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NetApp partners pleased with new midmarket hardware

NetApp is making a bid for the midmarket, and has made some changes to its entry-level product line, the FAS2000 systems, directed at the storage needs of mid-size businesses.  The new FAS 2240 is touted as the most powerful entry-level product for the price that companies can build upon as their needs grow. The company has also repriced the existing FAS2040, which is designed for the more value-conscious needs of a small shop or remote office.

Todd Palmer, vice president of Americas Channels at NetApp, told me that the company currently has 16% of the midmarket storage space and is stealing share using the strength of the NetApp brand.

NetApp partners seem pleased with the change, which Palmer said was a reaction to partner and customer needs.

“It provides a great competitive answer to EMC and to the wider competition at the mid-entry level,” said Shawn Hamby, director of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems.  “A full featured system with a decent amount of controller horsepower will be well received.”

NetApp partner David Hekimian, CTO of Trace3 agreed that the new products fill a need seen by channel partners.

“I needed a NetApp FAS2000 that could scale up and allow me to get my foot in the door,” said Hekimian.

He shared that the previous iteration of the FAS2000 didn’t have all the features, but the new release has given customers a smaller platform with all the features.

The FAS2040 has limitations around interface connectivity and internal drives. These include choosing between  either the onboard 1 GB Ethernet or 4 GB FC and no PCI slot expansion. Use of the internal drives limits what can be done with those drives after an upgrade. The FAS2240 is an improvement, according to Hekimian, with the available expansion slot for additional interfaces, 10 GB Ethernet or 8 GB FC. It can also be converted into a shelf that could connect to another controller.

“Making a lower-end offering more feature rich allows SMBs to take advantage of enterprise features and bring them one step closer in designing a flexible, scalable and more reliable architecture” said Hekimian.

And, he explained, as the customer needs to scale up, the head can be replaced, making the system go from the 2000 series to the 3000, 4000 or 6000 series and keep the customer disks and avoid data migration.

The most common midmarket use for the new system Hamby said, is multiple protocols and applications such as Exchange, VMware and SQL server deploying on the system.

“A typical midmarket company can deploy two or three of these applications on a single NetApp system, providing economies of scale and ease of management,” he said.

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BYOD complicates the landscape for MDM. There are few solutions for mobile device and thereby network access for companies that wish to support employee owned devices. The issues around security with devices owned by employess have not been easy to manage. I suggest that more companies will not want to take on the burden of purchasing, owning and managing personal use devices. Too restrictive for an employee to be able to use the smart device for common personal use cases.

Enter Toggle. This is an application that came out of AT&T's Foundry specifically addressing BYOD devices. I believe this is the future model for MDM. Ultimately attempting to control Mobile access via enterprise applications misses the ultimate mark.