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April 05, 2010



All of the information that you are looking for is publicly available Vaughn. I am surprised you had trouble finding it. I am on vacation as well, but will be happy to provide links next week when I get to the office (If none of my fellow vSpecialists provide it first).

Vaughn Stewart

@Chris - That would be great. Enjoy your time off and ping me when youre back to work. Im reachable at v@netapp.com.

This message was sent by my thumbs... fault them for the brevity and poor spelling

Chad Sakac

@Vaughn - apologize that I wrote that post in anger.

To be frank, I didn't get the "look NetApp presented at the MN VMUG!" email until after you and I had our email dialog - and got me infuriated. I can see how that timing was hard on you while on vacation, but that wasn't on my mind at the time - again, my apologies for that.

This whole episode has reminded me that to blog while angry is not a wise thing, just like emailing while angry.

I stick to my guns on one thing (along with still being angry). It's also not wise to directly throw competitors under the bus, and I think it reflects badly on you and on NetApp.

My point was the table was incorrect (you may think it's not material, I think it's material - in the end, the customer chooses), and incomplete (ditto), and the process of keeping it up to date is always going to be incomplete.

Likewise, any similar competitive exercise where EMC tries to keep "more current" than NetApp on NetApp invariably results (to the rest of the world and customers) with EMC looking bad, as it's impossible to know a competitor better than you know yourself. (do you REALLY think "I believe I might know more about EMC plug-in technology than Chad, maybe one of his vSpecialists can update him." - seriously?

BTW - On point 15, thanks for being more clear, so let me be more clear. EMC Replication Manager does what SMVI does (local replica that can be replicated to a remote target) across EMC replication technologies (in a way that I believe is similar to the way SMVI leverage Snapshots and Snapvault/SnapMirror operations at the array level). If that's how a customer is best served to do backup, great - we can both position that as a solution.

In some cases customers don't view (for many reasons) array based snapshots (even those replicated offsite) as a substitute (sometimes they DO view them as an augment for fast recovery under some circumstances) for enterprise backup (aka NetBackup, TSM, Commvault, NetBackup/Avamar to a target) as a backup solution. BTW - this is why EMC and NetApp fought so furiously for Data Domain. One answer is not always the right answer.

I've come to the sad conclusion that the only choice I have is to do a one, by one, line by line video recording of all the things claimed about EMC that are incorrect, supporting my original post comments, which I will do, of course - after EMC World. I have my hands a little full. Sigh.

The other element you selected to cut from my comment was that of course, being a NetApp constructed slide (designed from your world view, and designed to make you look good, of course), it neglects a series of vCenter plugins EMC has that NetApp does not. For example, Avamar integrates vCenter for backup reporting and management, and integrates with CBT and VADP. Is there a NetApp analogue? What about DPA's integration with vCenter, providing multitenant backup visibility? Is there a NetApp analogue to that? What about SCM's integration with vCenter, is there an analogue to that?

My point in saying that isn't that one is better/worse - it's that I think these marketing oriented things are stunts, and have limited value.

The key thing to me at least is that this is a recurring conversation with you and I - one that we've had many times over (starting with that first time in VMworld Europe when you crashed the EMC session - which you're always welcome to do). My viewpoint is that NetApp is a fine company, and has fine technology. They are do themselves a disservice when they directly start with negative comparison approaches. Literally, when training new vSpecialists on how to compete, my comment is "it's a very good thing that you can count on NetApp to, unprompted, throw EMC under the bus".

On to the other point (unrelated, but whatever) - likewise as the original points, Vaughn, you're incorrect. Both Vblock 1 and Vblock have NS-G8 (analagous to vSeries) as recommended elements on the BoM. All vCenter plugins available are supported on the Vblock. Like any product, Vblocks themselves (which should be viewed as a product, not a set of products) have an integrated lifecycle and product roadmap. Customers can expect ongoing updates to Vblocks, just like any product.

I hope that the whole episode didn't taint your vacation. It certainly tainted my week.

Vaughn Stewart

@Chad - thanks for the apologie.

As I've said in the past, EMC makes great arrays, but I believe NetApp technology is more in line with the requirements of a virtual data center or cloud deployment.

The chart demonstrates my point.

As to expanding the chart, I could but does it really help EMC? In all seriousness a VI admin can't even deploy a datastore in vCenter for a Symmetrix or Clariion array. Sure, one could buy a Celerra with their vblock 1 or 2, but vblocks 1 & 2 are designed to serve VMs on Symm and Clariion LUNs and not Celerra.

Any claims that suggest Celerra fronting a Symm or a Clariion should publicly state that VMware on Celerra is EMC's preferred storage architecture.

Are you willing to make such a statement?

Of course not.

I'd like to ask you to encourage correct sharing of information and drop these personal attacks. I don't believe they position EMC storage technology in a favorable light.

Please don't take out your frustrations for the lack of EMC & VMware integration on me, it would be better targeted at EMC engineering.

We are going to compete for the foreseeable future, let's try to make it a little more professional as we go forward shall we (even if one of us has a less than stellar offering).

Jason Linden

Vaughan & Chad,

All I can say is wow. I read Chad's post last week and said, "Rut Ro, this is going to get nasty." Then there was near silence on twittersphere. "Hmmm, NetApp must have really been launching hand grenades and running away." Of course I now understand why NetApp was quite.

I recently, within the past 6 months, joined the vendor side after spending the past 10 years in enterprises. Most recently I was at a company as VI 3 was being released and led the charge to virtualize the entire organization.... On NetApp storage. It was fabulous, besides the installation engineer not properly cabling filers and caused an outage when we had a hardware failure - almost lost my job (but we won't go there). In all honestly, I really enjoyed the NetApp platform and bet our business on it.

Fast forward to Nov 2009, I leave to join AdvizeX Technologies as the Consulting Practice Manager for Virtualization. How great, I am an independent mind and no ties to hardware, right? Wrong. AdvizeX is a top 10 EMC solution provider (and a top 10 HP solution provider, but we won't talk about their storage platform here). It could be the continual infusion of Kool-aide, but I have come to like the EMC product line up.

Why do I say all of this? I understand the war you guys are in. I know the FUD being tossed by both sides. Frankly, I am just glad to be watching a VMware related war and it not be about Cisco UCS. Won't go there. Anyway. I am more disturbed that you both claim to be friends. Friends don't let friends get stuck in the mud in blogosphere or twittersphere.

Chad mentioned in his post he has attempted to resolve the issue personally without success. I certainly hope this is true. I find it quite disturbing how far off the deep end this conversation has gone. After watching this for a bit last night, I wake up this morning to TweetDeck full of more banter and RT to just to make sure everyone knows your still fighting. You guys aren't the marketing guys, so stop treating it like a marketing conversation just pointing out what makes your product look better.

Personally, I think NetApp & EMC (or you guys personally) should jointly fund Tolly (picked them just to stir up the UCS focus) to do your comparison for you because neither of you will be objective at this point. One would hope the "friendship" would drive objectivity, but that has surely driven less objectivity. Once you guys build the matrix together, then come back with a joint post about features and stop the battle.

Better yet, open the June 11th VMmug with a hug and jointly speak to an agreed upon strengths/weakness chart. This is what our customers want! They are sick and tired of the continual vendor banter! Step up and your lumps were deserved. If you guys can't do this, then rent a UFC ring for the VMmug and resolve it that way...

Blog with Respect & Blog with Integrity. They are not mutually exclusive...

Vaughn Stewart

Re: [NetApp - The Virtual Storage Guy] Jason Linden submitted a comment to Blogging with Integrity?

@ Jason Well said. Customers deserve credible information regarding the abilities and capabilities of the technology they are considering to purchase and I fully endorse your suggestion to have multiple vendors or 3rd parties flesh out content like the vCenter integration chart.

My wife asked me why it was so important to have this conversation and in my reply I used the following analogy. Say your looking to purchase a new car and of the models at the top of your list one has a turbocharger and the other a supercharger. You know both enhance the vehicles ability to accelerate, so is that enough information for you to select the type of booster which meets your driving requirements? I suspect most would say no and at some point ask a sales representative for more information. Each sales representatives would share that their technology is a forced induction system that compresses the airflow in an engine. Now is this enough information to make a decision? For some maybe, for other its not enough and at some point someone has to go compare the two different technologies designed to provide similar results.

Id like to think of comparisons like in these posts as information sharing. Will the charts age and become inaccurate - yes. Will we have minor errors from time to time yes. Yet even with these flaws, we can start discussion which allows the data to be refined and ultimately in the hands of all.

Thanks again, I hope the negative personal tones which have infiltrated many blogs in recent weeks will cease.

Oh and for the record, my car has a supercharger.

the storage anarchist

Vaughn -

I'm restisting getting knee-deep into this argument, but allow me a couple of comments on the Symmetrix columns. With a little more info from you, I may back to offer some adjustments:

First, I think you have been perhaps a bit liberal in the NetApp check-marks in some of the categories. Maybe I misunderstand your point, but some of the first few rows seem to be specific to using VMware on top of NFS and unrelated to how VMware works with block storage.

That said, Symmetrix V-Max provides features commonly referenced as "auto-provisioning," while both V-Max and DMX provide "dynamical LUN masking" and even "grow/shrink" devices (thick and thin). Being an unabashed block-head, I'm just not sure we're talking apples/apples on these.

And on that note, giving Symmetrix a Red X for not being able to "Auto-configure NSF settings" seems a bit unfair, being as Symmetrix is a block device. As you later note several "NFS-only" features for NetApp, it would probably be more fair to say "N/A" for the NFS-specific stuff for both V-Max and DMX (and CLARiiON, for that matter).

You've also got me confused on the array-based "VM Cloning" and "datastore" cloning - depending on how you're using "datastore," I could argue that all of EMC's block storage platforms provide array-based datastore clones.

And the last one, "failover to backup disk array" has me confused as well - why do you say "RecoverPoint only"? Unless I miss your point, SRDF provides this functionality as well.

Like I said - if you can help this block-head understand what you're trying to say, I think I can back up some more changes that will Get (some of) The Red Out!!!

(Oh, and it goes without saying. If I were creating the comparison list, I might have a few more/different rows in the table. But like I said, I'm trying not to engage the battle, just clarify some of the points being made).

Nick Howell

brb grabbing some popcorn. :)


Vaughn - perhaps you could alter the chart to demonstrate the feature support across protocol stacks? Right now many of the features or points you make are only available in certain protocol stacks, and all protocol stacks can not necessarily be implemented in all environments. Some environments are Fibre Channel for a reason, so a chart that ignores the differing feature set across protocols might lead to incorrect analogies or inferences.

So as an existing NetApp customer utilizing the FAS3020 in FC environment, I might gather that I could benefit from things like dynamic grow/shrink datastores, which I obviously can't in my configuration.

the storage anarchist

How odd - you've now removed the "NFS Only" tags from the NetApp pages after I and a NetApp customer pointed out the same disparities...and changed apparently without any explanation.

"Blogging with Integrity?" - methinks not.

the storage anarchist

My apologies - I opened the wrong (old) version.

Still, Kent and I are waiting for your response as to which of the other features are NFS only and thus inappropraite to be compared with the block-only devices.

the storage anarchist


Must be something I said.

Vaughn Stewart

@Barry (aka the Storage Anarchist)

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and time, I’m truly flattered. The premise of this chart is to compare the level of storage integration made available to a VMware admin through VMware’s vCenter server. I believe some of the folks with storage backgrounds sometimes overlook this criterion.

Regarding the top few rows of the chart, specifically the LUN content, we can do exactly what is stated in the chart. From within vCenter a VI Admin can provision a net new datastore and our plug-in will complete this process including the LUN provisioning, masking, setting attributes like thick/thin, selecting paths, setting the multipathing policy, enabling ALUA, and connecting the LUN to all of the hosts where it gets formatted with VMFS.

The plug-in even handles the differences between VI3 and vSphere hosts, even when these two platforms operate in a mixed cluster.

On you point about NFS with the Symm… I think you're right. I plan to revise.

On datastore clones… again the chart depicts what a VI Admin can accomplish within vCenter. I'm not challenging that a storage admin can clone a LUN, but there are a number of additional steps required after that one in order to turn a LUN clone into a usable datastore. Would you agree?

On backups… NetApp has a very unique backup solution for VMware. We provide snapshot-based backups of VMs via SnapManager for Virtual Infrastructure. These backups reside on the production array and exist as the first line of data recovery.

As a best practice, backup data should to be copied onto another set of media and preferably stored offsite. When one replicates the NetApp snapshots to another storage array this remote offsite copy is not just a backup set but it can also be used for DR failover with VMware’s Site Recovery Manager.

Dual purpose of one set of data, is pretty cool (and saves $$$).

This capability is rather unique and not found in many disk to disk backup solutions (like Avamar or Data Domain); however, RecoveryPoint does provide this capability. As you know, EMC offers many backup solutions as hey provide various benefits and functions. RP is a CDP and replicates every block of data on every system, as such; it may not be an ideal for all of one’s VMs due to the bandwidth requirements.

With NetApp we deduplicate the production footprint, replicate the deduped backup data, and host offsite backups that are deduped and usable with DR. With your background and understanding, I hope you would consider this model impressive.

OK, I'm getting into 'sales mode' a bit here.

I'm flattered that you'd share your thoughts and comments. If you'd like more info or even a demo, where you drive, just let me know and I'll make it happen. Ping me at v@netapp.com and we'll go from there.

Thanks again.

Vaughn Stewart


Thanks for the comment. I like the idea. I am planning on revising the chart and offering EMC to have input on it. Let me see if I can make your suggestion work.



Vaughn, thanks for taking the time after getting back from your family vacation to construct such a balanced, salient point by point technical rebuttal.
Thanks to you both for challenging each other to cut through the marketing and continuing to help the customers create the best solutions.

-- Netapp and EMC customer

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