Why NetApp moved from Single Architecture to the Portfolio Model
Great chat today! Let me elaborate a bit on that last point :)
Data ONTAP has served NetApp customers extremely well over the years, enabling file server consolidation, Unified NAS & SAN arrays and lately the most efficient storage foundation for Server & Desktop Virtualization environments. Entry-level, Mid-Range and High-End FAS & V-Series models running Data ONTAP continue to be fully interoperable from an upgrade / downgrade and data replication perspective. New Clustered Data ONTAP even enables any combination of those to comprise a single Cluster. Data ONTAP EDGE adds yet more virtual storage configuration options to this powerful mix. FlashCache/Pools/Accel accelerate it all.
However every once in a while tectonic shifts occur in a marketplace, opening up complimentary new segments, which necessitate new platforms optimized to the new requirements. NAND Flash media (raw or via SSD) is a perfect catalyst for such change. Additional shifts include Big Data and Extreme capacity or performance-sensitive apps, which often drive separate infrastructure decisions including dedicated storage silos. Satisfying this complimentary new market demand is best done via complimentary new products - hence the NetApp Open Storage for Hadoop, StorageGrid, EF540 and upcoming FlashRay product lines.
So the new NetApp "Portfolio" can be summarized as Clustered Data ONTAP arrays for Shared Virtual Infrastructure, EF540 (+ eventually FlashRay) for sub-millisecond I/O, then E-Series based NetApp Open Storage for Hadoop or HPC plus StorageGrid to address Big Data.