EMC Takes On NetApp

And NetApp is firing back, charging that EMC's Centera content-addressable storage arrays are not secure and can't be used to comply with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

Joe Cunningham, general manager at Computer Professionals International, an Albany, N.Y.-based solution provider, predicts that EMC's new NAS line price points will hit NetApp hard. He said he expects his EMC sales to increase 15 percent with the new products.

Kevin Hoffman, vice president of sales at Hoffman Technologies, a Sacramento, Calif.-based solution provider, said he is not surprised to see the EMC attack. "Everybody's been trying to nail NetApp," he said. However, Hoffman said, NetApp, EMC, IBM and others do certain things well. "You have to take the best of all worlds. I stick with what the customer is used to."

EMC's new Celerra NS500 NAS appliance offers similar performance to its NS600, but at a lower starting price and with a slight cut in Ethernet connectivity, said Tom Joyce, senior director of NAS marketing for Hopkinton, Mass.-based EMC.

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EMC is also introducing the NS500G NAS appliance, which has no integrated storage capacity but instead allows files to be served off an EMC Clariion or Symmetrix SAN array, he said.

Joyce said both EMC appliances offer higher performance than NetApp's FAS 270 and almost the same performance as the FAS 940, but at a substantially lower price, with the NS500 starting at $40,000 compared with $52,000 for the FAS 270.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based NetApp, meanwhile, last week said the MD5 technology EMC uses to "hash" a unique data object based on the contents of a file is flawed, and that recent demonstrations show it is possible to get around the MD5 security technology used by Centera arrays.

Roy Sanford, vice president of content-addressed storage at EMC, said it is not news that there is a "non-zero probability" that MD5 or any other hashing scheme can be compromised. However, he cautioned against drawing the conclusion that Centera's security can be compromised.

"I think [NetApp is] attempting to compete with our technology by painting a different picture of this technology," he said. "Either they're doing this dishonestly or intellectually ignorantly." Most EMC solution providers have yet to hear of the controversy. In other produc t news, EMC unveiled the enterprise-class Celerra NS704G, which serves files off a SAN array using four internal server blades.