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4 minute readUnified Storage Showdown: EMC vs NetApp Storage

When EMC released its first unified storage platform to capture market share from competitor NetApp, the competition between the storage giants greatly intensified.

While EMC and NetApp aren’t the only vendors to provide unified storage, the popularity of the EMC and NetApp storage product lines is currently unrivaled.

With intense competition between the two companies, what is the difference between EMC and NetApp hardware products?

EMC vs NetApp Storage

NetApp and EMC both provide the necessary elements to support the most demanding enterprise storage environments. With hardware that scales up to 1,000 drives, available replacement parts, and easy to use management systems, both systems will power your SAN environment. As a result, making a decision between the two storage vendors may be more difficult than you think.

  1. Technical Differences: NetApp and EMC both provide unified storage platforms to manage SAN environments. NetApp has always presented a unified platform of both block and file storage in one unit, known as the NetApp FAS series. EMC provides a unified storage structure with its EMC VNX line, which combines the EMC CLARiiON block storage and EMC Celerra file storage into one box.
  2. Some NetApp storage fans have argued that EMC’s storage platform isn’t technically unified because it uses separate systems to manage the file and block storage. However, Taneja Group storage analyst Ashish Nadkarni says that, from a customer perspective, the differences in unified storage systems rarely interfere with the end user’s view of the product.

  3. Ease of Management: Both NetApp and EMC both provide ease-of-management through their individual management software systems. NetApp uses the acclaimed Data ONTAP 8.0 to manage all of NetApp storage functionality including deduplication, disaster recovery, and compression. Also providing a single management interface, EMC provides Unisphere to its customers as a management system for the EMC VNX, EMC CLARiiON and EMC Celerra systems as well as the RecoverPoint/SE replication product.
  4. Replacement Availability: EMC and NetApp hardware products and replacement parts are available from a variety of vendors and many third-party storage vendors can ship the hardware in just a few days. Replacement drives, enclosures, and head units from EMC and NetApp can all be purchased on the used market at significantly lower cost than on the new market.
  5. Since some EMC CLARiiON and EMC Celerra storage products have been listed as End-of-Life, they are no longer be available from the manufacturer and are only available on the used market.

  6. Maintenance: EMC and NetApp storage products can be maintained and supported by manufacturer or third-party maintenance providers.
  7. Some third-party maintenance providers will maintain and support an array long after it is no longer supported by the manufacturer. While EMC no longer supports some of their end-of-life products like the EMC CLARiiON CX series, those systems can be placed under independent, third-party maintenance contracts to extend the usable life of those arrays.

Deciding between an EMC and NetApp storage product will come down to more than just the technical details or the maintenance options. Making the decision between the two popular storage vendors will also need to include the expertise of your staff, the hardware you already have, and the platform that you feel best fits the direction and goals of your enterprise IT environment.

Interested in finding the right EMC or NetApp storage solution for your enterprise? Talk to a dedicated Reliant Storage Specialist today to get expert advice on EMC and NetApp storage solutions that fit your enterprise needs and your budget constraints.

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Reid Smith-Vaniz

by Reid Smith-Vaniz

Reid is the founder and CEO of Reliant Technology and for 14 years has pursued his mission to remove the pain associated with maintaining IT infrastructure. Reid writes on common challenges related to maintaining, servicing, tracking, budgeting, and upgrading technology.

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