NetApp and Hitachi Relationship on the Horizon?

A new report by Merrill Lynch suggests Network Appliance (NetApp) and Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) are likely to form a partnership to compete more aggressively with EMC. Merrill Lynch analysts recently visited storage companies on the West Coast and made the conclusion about the possible NetApp and HDS partnership. Neither company has commented on the rumor, but according to the Merrill Lynch analysts, Silicon Valley sources indicate the teaming is likely. NetApp originally specialized in Network Attached Storage (NAS) storage systems but has recently started to expand into high-end storage, such as Storage Area Network (SAN) products. HDS products are mostly targeted to large enterprises.

According to the report, storage companies are doing fine economically. Although storage-product sales have been tight, IT departments are buying to fill immediate demand. The report included speculation that EMC will release its new Symmetrix 6 in first quarter 2003. Symmetrix 6 will have over 500GB of cache and a nonblocking "matrix" backplane.

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