… and NetApp buys Engenio …

[updated]

Ok, this one is huge. Many of the higher end storage folks in the HPC world use this hardware. Which NetApp will now own.

NetApp is not an HPC storage vendor, and I don’t think they have designs to be one [update] yes they do! But this goes to Cray, SGI, Oracle, Dell, IBM, HP, and many others (DDN, Bluearc, Terascala, etc.) who do use Engenio.

We don’t use it, so its really not an issue to us.

To a degree, it makes sense for NetApp, as a way to go after EMC (and EMC’s recent acquisition of Isilon).

The impact in the HPC world should be interesting. We need to see NetApps intentions going forward.

For all HPC companies (and others) whom are worried about these issues, feel free to drop us a line. We and our partners would be more than happy to provide you with absolutely massive IO firepower and capability you need to stay competitive.

[update] According to Netapp’s own PR on this:

Engenio will enable NetApp to address emerging and fast-growing market segments such as video, including full-motion video capture and digital video surveillance, as well as high performance computing applications, such as genomics sequencing and scientific research.

Ok … the game has changed.

Netapp likely will want its own brand on the storage going into these opportunities, and control over the account. Pretty much anyone who is reselling this gear has to make some decisions soon. Lots of transitions are going to happen quickly.

Will Netapp entering the market profoundly alter the equation (apart from likely denying smaller competitors their building blocks)? Not really, but that latter aspect is going to cause some consolidation.

But the competitive environment has been rather fundamentally altered. Some of our direct competitors just had their building blocks sold to another entity who might not be so interested in continuing that relationship. I wonder how long some of them will be around.

I think it comes down to a few things.

First, many folks simply rebranded the hardware, altered some of the screen logos. Very little engineering outside of the baseline hardware.

Second, some are simply using the boxen on the backend from their filer heads.

Third, some are using engineered boxen from them.

The first group may have an easier time of changing, though this could cause support and continuity problems. I’d expect a modest mortality rate among these folks.

The second group are, at the end of the day, not all that differentiated from each other. They all start out with a filer/block head, and the do something with it. Which is interesting, as they tend to be at the high end price point wise. I expect Netapp wants this market. I’d expect a fairly high mortality rate in this group.

The third group, the engineered boxen, could suffer from what Oracle did to technologies/markets it didn’t want. Benign or even active neglect. Changing out these boxen ain’t easy. These will take more time, but in the end, there will likely be a fairly high mortality rate, unless Netapp decided that the technology is good, in which case I could see an acquisition. But not at anything close to the valuation the VCs who funded these companies would want.

We aren’t in any of these groups. Our mantra, bricking not included, is gaining acceptance in the customer base. We are speaking daily to customers who worry about this.

This is big. Those affected will try to talk it down, but it is big. There is a big 800 pound gorilla in the room, who know owns much of the basis for some of the players offerings, wants to be in this market, and will probably not want too many competitors.

Our trade-in program is still in process.

I don’t expect Netapp to buy them. I do think Netapp might start going after some of the smaller folks to help fill out the solution in this space.

As I said, its big. And it wasn’t the move I thought it was originally … and it really wasn’t covered many places. It is definitely a counter to EMC’s Isilon acquisition, but its a step past that. Sort of an upping of the ante in poker terms.

Yeah, I’m impressed. This was a smart move for Netapp.

Moreover, its going to alter the HPC storage landscape at “the top”. Its going to take some time, not overnight, but the landscape has been altered.

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