NAS (HNAS) Platform which I want to dispel: Our OEM provider, BlueArc, has built a platform that is rigid and slow to be updated providing little investment protection. Quite frankly, if you know about the platform, this is a logical fallacy and an erroneous conclusion. Unlike some of our competitors, an investment in this technology seriously protects a customer’s investment. For example, if a customer purchases the HNAS 2000 today they can upgrade all the way up to the 2200 model over time keeping the same chassis. Further, the engineering organization has made a commitment to keep the chassis around for at least three product generations and we are only in the second generation of that architecture. If I compare this to our key competitors, in the NAS space, a hardware upgrade means that customers lose a portion of their hardware investment when they want to go to the next HW technology, a shame that.
As to the other point about the platform being inherently rigid and slow to evolve—this is a sophomoric comment on not understanding that VHDL programming is software. The primary difference is that the VHDL code executes by being downloaded to an FPGA, the FPGA reconfigures itself based on the VHDL codes, and then executes the software . This means that in effect the software has been accelerated by the HW, again something that our competition cannot touch. The file system within the HNAS head is a 64bit object oriented file system with some pretty excellent inherent features and scaling capabilities. For example, the allowable capacity of the system is 0.25 petabytes in size, we can support up to 2 petabytes in a single system image across multiple nodes, and there can be up to 1024 snapshots per file system — enough snapshots to keep a copy of the file system every day for almost 3 years. This is only a mere sampling of the inherent capabilities of the file system, if you’d like to know more about this unique approach, I suggest that you go here, there is a great white paper I do suggest you read. I’ve also included their basic architecture for your reference and review.
The last point that I want to address is on product segmentation and using different technologies to handle different use cases. It is clear to me that some of our competitors, for example EMC, attempts to solve content archiving with at least two products: Centera and Celerra. Specifically, they have two competing products with “archiving” capabilities. Centera provides CAS capabilities for archiving, while Celerra provides a clone of the NetApp SNAPLock feature. EMC clearly recognizes two different use cases for archiving one is a checkbox to compete against NetApp and the other is for true long term archival. HDS’s strategy is a little bit different. Our OEM provider, BlueArc, does have something akin to SNAPLock, but we have them disable it for our markets and customer base. Instead, if there is an archiving requirement, we believe that there are different inherent needs that should be fulfilled differently — by the way BlueArc can resell the Hitachi Content Archive Platform (HCAP) so they too recognize that there are different use cases too. The reason we elected to not take on the WORM feature in the BlueArc file system is that we wanted to remove confusion and make it extremely clear what the platforms would be used for. EMC doesn’t have that luxury, I think that they wanted to have their cake and eat it too. So if I’m a customer I would certainly ask why EMC is deliberately trying to confuse me. As for NetApp’s approach, again I think they are very clear in their message; they view WORM as a feature of the file system and something that is fairly simple. On this point, we disagree and compete over the disagreement. HDS’s fundamental belief is that general purpose NAS device is insufficient for true long term archival. Quite frankly in my opinion general purpose NAS isn’t smart enough for real long term archiving – BlueArc and HDS get it, NetApp don’t…
Comments (2 )
Your site- blogs.hds.com is interesting resource, tnks, owner.
nice blog, thanks