linuxdlsazine’s Top 20 Companies to Watch in 2007

We pick the companies that are defining the future of Information Technology and will have the most impact on the Open Enterprises of 2007. It's the inaugural edition of our 20 Companies to Watch list and we guarantee that every company here will challenge how you think about Linux and Open Source before the year is out.

Network Appliance

Ah, storage. Anyone tired of hearing about it yet? No matter what level of weariness users and IT gurus might have with storage, its increasing importance can’t be denied, and Network Appliance certainly means to keep it at the forefront of the industry.

One of the fiercest battles to watch in the coming year should be the cage match between EMC and NetApp, as they both work to capture the midrange market. In one corner is NetApp’s FAS3000 line, and in the other is EMC’s Celerra, muscling into the NAS area. And don’t forget that favorite 500-pound gorilla, HP, which has been making its own impact with midmarket customers. It could be an exciting match.

The advantage for NetApp could be its FAS3070 and V3070 midrange platforms, which bring broader Fibre Channel SAN capability as well as new professional services and the NetApp Manageability Software family. NetApp also announced a new version of its Virtual File Manager Enterprise Edition, which supports file migration and file share consolidation. Spiffy new Protection Manager does automated backup and replication software for disk-to-disk backup environments.

Eric Melvin, NetApp’s alliance manager to the Linux community, noted in an interview in 2005 that NetApp has noticed how often Linux is chosen for large scale-out applications where a shared data environment is implemented. He posited that Linux is probably used in such environments because other alternatives can’t scale up effectively, and that NetApp complements the approach thanks to data serving done by both its NAS and SAN.

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