The score Other analysts, however, see NetApp leading a trend away from the relatively expensive, specialized SANs and toward iSCSI, a technology that uses IP-based networks to enable enterprises to link every storage device with every server. This approach is better suited to virtualization than SAN is because it allows storage to share the same network as other data center components, and it also uses less-expensive equipment, says Nemertes Research analyst Andreas Antonopoulos. The virtualization trend should play to NetApp's traditional strengths, he adds. "They were always the company of less-expensive, ubiquitous storage."
Goel says NetApp has rejected the approach of large vendors such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM to sell multiple data center components. Instead, NetApp plans to stay focused on storage, a strategy executives believe will help it to innovate. Like EMC, however, NetApp has formed partnerships with big data-center suppliers, including Cisco, VMware and Microsoft, to cement its place in this rapidly converging world.
Read more about green data center in CIO's Green Data Center Drilldown.