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NetApp Makes Play For High-Performance Storage

Network storage specialist Network Appliance today made its play in the high-performance Linux computing market, unveiling an operating system that stores and retrieves data from Linux clusters faster than typical storage arrays.

The software, which will run on NetApp's new FAS6070 and FAS3050 storage arrays, allows single files or file clusters to be presented to applications as a single system.

Moreover, data may be moved between storage nodes or tiers, easing data retrieval and management pain points. For example, Data ONTAP GX running on the company's FAS6070 file server scales up to 6 petabytes at a high rate of speed.

The Data ONTAP GX operating system is designed to work with data-intensive applications, such as those used in seismic processing, chip design and simulation and digital entertainment, said Rich Clifton, vice president and general manager of NetApp's networked storage business unit.

"This is for the environment where people are assembling very large quantities of compute power, and very large Linux farms to be able to crack difficult scientific and technical workloads," Clifton said.

"Customers need to be able to process any of the data in their large storage farm through any of these parallel processes in this large-scale application," Clifton said.

The parallel computing utility in Data ONTAP GX is the result of a global namespace technology NetApp grabbed when it bought Spinnaker Networks.

Global namespace functionality should be the key driver for Data ONTAP GX, which will compete with the Titan 2000 NAS servers from rival startup BlueArc.

BlueArc CEO Mark Gustafson said in a recent interview the global namespace in the Titan 2000 lines was a key reason why the machines have been selling so well since they went on the market in March.

Meanwhile, while IDC said NetApp is No. 2 in NAS and No. 1 in iSCSI, the Sunnyvale, Calif., company has only about a two percent market share in storage area networks.

The new FAS 6000 systems, coupled with Data ONTAP GX, are designed to help NetApp build on that small market share.

Data ONTAP GX is available now, with NetApp sales and sales partners providing price quotes based on implementation requirements.